Seven things to do in Essex

There are at least 18 ways in which Essex could “blow your mind” according to the Great British Bucket List in a blog on the 6th of January 2022. Let’s see whether you’ll be blown away by our own list of suggested things to do in the county:

1. Visit Colchester

  • for a short time after the Romans invaded in AD 43, Colchester, which they called Camulodunum – became the very first capital of Britain;
  • even 2,000 years later, there are lots of important heritage to be found. You can “walk the walls” – a circular route around the perimiter of the Roman Walls and the later Medieval additions;       

2. Walk the pier

  • there are piers – and then there is the pier at Southend-on-Sea;
  • Southend pier is a whopper – a full 1.33 miles – and the longest in the world;
  • it’s quite a walk, during which you can imagine all that it has seen since work first started on its construction in 1829;
  • alternatively, you can hop the Pier Railway and enjoy the ten minute leisurely journey from shore to the end of the pier;

3. Amble along the beach

  • few coastal English counties can equal the eighteen attractive beaches you’ll find in Essex – from Harwich in the north and southwards through Frinton, Clacton, Mersea and all the way down to Southend;
  • many significant historic features remain along the coast including remnants of traditional industries such as fishing, salt making and historic grazing marshes;

4. Retail therapy

  • retail therapy may never have felt so good or quite so extensive as a trip to Lakeside Shopping Centre at Thurrock – where Essex borders Greater London;
  • across a total retail floor area on three floors of nearly 2,600,000 square feet (240,000 square metres), you’ll find more than 250 shops and eateries in one of Europe’s most extensive shopping areas in a single location;

5. If you go down to the woods today…

  • after all that retail therapy, you might want to spend a little time relaxing and communing with nature – a stroll in the woods is easy enough to find whenever you’re in Essex;
  • Epping Forest is the most well-known – and you’ll find it difficult to believe you’re just a stone’s throw from London (you can even get there on the Tube by getting off at Theydon Bois) – so take the Lady’s Guide to the Oak Trail in Epping Forest;
  • at Hockley Woods (near Southend) in the southeast of the county you’ll find the most extensive (250 acres) remaining area of woodland in eastern England;
  • Hatfield Forest (near Bishop’s Stortford, the M11, and Stanstead Airport) also offers miles of woodland walking trails;

6. Island hopping

  • many people have a fascination for islands – when you’re surrounded on all sides by the sea, you get a real sense of having found your own space;
  • so, come to Essex where you’ll find more offshore islands than any other county in England – 35 of them altogether, from simple mudflats to a luxurious bolthole frequented by A-list celebrities (the island of Osea described by the Telegraph newspaper on the 31st of March 2022);

7. Visit Greensted Church

  • why not complete your tour of Essex with refreshment for your spirit as well as slaking your thirst for history?


These are just seven suggestions that might surprise you if you’ve never visited Essex before – and, if you have already done so, you might want to come back for more.