Essex – Don’t Judge By Reality TV (Part Two)

 Hi,
Continuing, obviously, from Part One. This part will not have any driving directions as given in Part One. We are instead going to include a  postcode with the main sightseeing place, as the majority of people seem to have sat-nav. If you do not, then use driving directions from TheAA, RAC and www.drive-alive.co.uk      Please leave a message in ‘comments’ if you have a prefence for directions to be given on the blog, or not. Thank You.
In this blog post, we will be mostly concentrating on properties that are managed by English Heritage. This organisation pays a lot of money for the upkeep of the majority of England’s most important buildings, and therefore charges an entry fee for nearly all properties under their care.  To save money if you are to visit these properties, then purchasing a year’s membership is the answer.  (English Heritage will be abbrieviated to EH from now on) http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/support-us/join/
Long day trips from Wheeley (around 50 Miles one way to furthest destination) Framlingham Castle(45 miles)& Orford (Woodbridge & Landguard Fort too, if time allows)
Start your day at the furthest point of todays wanderings from Wheely, at the EH property Framlingham Castle, IP13 9BP.  This is in North Suffolk, so we are cheating even more by adding this to an ‘Essex’ blog. Sorry, but this is a must see castle, well worth travelling the extra miles to visit. And as we stated before, we believe that Essex is a more cost effective way of visiting Suffolk than staying in the Suffolk itself. Take advantage of the free audio guide included with admission, it is excellent.

You can take a stroll around the top of the wall surrounding this ruined castle, if you take care. The building behind the tree is a 17th century building previously used as a poorhouse You can just make out the safety barriers top left in the photo above. You can see them better below.

In this photo you can see chimneys and fireplaces seemingly in mid air. These are remnants of the ruined upper floors of the castle. The chimneys are typical Tudor design with the ‘barley-twist’ detail. There are also some nice walks around the perimiter of the wall, especially the stroll around the mere or lake that you will easily spot from the ramparts walk.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/framlingham-castle/
http://www.beenthere-donethat.org.uk/framlingham1.html
Apart from the castle, Framlingham village has only a few fairly interesting sights, as shown in the website directly above.

Orford Castle Keep, IP13 2ND. (11 miles from Framlingham)

This keep looks like it will take just a few minutes of your time, not so, fellow traveller. There are a lot of passages, nooks and crannys to explore, and the views from the top are pretty good too.

Top tip for Orford Keep – You have climbed up all the stairs to all levels and want to look at the views from the open roof. If you have a hat or cap on, take it off just before you get outside. This will save you a lot of embarassment and you can then laugh at poor unfortunates who watch their headgear fly off their heads. I (Mr G)have to put my hand up to this error of judgement, I am just thankful my cap hit the wall, and not flew over it. Playing hunt the headgear on the ground would not be my idea of fun, especially after getting down from the 90 feet high top of the keep. This area is very close to the North Sea coast and it’s roaring winds can cut through you on the best of days, take a pullover or jacket with you just in case even in Summer. Near to Orford Keep, Orford Ness is Europe’s largest vegetated shingle spit,  managed by the National Trust. We did not go there ourselves, but it is reputed to be a fine place to visit. Maybe next time. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-orfordness.htm

 Woodbridge & it’s Tide Mill – IP12 1BP(12miles from Orford keep) Woodbridge is a town busy with boats, yachts and other water-craft on the River Deben. It has an attractive marketplace and some handsome buildings. The Tide Mill is the main site to see, and has stood in this spot since the 1100’s. Take a tour and then enjoy a snack on the quayside, recently revamped with a Lottery Grant.(doing good work, for a change)

http://www.nationalmillsweekend.co.uk/pages_water/woodbridge.htm http://www.beenthere-donethat.org.uk/suffolk/woodbridge.html http://www.beenthere-donethat.org.uk/suffolk/woodbridge1.html
The following link has a basic map of Woodbridge and it’s attractions; http://www.woodbridgesuffolk.info/Woodbridge/Attractions/TideMill/location.html
Nearby on the eastern bank of the Deben, Sutton Hoo is a very famous Saxon burial ground. Another site we missed, in favour of using our EH memberships elsewhere. We hope to get National Trust memberships in the future and come back to this area.
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-suttonhoo.htm

Landguard Fort, IP11 3TX(approx 15 miles from Woodbridge, 1 mile South of Felixstowe at Landguard Point)
The site of the last opposed seabourne invasion of England in 1667. This Fort was virtually deserted when we visited(good)  The EH audio tour is available for free with admission. Very interesting and informative they are too. The Fort has been continually updated and refined through the 19 & 20th centuries. A guided tour can be taken to help your interpretation of the outside batteries.

