Just to the East of London, Essex is conveniently located for a break away from the capital and is a great destination in its own right.
The county’s historic houses will delight and captivate, from the elegant Audley End House and Gardens to the beautiful Layer Marney Tower. There are gardens aplenty, vibrant with brightly coloured blooms, intriguing rare species and immaculate lawns. RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Beth Chatto Gardens and Marks Hall are but a handful of the incredible natural spaces which have been tamed by expert gardeners.
Families will find a plethora of exciting and entertaining attractions, including Colchester Zoo, Barleylands Farm Park, Colchester Castle Museum and Old MacDonald’s Farm. They host numerous events throughout the year, so check before you go to plan a fun-filled itinerary.
Another pleasure to enjoy during a holiday in Essex is delicious local food. With over 350 miles of coastline and fertile farmland, the local seafood, meat and other produce is mouth-wateringly good. Try the Colchester native oyster, wine from some 20 vineyards, fruit and jams from Tiptree and no end of taste-bud-tantalising dishes at the many restaurants, cafés and pubs throughout the county.
Not only does the coast of Essex provide wonderful fresh seafood, it also boasts some attractive seaside resorts, sandy beaches and friendly towns. Head to Dovercourt, Brightlingsea, Martello Bay, Southend-on-Sea or Mersea Island for the perfect family day at the beach, or take to two wheels along one of the many coastal cycle routes: a fun way to take in the scenery.
The Discovery Coast harbours numerous places of interest. For water sports enthusiasts, there’s much fun to be had, from sailing at Brightlingsea sailing club, to kitesurfing in Southend. Visit Walton for fossil hunting, Maldon to see the Thames Sailing Barges, Leigh-on-Sea for fresh fish and shellfish, Wrabness for art and nature, and Burnham-on-Crouch for regattas.
Leave room on your holiday schedule to visit Colchester, once the oldest city in the whole of the country, now a beautiful historic town. A fascinating museum is housed within the castle, the Firstsite art gallery is sure to impress, both inside and out, and the zoo, parks and gardens offer plenty of opportunity for exploration.
Other towns and villages not to miss are the medieval market town of Saffron Walden, Dedham (once home to famous artists John Constable and Alfred Munnings), the busy port of Harwich, historical Braintree and the city of Chelmsford.
Finally, Mersey Island, accessed by a causeway makes for an enjoyable daytrip, where you can take scenic walks, eat oysters and sample the wine from the island’s very own vineyard.
Explore the county from the comfort of one of our stunning large holiday cottages in Essex and enjoy spending time together with friends and family.