0 5 mins 3 mths

Forget the crowds of Southend and Clacton! This Easter, explore the wild side of Essex and reconnect with nature on a charming three-day trip. Discover the beauty of the Essex Coast, indulge in delicious local food and drink, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Day 1: Mersea Island 

Your adventure begins on Mersea Island, the UK’s most easterly-inhabited island. Soak in the island’s peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking scenery as you head to Cudmore Grove Country Park (CO5 8UE). Explore the sandy beach, stroll along the seawall for panoramic views of Brightlingsea, and witness the rich history of the area through WWII pillboxes and gun emplacements. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the abundance of Brent geese and other wading birds, while fossil enthusiasts can marvel at the 300,000-year-old remnants of monkeys, bears, and bison!

After a refreshing walk, indulge in a delicious lunch at The White Hart Inn, a historic pub dating back to the 15th century. Savour their seasonal menu featuring the freshest seafood, oysters plucked straight from Mersea’s famous beds, and locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

In the afternoon, explore the charming village of West Mersea. Wander through a delightful array of independent shops, restaurants, and seafood shacks, and admire the vibrant beach huts lining the sandy shores. For a comfortable overnight stay, The Victory at Mersea offers luxurious accommodation with stunning views over the Blackwater Estuary. Enjoy a traditional pub meal in their waterfront setting before settling in for a restful night.

Day 2: Wild Essex and a Regal Cruise

Fuel up for the day with a delicious breakfast at The Victory, Mersea, then embark on a journey to Tollesbury Wick Nature Reserve. Witness the raw beauty of the Essex marshes as you walk along the famous Essex Way, with the iconic red lightship guiding your way. Be captivated by the vibrant summer butterfly population, the cacophony of Brent Geese in winter, and the majestic Marsh Harriers soaring overhead. Take the permissive path to the bird hide at the lagoon and immerse yourself in a world of wildfowl and waders.

Next, head to Maldon, one of Essex’s oldest recorded towns. Here, you can explore the charming high street dotted with striking buildings like the Moot Hall, a historical landmark dating back over 600 years. Take a leisurely stroll through Promenade Park on the banks of the River Blackwater, where the water playground offers a haven for families during the summer months.

For an afternoon steeped in tradition, board a Thames Sailing Barge for a delightful afternoon tea cruise. Sail from Maldon Quay past Northey Island to Osea Island and back, indulging in a delightful cream tea with freshly baked scones and refreshing tea or coffee while enjoying breathtaking river views. These majestic barges, remnants of a bygone era where over 2,000 East Coast cargo vessels once plied these waters, offer a unique experience steeped in maritime history.

Unwind for the night at Chigborough Farm, a 130-acre rural oasis on the outskirts of Maldon. Immerse yourself in nature by glamping in “The Raft,” a luxurious floating cabin with a private hot tub on its own lake. Enjoy the serenity of the surroundings and prepare a delicious meal on the open-air deck overlooking the shimmering water, utilising the outdoor kitchenette equipped with a gas hob, BBQ, and fridge.

Day 3: Quays and Wines

Before departing, embark on a scenic circular walk through Burnham-on-Crouch and Creeksea. This 5.5-mile route offers a captivating glimpse of the town, from local parks and the bustling marina to the picturesque quay and the vast expanse of the Crouch Estuary. Keep your eyes peeled for a diverse array of birds, including grassland birds in the countryside and coastal varieties like waders, gulls, ducks, and little egrets.

For a final touch of luxury, treat yourself to an exquisite lunch and wine tasting experience at Clayhill Vineyard. Nestled in the heart of the Crouch Valley Region with stunning views, Clayhill Vineyard crafts award-winning wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Enjoy a bespoke vineyard tour, indulge in a delicious lunch paired with a selection of their finest wines, and savour the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

As you head back home, you’ll realise that Essex offers a wealth of experiences beyond the usual seaside destinations. So next time you seek a refreshing escape, consider exploring the wild side of Essex—it’s closer than you think!

Elena Leo is the Arts & Lifestyle Editor of Ikon London Magazine.