The most popular image of Maldon is one that captures the scene at The Hythe with it's collection of barges and other craft tied up at the quay and the old church of St Mary the Virgin dominating the skyline.
The Hythe was originally a separate hamlet serving Maldon as a port where, among other cargoes, the East Coast barges would transport hay and straw up the Thames to feed London's large number of horses. These barges ceased to carry cargo many years ago abut the survivors are now lovingly preserved by their owners with some used as pleasure craft carrying passengers on day trips and charters.
Maldon's Hythe Quay is home to the largest collection of these barges and you can often see one being restored or on the blocks by the quayside having its hull maintained. This area is where Cooks boatyard used to be and where some of Maldon's barges were originally built.
The view of Hythe Quay is vastly different to that of one hundred years ago and the workers who unloaded the cargoes from the barges for transportation to Chelmsford have been replaced by visitors enjoying the views and maybe taking refreshment at one of the two pubs on the quay.
Regular trips are available on some of the barges including bird watching and sight seeing trips. The Viking Saga also departs for trips along the river Blackwater towards Osea Island and back from the sea wall between the Hythe and Promenade Park. Click here for further details of these trips.
St Mary's church which stands on higher ground has foundations dating back to the 12th century. The church spire was a welcoming beacon for sailors returning home to their berths at the Hythe quay or alongside the bath wall. Find more details of the church here.
Fancy a drink and maybe a spot of lunch? There are two pubs at the Hythe and both have outdoors seating or visit the cafe by the lake in the ajacent Promenade Park.
The Barge Tearooms is located on board “Resourceful” at Cooks Yard, she was the last barge built in 1931 and is now home to Topsail’s The Barge Tearooms where you can enjoy breakfasts, light lunches, plenty of homemade cakes and afternoon teas. Resourceful boasts riverside views on her top deck plus a further 3 rooms down below for you to relax and enjoy our freshly made delights.
Parking at The Hythe is very limited so park in the High Street or Promenade Park and walk the short distance from one of the car parks - details here.