Designed to resemble a Venetian palazzo, The Pier is a striking hotel built in 1864 to accommodate passengers departing from Harwich for the continent. The diminutive Ha’penny Pier, so called for its admittance charge, is still intact opposite. The Pier Hotel sports a light and airy interior, including the ground-level NAVYÄRD bar with its choice of over 100 gins, and a relaxed first floor restaurant with five sought-after tables on the balcony. The views from here are mesmerising and the setting perfect for champagne, oysters, local lobster and the freshest Dover sole. Bedrooms are either upstairs or in a building next door. All are breezy, attractive and very good value – from six of them, you can soak up the view: the Stour and Orwell estuaries snaking into the distance, the pier at your feet and boats beetling about on the water. Owned for over 40 years by the Milsom family, The Pier makes a delightfully different spot for a seaside break.

Doubles from £145

+44 (0)1255 241212;