Did you follow the trail?

Across the summer, avid octopus hunters downloaded the free Octopus Ahoy! app and ventured out, come rain or shine, to find our octopus sculptures – and earned fantastic prizes for scanning each one, from cuddly octopus keyrings through to free afternoon teas, and much more!


We loved 2021’s stay-cation summer of joy, seeking out amazing art by local artists whilst learning more about the local area – and unlocking lots of free rewards for just joining in the fun.

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The Octopus Ahoy! Art Trail…

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

Octopus hunters followed the art trail, featuring 30 4ft-by-4ft octopus sculptures, on the Octopus Ahoy! app (free to download on iPhone and Android); every time they located an octopus and scanned the QR code on the plinth of the sculpture, they unlocked a prize!

The smaller 2ft-by-2ft octopus sculptures from the Education Programme also featured on the app as a school trail, hosted in internal locations throughout the summer. These little ones have now been returned to their schools/community groups to get settled into their forever homes!

The large octopus sculptures, and a handful of smaller ones (those not owned by schools) were auctioned on 23rd September, raising £52,490 on the night (with more still being raised!) with funds being donated to Essex Community Foundation and the Mayflower Legacy Fund (part of the Tendring Community Fund).

Keep an eye out for further updates on social media – #octopusahoy

A Look Back on Octopus Ahoy!


What was 'Octopus Ahoy!'?

Octopus Ahoy! was a FREE family-friendly public art trail for all to enjoy, celebrating the creativity of Essex. Across summer 2021, 30 stunning large octopus sculptures took pride of place in parks, on streets and in open spaces across Tendring and beyond. 61 smaller octopus sculptures joined them, placed in internal locations.

The trail helped to mark 400 years (in 2020) since the historical voyage of the Mayflower ship to America, ‘the new world’, with Harwich’s own Christopher Jones at the helm, as well as celebrating 150 Years of Clacton-on-Sea in 2021.

Read more here

Where are the sculptures now?

When out across summer 2021, the sculptures were primarily located across Tendring: Clacton, Harwich, Jaywick, Frinton, Manningtree, Walton and Colchester – there was even one octopus who made it all the way to London! The small sculptures have returned to their schools, with the large sculptures now safely in their new forever homes, having been auctioned on 23rd September 2021.

How big were the octopus sculptures?

The main octopus sculptures were roughly 4ft by 4ft. The smaller octopus sculptures, for schools, measured roughly 2ft by 2ft.

What was the Octopus Ahoy! app?

Our free app was a treasure trove of information about the project and helped users to navigate the trail of octopus sculptures and gain rewards from sealife-themed charms to free afternoon teas. Octopus hunters could use the treasure map to plan their route and keep an eye on the built-in step counter to track their activity as they walked to discover each creative cephalopod.

The app allowed users to discover more about the fantastic professional artists who decorated our 4ft sculptures… read up about our Octopus Patrons that sponsored their favourite designs… and find out about the schools whose pupils took part in our education programme, painting their own miniature sculpture to be put on display. Each and every vibrant sculpture design had a story behind it.

The app was not required to participate in the trail; many sought out the sculptures using our trail map instead, but the app was the only way to unlock rewards.

What was an Octopus Patron?

An Octopus Patron was a sponsor of one or more large octopus sculptures – without whom, this project simply would not have been possible. Thank you to all of our fabulous sponsors and supporters.