Follow the trail! 25th June-5th September 2021

Download the Octopus Ahoy! app this summer and win prizes for scanning each octopus – from cuddly octopus keyrings through to free afternoons teas!
Enjoy 2021’s stay-cation summer of joy by searching out amazing art by local artists whilst learning more about the local area – and winning lots of free prizes and rewards for just joining in the fun.

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Follow the Trail

For 10 weeks in this summer of 2021, the Octopus Ahoy! art sculptures will form a public art trail across Harwich, Tendring and the wider Essex area to celebrate the Mayflower 400™️ project and 150 Years of Clacton.

The art trail, featuring 30 4ft-by-4ft octopus sculptures, can be followed on the Octopus Ahoy! app (free to download on iPhone and Android); every time you reach an octopus and GPS picks up your location (or you scan the QR code on the plinth of the sculpture), you earn a prize!

These large octopus sculptures will be auctioned towards the end of the project with all profits going to Essex-based charities.

More information about downloading the app will be posted soon – keep an eye out on our website and social media.

The smaller 2ft-by-2ft octopus sculptures from the education programme will also be available to follow on the art trail app, and are to be hosted in internal locations throughout the summer – but no app prizes will be awarded for these. They will be returned to their schools/community groups at the end of the project.

Octopus Cam


Octopus Ahoy! is on for 2021! What are the new trail dates?

The project was originally planned for 2020 but understandably was postponed until 2021. Now it’s surging ahead – the ideal fun, safe and family-friendly outdoor activity (and way to get your step count up) for the summer!

The Octopus Ahoy! trail (in association with Mayflower 400 and 150 Years of Clacton) will officially ‘splash down’ on Friday 25th June and the vibrant octopus sculptures will be available to visit in locations across Tendring and wider Essex until Sunday 5th September.

After this point, the small octopuses will return to their schools to get settled back in and the large sculptures will be preparing for the charity auction on 23rd September. More details to follow…

Can’t wait until then? Don’t worry! The Octopus Ahoy! app will be available for download from 1st June, for you to enjoy some sneak peeks of the joy to come and check out some of our sculpture locations ahead of the full reveal on 25th June.

You can also keep an eye on the project’s progress on social media – follow the fun, there’s loads going on @octopusahoy #octopusahoy

Octopus Ahoy! was originally planned for 2020; why and how was the project postponed?

Following long consideration, it was with the support of stakeholders, suppliers and Tendring District Council that Octopus Ahoy! (originally due for launch on 4th July 2020) was postponed until the summer of 2021.

This decision was made in line with COVID-19 guidance, for the safety of the public and everyone involved with the launch and running of the project. It was felt that the Octopus Ahoy! would better serve its sponsors and the local community in a time when schools, sponsors and the public can take part fully and – most importantly – safely, in its best possible form.

Octopus Ahoy! 2021 in association with Mayflower 400™ project and 150 Years of Clacton.

We look forward to delivering this fun, free activity in the summer of 2021 with all relevant safety and social distancing considerations. Watch this space – and keep an eye on our website and social media channels for updates!

What is 'Octopus Ahoy!'?

For 10 weeks in the summer of 2021, Harwich and the wider Essex area will see its parks and open spaces taken over by giant painted octopus sculptures! Over one hundred octopus sculptures will engage local professional artists and school children, who will design and paint them, celebrating the creativity of Essex.

Read more here

What other events are taking place in celebration of Mayflower 400™?

A variety of events planned for summer 2020 have been rescheduled for dates throughout 2021, with all necessary considerations of safety and social distancing in place. Discover what’s happening, find what captures your interest and then get involved.

Read more here

Can I create a sculpture?

In 2020, we invited local artists to get involved and submit their most creative and eye-catching designs to a unique art event to celebrate the Mayflower 400™️ in Harwich and to help raise money for Essex charities.

We are not currently sourcing more design submissions ahead of the postponed project launch in summer 2021, but there are some designs still available for new business sponsors to select from.

Read more here

How big are the Octopus Sculptures?

The main octopus sculptures are roughly 4ft by 4ft. The smaller octopus sculptures, for schools, measure roughly 2ft by 2ft.

How can I get involved?

There are so many ways to get involved! Interested in joining our Volunteer programme as an ‘Octopus Shipmate’? Email us for details, at octopus@katmarketing.co.uk

What is an Octopus Patron?

An Octopus Patron is a sponsor of one or more large octopus sculptures – without whom, this project simply would not be possible. We are still welcoming additional sponsors ahead of the rescheduled launch in 2021 – get in touch to find out more.