You can also see the views across to Harwich (in the above photo’s) and the Shotley Peninnsula , to which there is a summer only ferry service from near the fort; http://www.harwichharbourferry.com/
Head back to Wheeley on the A14 &A12, and collapse in heap on the sofa after all that sightseeing.
Audley End House, CB11 4JF (approx 52 miles single trip)& Saffron Walden
A genuine Essex attraction featuring in an Essex based blog entry? Suffolk tourist information offices will be enraged, no doubt. Get here as early as you can, as Audley is very popular.

Audley End is an EH property 1 mile from Saffron Walden. There has been a considerable investment to restore parts of the house that were considered to be unimportant previously. But now in more enlightened times, viewing of the working conditions of people working ‘below stairs’ are just as interesting to the public as the ‘toffs’ living the high life above. The restoration work completed includes; The Service Wing, http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/audley-end-house-and-gardens/the-service-wing-audley-end/ The Gardens; http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/audley-end-house-and-gardens/garden/ and the Stables. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/audley-end-house-and-gardens/stables/
The house is magnificent, and the guided tour is a very good way of getting to know it better.
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/audley-end-house-and-gardens/house/
We advise bring a picnic or some sandwiches and drinks with you. While you search for a free garden bench for your lunch, pity the poor souls endlessly queing in the House cafe. Everyone it seems, is there for lunch. In the gardens there are a few follys about, and you can while away more time than you think wandering around outside(weather permitting,of course);

After you have seen all that Audley end has to offer, a quick hop to Saffron Walden will end the day nicely.

The building above is amazingly, a hospital. This town is a nice respite from the crowds of tourists that are to be found at Audley End House. If you are in need of a rest after Audley, there are several good pubs in this town.
http://www.visitsaffronwalden.gov.uk/about-us.htm
http://www.visitsaffronwalden.gov.uk/index.htm
And that concludes our exhaustive list of things to do in the Essex/Suffolk area. To do all of these trips at a reasonably leisurely pace will require 2 or 3 holidays in our opinion. Maybe next time we would consider a week away, rather than 4 nights Monday to Friday. We managed to do most of them by Going to Wheeley in May/June, and utilising the longer daylight hours at this time of year. We hope that there is more to Essex than the media would have you believe. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the area.
As a parting shot so to speak, we went to Tlbury Fort,,RM18 7NR, another EH property. This was on our way home(ish) so made a break to the boring motorway journey home.

We were on our own in this historic fort which we like, and there is plenty to see, including gun emplacements on the walls. Ladies, we suggest you take a hairbrush with you, those blustery winds on the coast are back again;

Tips for Self Catering Travel;
 Shop at your local supermarket before you go on a carvan/self-catering holiday. This saves time trying to find a supermarket, and learning the layout when you do find one. take a couple of cool bags for perishables.
 Take a pack of playing cards or some board games to stave off boredom when the British weather takes it’s inevitable turn for the worse.
And Another Thing….
This holiday involves quite a lot of driving, if you use most of our day trip guides.  Five or ten years ago a driving holiday was percieved as a cheaper holiday option, even a year ago would of been ok pricewise. Unfortunately since then there has occured the ‘Arab Spring’, in mainly the Middle east and Northern Africa.  People who are being intolerably treated by their government, are rising up to try and depose a non-elected oppressive regime. As a result oil prices have dramatically risen in price, and are percieved to have been behind todays obscenely high petrol forecourt prices. But, the main consituent of the pump price in the UK is not the oil or the refining of it. The main part of your Petrol/diesel bill is the tax imposed by the government.
As explained here;

From 4th January 2011 the UK duty rate for the road fuels unleaded petrol, diesel, biodiesel and bioethanol is GB£0.5895 per litre (£2.65 per imperial gallon or £2.20 per U.S. gallon).[5] Value Added Tax at 20% is also charged on the price of the fuel and on the duty. Using the UK average untaxed pump price for unleaded petrol of  £0.4572 per litre (from the December 2010 average taxed price of £1.221  per litre,[6] the duty rate of £0.5819 per litre[5]  and the then VAT rate of 17.5%) this would give a January 2011 taxed  price of £1.256 per litre (£5.71 per imperial gallon or £4.75 per U.S.  gallon) – that is equivalent to a tax rate of 175%.
So our greedy, moneygrabbing government hits the golden egg motorist once again with eyewatering rates of tax. And as always they act as if they are saving the planet with the proceeds. How many trees have they planted? None. How many acres of rainforest have been saved? None. I have no respect for any politician these days. All they want is your vote and will promise anything to get it. Then if in power, these snakes do the exact opposite of what people want, because they know what’s best for the public, in their arrogant opinion. Lying, cheating, nose in the expenses money trough, arrogant gits, the lot of them.

Thanks for reading, Mr and Mrs G

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