Jaywick Martello Tower
A renovated Martello Tower, Jaywick is a thriving arts, heritage and community venue on the beautiful Jaywick Sands coastline near Clacton-on-Sea.
At a glance
Reopening 22 May - Things you need to know:
- Opening Hours - Saturday and Sunday only, 10am to 3pm.
- The roof will be open with a one way system but the roof room will remain closed for now.
- We encourage visitors to continue to wear face masks.
- Use the hand sanitising stations around the building.
- Please maintain distance and respect other visitors to help keep Covid in check.
- Use card for payments where possible - cash will still be accepted.
- The building is limited to 20 visitors at a time so if you are visiting during busy hours you may be asked to wait to enter.
- No pre-booking is required.
- If you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 please do not visit.
- Always follow current government guidance.
A unique heritage centre on the coast for visitors and the community, Jaywick Martello Tower is one of twenty-nine defences built on the east coast of England to defend the country from attacks from Napoleon Bonaparte and his armies.
Visitors can explore the history of the tower through an exhibition hosted on the ground floor, as well as getting up close to a replica cannon, and enjoying wonderful views across the sea from the roof.
The first floor is an arts and heritage space which frequently hosts exhibitions often inspired by the local, coastal environment and history.
The Tower is open to the public many days of the year for visitors (particularly during the summer months) and has a year-round programme of talks, workshops and events.
The Tower was a former finalist for the Essex Tourism and Hospitality Awards in the category of Best Small Attraction and holds a certificate of excellent on Trip Advisor.
Jaywick Martello Tower was built in 1809 and was originally one of twenty-nine Martello towers situated on the east coast of England. The towers were constructed to defend the country against the threat of invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte and his armies.
Martello Towers are 2 to 3 metres thick (between 8-12 feet) and they are about 10 metres (40 feet) high. The east coast towers were constructed with approximately 750,000 bricks; and often boasted three cannons: usually a 24-pounder facing out to sea and two smaller Howitzers at each side.
The bricks for the east coast towers were made at Grays in Essex using London Clay and transported to each site by barges.
The name ‘Martello’ is derived from a similar military sea defence tower at Mortella Point in Corsica, near Italy. The Mortella Tower withstood the combined force of 101 cannons being fired from two English battleships and was only defeated after a fire broke out inside the tower.
The British Navy were so impressed with the strength of the tower that before they left Corsica, they took its measurements, which formed the basis for the size and shape of all our English Martello Towers.
The Martello Tower at Jaywick was purchased by Essex County Council in 2002 and renovated, through grants from English Heritage and National Lottery Heritage Fund, (check) into an arts and heritage space for visitors and the local community.
It opened its doors in 2005 to the public and has received over 100,000 visitors in the 14 years it has been open and engaged many more through its outreach programme in community centres, schools and events.
In the early 1800s Britain was fearful of attack from France, the Martello Towers were built as defences from invasion. An exhibition is situated on the ground floor of Jaywick Martello Tower. It tells the story of the history of the tower, the threat of invasion and the impact of militarisation throughout the Tendring coastal area.
The Martello Tower Trail
- The Martello Tower Trail takes you along the coast from Point Clear to Walton-on-the-Naze
- The trail includes family friendly activities such as Semaphore and Rubbing Plates
- Sheets can be picked up from Essex libraries, Tourist Information Centres, and Jaywick Martello Tower or downloaded.
(Links to download trail/ rubbing plate/ Semaphore here)
Poet Julia Bird worked with Tower staff, Jaywick residents and visitors to create a poem which can be viewed on the windows of the roof room of the Tower. In addition, you can find interpretive text around the base of the tower, created with the community of Jaywick.
Rock the Tower
Every Tuesday during term time, run hourly from 5 until 9pm.
Free music sessions where beginners or players aged 9-18 years old are welcome to get involved for the chance to play alongside others in a band!
The music sessions provided by We Are Music and held at Jaywick Martello Tower every Tuesday during term time running hourly between 5pm-9pm.
For more information or to book onto a session:
T: 01255 822783
Rock the Tower is a partnership project funded by Essex Music Education Hub (using funding from Arts Council England) and Essex County Council, Cultural Development Team.
We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us at Jaywick Martello Tower.
Whether you give up an hour of your time when you can, help at one of our larger events, or come in regularly, all help will be greatly appreciated. As an arts, heritage, and community venue there are a wide variety of areas that you could be involved in and your volunteering can be tailored to suit your own interests.
By volunteering for Jaywick Martello Tower you will be helping to support a local organisation and strengthening your connections with the local community.
If you are interested in getting involved or would like more information to find out if volunteering at JMT is right for you, then please contact us on 01255 822783 or email email@example.com.
Open on weekends only.
Jaywick Martello Tower has a wheelchair lift to the 1st floor.
If you have any access needs please do feel free to phone ahead to discuss your requirements before your visit or check the platform lift details.
A toilet is located at the back of the tower. This contains disability facilities. A key can be obtained from the visitor centre at the Tower when it is open.
For Schools & Groups
Jaywick Martello Tower is an arts, heritage and community space. The ground floor houses an exhibition on the history of the Tower, the first floor is a temporary arts space and the roof provides a reading room and replica cannon to help bring the Tower to life.
Jaywick Martello Tower provides free, fun and educational tours for schools and other community and educational groups. Sessions can be booked by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01255 822783.
Free Resource Pack
A teaching pack, The Story of Jaywick Martello Tower, has been researched and developed by local historians and teacher, Dan Twyman, as part of a Heritage Lottery Grant commemorating the 200th anniversary of the building of Jaywick Martello Tower.
A free copy of the resource can be requested by contacting us at email@example.com.
Shop, Eat & Drink
Eat & Drink
Currently not available.
Sit down in our visitor centre with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate (available to buy) and spend some time playing a variety of board games available for free.
The Friends of Jaywick Martello Tower have a cabinet of interesting gifts to purchase to remind you of your visit to the tower.