The name of this pier originates from the ½d (half an old penny) toll charged. Construction of the pier began in 1852 and it was first opened in July 1853. It was a popular departure point for paddle steamers until after the First World War.

Originally the pier was twice as long as the present one but one half burnt down in 1927.

The Pier Ticket Office is a charming, typical example of late 19th century architecture. It previously had two storeys, but was without the bell cage. The ticket office now houses the Ha’penny Pier Visitor Centre (an information office for Old Harwich run by the Harwich Society). The Visitor Centre is open daily from May 1st until September 30th. It also houses the ‘Christopher Jones and the Mayflower’ exhibition which has free admission.

There is a small tea room on the pier opposite the Mayflower exhibition with tables and chairs outside where you can drink your cup of tea in fine weather.

The area of water enclosed by the arm of the pier is known as the Pound. Berthed here is the remnant of the once great 19th century fishing fleet.

The pier also accommodates the lifeboat house for the RNLI inshore rescue boat.

In 2004, the pier took part in a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1960s pirate radio station, Radio Caroline and a 45th anniversary celebration was also held in April 2009.