Dedham Vale is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is famously associated with the great English landscape painter John Constable. The village of Dedham has good quality restaurants, tea shops and antique shops. It is possible to rent a boat and row down the river to Flatford Mill, another beautiful spot. There is also a museum dedicated to the work of another famous English artist, Alfred Munnings.
The tower is a beautiful Tudor gatehouse built in 1520. In fact, it is the tallest gatehouse in England. You can do a tour of the tower and the grounds and find out the interesting history connected to it. Layer Marney Tower is 6 miles from Colchester, and is a great day out for individuals and families. Sometimes, outdoor performances, such as plays and concerts are held there during the summer.
Mersea Island is a 15 minute drive from Colchester. You reach it by crossing over a causeway, which sometimes floods at high tide. On the island is a small fishing port called West Mersea. West Mersea is famous for its oysters and it is a great place to eat fresh seafood. Mersea Island is also an attractive place for walking and water sports such as wind surfing and canoeing.