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EssexEngland, United Kingdom

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.

Popular cities in Essex

St. Paul\'s Cathedral which includes street scenes, religious elements and a city
London
Known for Museum, Theatre and Historical

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Reasons to visit

  • Financial District
  • Kensington High Street
  • Theatreland
Cambridge which includes heritage architecture, a river or creek and heritage elements
Cambridge
Known for University, River View and Garden

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Reasons to visit

  • University of Cambridge
  • Cambridge Corn Exchange
  • King's College
Ipswich Waterfront featuring a sunset and a bay or harbour
Ipswich
Known for Friendly People, Sport and Theatre

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Reasons to visit

  • Ipswich Waterfront
  • Custom House
  • Ipswich Museum
Layer Marney Tower showing heritage architecture, heritage elements and a castle
Colchester
Known for Friendly People, Historical and Family-friendly

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Reasons to visit

  • Colchester Zoo
  • Colchester Castle Park
  • Layer Marney Tower
Southend-on-Sea which includes a sunset, general coastal views and a sandy beach
Southend-on-Sea
Known for Friendly People, Sea and Beach View

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Reasons to visit

  • Adventure Island
  • Southend Pier
Saffron Walden which includes street scenes, a city and a house
Saffron Walden
Known for Dining, Friendly People and Poolside Bars

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Reasons to visit

  • Audley End House
  • Bridge End Gardens