I spent the long Easter weekend in the sleepy village of Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, aboard a converted WW2 barge called the Lady of the Twizzle. Used to carry ammunition in 1939, the concrete barge is now moored in Titchmarsh Marina and can sleep up to 14 people.
Introducing The Lady of the Twizzle
The 85 foot barge was renovated under a year ago and has been finished to a very high standard. The lower deck comprises four bedrooms; two double rooms at the bow and stern of the boat, and two rooms with a two doubles and a single in each; all with surprisingly spacious bathrooms. My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to bag one of the double rooms, which being at the back of the barge meant it was slightly tapered towards one end, but you could tell the design had been well thought out because every bit of space was used.
A modern kitchen, dining area and snug makes up the first floor. This large communal area is where we spent the majority of our time, mostly because that’s where the food and games were!
The kitchen was modern and really well-stocked with utensils and crockery. After doing these getaways for a few years now we’ve resorted to taking the basics with us just in case (e.g. bottle opener and corkscrew – obvs!), but we didn’t need anything this time around.
The huge table in the dining area was perfect for the 13 of us, although we did have to bring the chairs up that were in the bedrooms so everyone could have a seat. It was great to be able to cook and chat at the same time at dinner and breakfast and people could dip in and help the chefs when needed too. We brought a lot of games with us and the table made an excellent hub!
Lovin’ the snug!
The snug at the end of the boat was probably my favourite part. The decor throughout was very nautical, but in here the wood-paneled walls and lamp made from an old ship’s steering wheel made it feel really cosy with a quirky feel. One of my friend’s brought a Nintendo Switch which was set up in the snug so it doubled as a games room too. You could also get to a small decked seating area at the bow of the barge through the french doors from here.
Gotta love a hot tub…
The boat also has a hot tub at the back which seats six people – a well-used feature by our group! Sitting here you got a beautiful view of both the sunrise (if you were up early enough) and sunsets and was a welcome way to warm up when the temperature started to drop.
A spacious sun terrace made up the upper deck with ample sofas, chairs and recliners for all of us. We had glorious weather during our stay so we got the opportunity to make the most of this. Being on the coast meant it was fairly windy, but once you were below the level of the walls you couldn’t feel it at all.
Walton-on-the-Naze beach adventures
During our stay we ventured out to Walton-on-the-Naze’s beach. A few of us set off on a walk that was only meant to be to a jetty but ended up being about a 4km round-trip to another beach and past Naze Tower. Another day we went to Mersea Island to try our hands at kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, although I realised neither of these things are my forte and my body still aches!
If you don’t want to try your hand at watersports though there are plenty of little shops, cafes and pubs here to wander around. A few of us picked up some pots of mixed seafood from a little shack, which were delicious!