Layer Marney Tower

Magnificent Tudor gatehouse in rural Essex countryside.

Colchester, Essex, CO5 9US

Layer Marney Tower in Essex
Free for members
  • Bike storage facilities
  • Cafe / restaurant
  • Easily accessible without car
  • Facilities for children
  • Free parking
  • Mostly wheelchair accessible
  • Parkland / open spaces
  • Pet friendly
  • Picnic area
  • Shop
  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible toilets
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
Visit the house's website
for the latest information.

The tallest Tudor gatehouse in the country, Layer Marney Tower was built in the 1520s by Lord Marney, friend to both Henry VII and Henry VIII.

A statement house, of grand design, decorated with ornate terracotta, Layer Marney has been a family home for over 500 years. Lord Marney planned a much larger house, with three additional wings built round a grand central courtyard, but he died before it was finished and his only son died two years later. There is still plenty to see…

Climb the Tower for magnificent views over the River Blackwater estuary. On the way up stop off to enjoy the huge dolls’ house, built in the Georgian style, see the East Anglian art in the Batte Lay Foundation Art Exhibition and, just before you reach the top, check out the Crowns and Crests Exhibition. On loan from the College of Arms, these crowns and crests once belonged to Garter Knights and were on show in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

There is a model of what the Tower might have looked like if Lord Marney had lived longer. There is a medieval barn and the Tudor stables were converted into our Long Gallery in Edwardian times. Wander through the gardens to the church, before enjoying a cup of tea and cake in the Stables Tea Room.

Opening Times



Sunday 3 April.

May – June, Sundays & Wednesdays.

18 July – 4 September: Sundays to Thursdays.

September: Sundays and Wednesdays.

Opening times 11am – 5pm

Please note: The information on the Historic Houses website is advisory, but please always check the website of the house or garden you intend to visit before travelling.

See their website to double check their opening times


Historic Houses members visit for free.


Adults: £10
Children: £5 (3 years to 16 years)
Family Ticket: £30.00

Group Visits

Guided Tours and Group Visits are available throughout the year.

Enjoy a day out with your social group, team or club and arrange a Guided Tour to Layer Marney Tower. The cost for groups of 20 or more people, is £14.00 per person for 2018 and the tour is generally taken by the owners.

Guided Tours go into parts of the house not normally open to visitors.  If you are interested in the history, then this is the very best way to visit the Tower.

Although there are a lot of steps to the top of the Tower, it is a very gentle climb and plenty of stopping off points on the way.

There is a reduced entry cost of £8.00 for groups of 20 or more people coming as general visitors.

Please contact us to book either a Guided Tour or Group Visit, 01206 330784.

Educational Visits

We cover lesson plans for EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3. An educational visit to Layer Marney Tower is a fantastic experience for your children, however much they have learnt in school, if they are studying the Tudors, it is when they meet a “cunning woman” for “real” and are offered some of her cures for their common ailments – a live frog down the throat for a sore throat, etc or realise that nettles were a staple food for peasants, Tudor life comes to life.

Although we are a Tudor building, there has been habitation on this site for hundreds of years. Therefore we have new courses that can fit in with the new Curriculum.

Our education team is very adaptable and we can fit into your school’s needs, so if you don’t see the type of course you were looking for, do ask, it is likely we can accommodate you, writing a new lesson just for your school, or adapting one of our stock lessons.

Contact us on 01206 330 784

  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible toilets
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
Visit the house's website
for the latest information.

Did you know...

Did you know, Henry VIII visited whilst the house was being built, he stayed for two nights.

Layer Marney Tower portrait of Henry VIII

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