Discover market towns, quaint old villages and picturesque countryside parks in this predominantly rural county.
Despite its proximity to London, Essex maintains a bucolic feel and there are many charming country villages dotted throughout its undulating hills. Explore country parks and nature reserves, as well as historic towns and seaside resorts.
Wander through historic Colchester, which is said to be Britain’s oldest recorded city. It is packed with interesting sites, such as the well-restored Colchester Castle and the extensive Roman walls. Be sure to check out the award-winning Colchester Zoo, the stunning Beth Chatto Gardens and the state-of-the-art firstsite modern art gallery.
Take a daytrip to Waltham Abbey to see the iconic 12th-century church that shares its name. Discover the popular attractions of charming Chelmsford, home to a zoo and several country manors including RHS Garden Hyde Hall. While in Chelmsford, you may also want to see the Police Museum and to while away a summery afternoon at the leafy Hylands Park.
Many of the villages and towns in Essex have markets, where you can peruse the local handicrafts. Make an effort to sample the traditional local foods, such as sweet Essex shortcakes.
For a change of scenery, head to the Essex seaside, which is known for its sandy beaches and fun-filled resorts. With its sleepy vibe, colorful beach huts and traditional pubs, the characterful village of Old Leigh is perfect for a relaxed getaway. For more ocean-themed attractions, stop by Clacton on Sea, where you can see local marine species up close in the informative Seaquarium on the pier.
Essex is among the driest regions in England, with warm summers and cold winters. Visit in summer for leisurely strolls along the green hills or arrive in winter for a chance of seeing snowy hamlets.
Essex is a vast county that begins in the eastern outskirts of London and continues to England’s eastern coast. Many Essex dwellers commute to London for work, so there are regular train routes to and from the capital. Rent a car for easy access to the more rural parts of the county.