Escape to Essex and stay in one of these bucket list destinations for the ultimate weekend break; you’ll be the envy of all your friends! Each unique in their own way, they’ll certainly provide a different and memorable trip, all reached within minutes from London. 

Cambridge Lodge, Audley End House and Gardens

Live it up in a Victorian Gatehouse

Built in 1843, Cambridge Lodge is set within the grounds of one of England’s finest stately homes, Audley End House & Gardens. Be welcomed by a luxury hamper as you step inside this historic self-catering cottage. Sleeping 4, dog friendly, and with roll top bath, this cosy cottage includes entry to the grand house, and is close by to the charming market town of Saffron Walden, and opposite Audley End Miniature Railway. From £490 for 3 nights, 1 hour 5 min from London by direct train, 5 min drive from Audley End train station.

The Hexagon, Tollesbury

Explore a former Radar Tower

The Hexagon radar tower was built during World War II to lookout for enemy submarines. So, it is not surprising to hear it boasts marvellous views over Tollesbury marshes and Mersea Island. Surrounded by fields and nature reserves, with no neighbours, it is a great spot for stargazing. This cool stay sleeps 2, with room for a travel cot, and if you have kids in tow, bring a tent for the garden from an additional £15. Pack your walking boots as this is great country to explore on foot, and in the warmer months, watch the Thames Barges and yachts sail past. From £213pn. 45 mins from London by direct train, 30 min drive from Witham train station.

The Clockwork Hotel dining room and bar

Take over a hotel  

Solve an escape-room style puzzle to find your hotel keys! With exclusive use of the whole Clockwork Hotel for your group, enjoy a glass of bubbly on arrival, a 3-course dinner party and a cocktail with your own bartender. Relax in the hot tub or sauna before retiring to boutique style bedrooms. Perfect for birthdays, hen dos or stag parties. From £170pp, 16-22 people, 1 hour 10 min train from London, 2 min walk from Burnham-on-Crouch train station. 

Reminder barge, Maldon

Sail, sleep and repeat

Cruise back in time to an unhurried world governed by wind and tides… with Topsail Charters. Leave life ashore as you explore the secret waters of the Essex Coast, from beautiful creeks to some of the 350-mile coastline under huge brown sails. Take the wheel or relax on deck while the experienced crew do the hard work! From £825 per day, self-catering, max 12 guests. Or choose to overnight moored on Maldon Quay. From £950, 2-night stay, max 14 guests. 40 min direct train from London, 15 min drive from Hatfield Peverel train station.

Grebe's Nest, Chigborough Lakes

Dream afloat a Raft

Start your adventure equipped with a wheelbarrow for your luggage and a sheet of directions. Access your abode via floating pontoon! The Raft provides ultimate tranquillity, in the middle of a private lake. Cosy up next to the log burner in this cabin, read your book from the hammock, explore in your own private rowing boat and soak in your wood-fired hot tub. Go off grid with privacy and peace. From £245pn. Or chill out in The Grebes Nest, a floating glamping pod, also with private rowing boat and underfloor heating so you’ll be toastie in winter. From £125pn. If you prefer land, book the cute Hobbit Cottage, surrounded by fields. From £80pn. Café, bikes to hire, paddleboarding and more available at the farm.40 min direct train from London, 15 min drive from Hatfield Peverel train station.

The Royal Chamber, Hedingham Castle

Sleep like Royalty

Stay in the Royal Chamber of Hedingham Castle! New for 2023, be one of the first guests to overnight at the top of the keep and feel like lord and lady of the manor. Shut the rest of the world out, as you close the drapes of your magnificent four-poster bed. The luxurious double bathtub is even hidden in a chest and best enjoyed with a complimentary bottle of Champagne and chocolates. Wake up to beautiful countryside views from your lofty height before tucking into a delicious continental breakfast without having to leave your room. From £490pn, 1hr from London by direct train, 20 min drive from Braintree station.

The Cabin, Talliston House and Gardens

Discover Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home 

This is a B&B like no other. From soaking in the bathtub in a Norwegian Boathouse to rustling up your dinner in a New Orleans Voodoo Kitchen. Get Talliston House & Gardens all to yourself. With three rooms to choose from, enjoy a magical night’s sleep in The Room of Dreams, cosy up in The Cabin or brave The Haunted Bedroom if you dare! Wake up to a delicious, cooked breakfast at a time of your choosing. Add on a 2-hour private tour with creator and author, John Tarrow, afternoon tea, and more. From £125pn, 50 min direct train from London, 10 min drive from Stansted Airport train station.

The Old Oak treehouse at night

Live the childhood dream, stay in a treehouse

Let the adventure begin in this amazing two storey treehouse at Coleman’s Farm. Complete with sofa, dining table, and fully equipped kitchen, this is luxury glamping. With a double bathtub boasting beautiful views of rolling fields and pond, soak up the same views from your private outside decking. With limited signal, no wi-fi and no TV, relax with a book from your hammock; it’s just you and some deer. Make your childhood dreams come true! The Old Oak, from 250pn. Only 15min drive from Epping Tube Station. 

Willow Boat Hire, Hoe Mill Lock

Stay on your very own canal boat 

Moored on the beautiful Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation and stationery at Hoe Mill Lock, this floating haven with Willow Boat Hire sleeps 3. With a log burner, BBQ, fully equipped kitchen, TV, Wi-Fi, toilet and shower, all your home comforts have been lovingly thought of. Relax on the deck, walk 20 mins to the local pub, along the tow path, or hire a kayak, canoe or bikes for an additional charge. From £120pn. 40 min direct train from London, 10 min drive from Hatfield Peverel train station.

Hedingham Huts

Stay on a farm

Get off the grid in this charming Shepherd’s Hut sleeping 2, which was designed and built by Andy, fourth generation farmer. Set within his small farm, wake up to views of rolling fields, admire stunning sunsets from your base and come dusk, cosy up by the log burner or firepit. Hedingham Huts runs on solar powered electricity without neglecting any of your home comforts in this cosy pad. The quaint village of Castle Hedingham, home to country pubs, is only a 15 min walk away along scenic footpaths. A peaceful night’s sleep awaits! £105pn. 1hr from London by direct train, 20 min drive from Braintree station.

Shepherd's Hut, Teybrook Orchard

Glamp at Teybrook Orchard

Choose from traditionally hand-crafted Mongolian yurts, bordered by meadows, and named after cool Disney characters, to Bell tents nestled amongst the trees. Or if there are only two of you, the romantic Shepherd’s Hut, or Grain Silo, are perfect snugs. The skylights in the yurts and Grain Silo means you really will fall asleep under the stars; magical! Make your Essex stay something out of the ordinary. From £80pn. 1hr from London by direct train, 10 min drive from Marks Tey.

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