Explore the Discovery Coast....where will inspiration take you today?

If you haven’t explored the 350 miles of Essex coastline what are you waiting for? Not only is it the longest shoreline of any county in England, it’s also one of the most diverse, a place of surprising wild beauty, and rich in wildlife. The lonely saltmarshes, tidal inlets and estuarine islands are a wild and ever-changing place where the natural world rules. Whatever the season, whatever the weather we invite you to explore the shores of our county and experience big skies and gorgeous sunsets.

If you haven’t explored the 350 miles of Essex coastline what are you waiting for? Not only is it the longest shoreline of any county in England, it’s also one of the most diverse, a place of surprising wild beauty, and rich in wildlife.

Picture of a rown of beach huts.

Mersea Island beach huts.

Dramatic and otherworldly, surprising and serene.

We have gorgeous sunsets

 

Best known are its popular fun-filled resorts like Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea, with their award-winning beaches and traditional piers. Yet nestled in between are a myriad of mudflats, saltmarshes and lonely creeks, once the haunt of smugglers and today home to thousands of wintering seabirds. Take time to explore and you’ll discover many hidden treasures. Quiet cliff-top walks, fossil-rich beaches, art deco gems, secret islands reached by causeways and old seafaring towns, steeped in heritage. Harwich, at the northern tip of the county, is justly proud of its rich maritime history and this tradition continues today. Pop in to the old train yard to see them building a replica of the Mayflower which sailed to America in 1620 hoping to be ready by 2020 for a 400th anniversary US voyage. Hop on an iconic Thames Sailing Barge at Maldon, from where they once ferried goods along the east coast to London. Or join a boat trip at Walton-on-the-Naze and scan the mudflats for shy seals. Dip into artists’ studios at Burnham-on-Crouch or Wivenhoe, among a growing number of coastal hotspots hosting annual art trails. Tuck into a plate of oysters at Mersea Island or cockles, salt-sea fresh at Old Leigh while watching the fishermen at their time-honoured trade. What will you discover in undiscovered coastal Essex?

Best known are its popular fun-filled resorts like Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea, with their award-winning beaches and traditional piers. Yet nestled in between are a myriad of mudflats, saltmarshes and lonely creeks, once the haunt of smugglers and today home to thousands of wintering seabirds.

Make the most of the Discovery coast

Two young women sitting on the sea wal eating cockles.

From old seafaring towns to seals, sharks’ teeth and brown-sailed barges, our coast is full of unexpected delights. Tuck into a platter of oysters while watching the boats bobbing in the sea or soak up the silence in the tiny Saxon chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall at Bradwell-on-Sea, one of the oldest ecclesiastical buildings in England.

Thre young girls running along the beach in front of beach huts.

Fresh sea air and endless fun await you. Our coastline offers a wealth of amusements that are geared to kids. Whether you’re after fairground thrills, or sandy days spent crabbing and shell-collecting, strolling along a pier or going on a wildlife-watching boat trip, the Discovery Coast is fantastic for families.

This delightful trail features many coastal destinations including the historic port of Harwich and the seaside resorts of Walton, Clacton and Frinton on the Sunshine Coast. Mersea Island, Maldon and the Dengie with pretty Burnham-on-Crouch, ending with a visit to the cockle sheds at Old Leigh.

Call of the Isles

Head to the Essex isles and explore one of the county’s beautiful island habitats. The county has 35 islands, more islands than any other English county. Most of them are uninhabited by humans but provide a haven for our wildlife; it’s the closest you'll get to true wilderness in Essex. Whether you’re a keen birder, love rambling, or even just feel the need to get away from the urban sprawl for a short time, the isles of Essex are perfect for spending time in the great outdoors.

Essex has 35 islands, more islands than any other English county. Most of them are uninhabited by humans but provide a haven for our wildlife; it’s the closest you'll get to true wilderness in Essex.

There’s a distinct sense of adventure about a trip to Mersea Island. Approached by a causeway from the mainland, cut off at high tide and just eight miles square, it’s a place you have to plan to get to.

From the moment you step onto Osea Island you can feel the emotions swelling inside and the feeling of an impending love affair with an island so near and yet so far away.

Foulness is no ordinary island. Open to the public just six days a year, its simple clapboard houses, myriad of tidal creeks and vast stretches of flat, isolated marshland will transport you to another era.

History is repeating itself at Wallasea Island. This vast coastal wilderness, teeming with wildlife, is the site for a unique conservation project by the RSPB to recreate a historic wetland landscape.

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Featured activities

Topsail Charters Ltd

Maldon 01621 857567

 
 
 
Chelmer & Blackwater Canal Cruises

Chelmsford 01245 225520

 
 
 
Frangipani SUP Limited

Maldon 07597 094233

 
 

Featured places to visit

Southend Pier

Southend-on-Sea

 
 
 
Harwich Redoubt Fort

Harwich 01255 502872

 
 
 
Naze Tower

Walton-on-the-Naze 01255 852519

2 for 1 on tea and coffee @ Naze Tower
 
 

Featured coastal breaks

The Pier at Harwich

AA 4 Star Hotel £117-£197 prpnb, Harwich

 
 
Lifehouse

Essex Tourism Awards £109-£1119 prpnb, Frinton-on-Sea

 
 
Pier View Guest House

Essex Tourism Awards £110-£155 pupn sleeps 2-4, Southend-on-Sea