If you haven't explored the 350 miles of Essex coastline what are you waiting for?
Despite its proximity to London, Essex’s Discovery Coast is a world apart. There are many hidden treasures to be found, with quiet cliff top walks, seductive rugged coves sheltered from the weather, right through to the lengthy stretches of beautiful beaches. Less well know is the quieter side of the coast where ports are steeped in heritage. From Harwich to Maldon, home to the iconic brown-sailed Thames Sailing Barges that once ferried goods along the east coast to London, to Old Leigh, with its cockle sheds, clapboard artists’ studios and picturesque cobbled streets, echoes of the past reverberate throughout the area. The vast saltmarshes and shimmering mudflats that make up so much of the Essex coastline were once the haunt of smugglers and oystermen. You’d be hard pressed to find a smuggler here these days, but oyster fishing still thrives in the area, particularly around Mersea Island. Here, the prized Colchester Native oyster flourishes in the rich mudflats that creep along the shoreline. You can sample famous seafood in rustic family run restaurants such as the Company Shed whilst watching the boats bobbing in the water.
Best known, perhaps, are resorts like Southend-on-Sea, Clacton-on-Sea, and the quieter resort of Walton-on-the-Naze with their gently shelving sandy beaches and traditional piers – but even here there are surprises. Did you know that, at 1.3 miles, Southend’s pleasure pier is the longest in the world? Or that Clacton’s beach has won several coveted Blue Flag awards and is prized for its watersports? Or that Walton-on-the-Naze is as much about fossils as family fun? Head a little further down the coast to quiet and well-to-do Frinton-on-Sea which has one of the area’s loveliest beaches.