Image of boats layiing on the shore showing also more boats at sea in the background.

Mersea Island, little-known, utterly individual and very pleasant indeed

There’s a distinct sense of adventure about a trip to Mersea Island. Approached by a causeway from the mainland, cut off at high spring tide, and just eight miles square, it’s a place you have to plan to get to. It’s also a place with two quite different faces. Most visitors head straight for West Mersea, firmly oyster territory and the island’s undisputed capital, with its shops, guesthouses and restaurants. Pleasures here are simple: relaxing on the beach, crabbing from the jetties, watching the activity at the boat-repair yards, taking in the dramatic, wide skies and estuary views, and, of course, feasting on fresh native oysters.

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

Two boys are holding a net and are inspecting their catch of crabs.

Britain’s most easterly inhabited island and a land unto itself

Sailing is a huge part of island life and the waters here are brimming with boats of every shape and size as well as the colourful sails of windsurfers and kitesurfers. With its calm, shallow waters, it’s a great place to try out a watersport at first hand or come along for the annual Town Regatta (August), which has been running for over 170 years. Aside from the sailing classes, the regatta includes a number of novelty races as well as a ‘Walk the Greasy Pole’ competition, and is great fun for families. In sharp contrast, diminutive East Mersea, with its church, pub and village store, is not much more than a hamlet. It is however the gateway to many of the island’s campsites not to mention Cudmore Grove Country Park. Here you can blow away the cobwebs with a walk along the seawall, while keeping an eye out for species of migrating birds, or enjoy a ball game or picnic on the grassland overlooking the sea. The park also has a small beach or you can take in the watery views by hopping on the little foot ferry that wends its way to Brightlingsea and Point Clear.

Sailing is a huge part of island life and the waters here are brimming with boats of every shape and size as well as the colourful sails of windsurfers and kitesurfers. With its calm, shallow waters, it’s a great place to try out a watersport at first hand or come along for the annual Town Regatta (August), which has been running for over 170 years.

Experience the island

Cudmore Grove Country Park

A family, mum, dad and three girls are sitting in the park with a picnic.

Cudmore Grove offers visitors a trip to the seaside with a difference at the eastern tip of Mersea Island. The park includes a sandy beach and open grassland, perfect for picnics and great views.

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Mersea Island Museum

Picture of the museum interior showing a beach hut.

Visit the museum to find out more about the story of Mersea Island from prehistoric times to the present day with special reference to its maritime heritage. You can even see a life size fisherman’s cottage replica.

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Mersea Island Vineyard

Picture showing a bottle of local wine and the vinyard in the background.

The vineyard, overlooking the Blackwater and Colne Estuaries, is a family-run operation also known for its great beer. Opt for one of the occasional guided tours, or simply pop in and buy a bottle to take home.

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The Coast Inn

Picture of the contemporary inside of the restaurant.

This contemporary restaurant on West Mersea’s coast road is friendly, lively and relaxed. Seafood is the main event here, the mussels are particularly good, and daily specials feature the freshest catch.

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Where to stay on the island

A family walking along the seawall with their dog.

For open sandy beaches and seaside shops, cross the tidal causeway to leafy Mersea Island. Popular with windsurfers, the Blackwater Estuary is often decorated with brightly coloured sails and boats.

A family playing cricket.

Set in 22 acres of mature coastal countryside overlooking the stunning Blackwater Estuary, offering a quiet, spacious and relaxing lifestyle with lots of facilities for the whole family.

A boy and a girl running along the beach with a paper windmill.

Grassy, sheltered and level family park with a private beach, children’s play areas, swimming pool, pitch and put, crazy golf, undercover golf driving range and fishing lakes.