Things to do in Essex

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If you are travelling throughout the UK this summer, maybe on a whistle stop tour or looking for a base, Essex is stunning and should not be overlooked. Sitting on the borders of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, London and Kent, Essex has been able to take in many cultural influences making this such a diverse and interesting place to visit.

Essex boasts stunning architecture and countryside which is accompanied by many great town centers and shopping experiences to indulge in. If it’s culture you are looking for then Essex also plays host to historic sites, museums and art galleries with many cultural events planned throughout the county all year round.

Essex Coastline

Photo credit: Marc Pether-Longman

Coastlines and Beaches

The beautiful coastlines and spectacular beaches must not be overlooked especially if a relaxing but entertaining stay is what you have planned. Essex has around twenty beaches in total boasting miles of golden sands with more blue flag beaches than Suffolk and Norfolk. A visit to Clacton-on-Sea is a must as this will provide you with both the largest beach, Martello Bay Beach and West Beach the home of the famous Clacton Pier, otherwise known as the place for a ‘Great British Day Out’. Clacton Pier offers something for all the family and you can be entertained with bowling, sea fishing and an aquarium, keeping everyone amused whatever the British weather is doing.

Shopping

Essex also caters splendidly for your shopping needs with some excellent high street and designer outlets along with market towns and farmers markets. A visit to Thurrock will take you to the famous Lakeside Shopping Centre which has over 250 stores, restaurants, leisure attractions and cafes, keeping you occupied all day and night. However, if it’s designer and chic boutiques you desire then why not follow in the ‘Towie’ footsteps with a trip to Brentwood. Here you can visit all 9 of the shops from the show in a one hour tour on foot or for the foodies amongst us there are some delightful farm shops in Essex providing local quality produce and a welcome stop off on a day out.

Colchester Zoo

If family attractions and getting close to nature are your interests, then why not visit Colchester Zoo? This is hailed as one of the finest zoos in Europe, winning tourist and environmental awards and housing over 250 species of animals for you to view.

Colchester Zoo

Photo credit: Pat Scullion

Hedingham Castle

Hedingham Castle is a regular favorite for many, set in magnificent grounds, which were lovingly restored to their full gory in 2009, the castle has something for everyone within its events listings including jousting, archery, falconry displays, brass rubbings and activities for children.

Hedingham Castle

Photo credit: Jerzy Kociatkiewicz

So if you are staying for just a day, a week, or longer Essex will cater for any of your vacation needs. Depending on the type of holiday you want there are plenty of guest houses or hotels to choose from, romantic getaways to spa hotels through to B&B’s and campsites.

I’m sure you will agree that by combining the excellent range of tourist attractions and locations you will find Essex really has something to suit everyone’s tastes and is truly a hidden gem.

Vivienne Ollis is a freelance copywriter covering leisure & tourism and can be contacted through twitter @vivienneollis. For more information on camping or caravanning then visit www.osealeisure.co.uk.

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