Best Places to Visit in Essex
Essex is a borough in east London adjoining the north side of the Thames Estuary. But travel north and east and the countryside becomes more picturesque and towns more personal. For example, Dedham has the romantic Water Meadows painted by John Constable, while Saffron Walden has a market as beautiful as any market in England.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Essex and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Essex
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Essex:
1. Saffron Walden
Saffron Walden is located high up in the northwest of the borough, away from London’s urban sprawl and is a charming medieval market town a short distance from Cambridge. Since the 12th century, a market has been held here every Tuesday and Saturday in the square next to the beautiful town hall, plastered on a stone arch and painted with thorns.
Middleton Square and Castle Street are surrounded by colorful half-timbered buildings, and the 15th-century St Mary’s Church is Essex’s largest parish church. You can also watch BBC period dramas in the magnificent 17th-century Audley End House, which has been owned by the Braybrooke family since the 1700s.
Malden, Essex’s oldest city after Colchester, struggled in its early years with the Vikings who would sail to the mouth of the Blackwater to plunder the town during the 10th century. Today, Karasu’s shores are calmer, and the Victorian seaside park is a sunny day picnic spot, with its tree-lined streets and waterside lawns.
From there you will spot the Thames sailing barges and punts that once carried various cargoes on the Blackwater and Thames estuaries. East Essex has a long-standing military presence, and near Maldon, the area is home to two attractions: the Combined Military Service Museum and Slow Mary Airport, where air shows with World War I planes are held.
On the Stull River, close to the Suffolk border, Dedham is an elegant village with links to two leading English painters. From the Middle Ages to the 1800s, Dedham made a fortune from the wool and textile trade, and weavers and millers built large timber-framed houses and later luxurious flat mansions.
John Constable painted Dedham’s Mills and Countryside in the early 1800s; The landscape has not changed much since then, especially on the Stour River, where cattle and sheep graze on the water meadows. Early 20th-century painter Alfred Munnings lived in Dedham for 40 years, and his wealthy home now houses a gallery of his work.
Located on a peninsula at the mouth of the Stroud and Orwell rivers, Harwich is the UK’s second busiest cruise port. Most people who come to Harwich just pass by, but the town has an exciting maritime heritage reminiscent of legendary pirates like Sir Francis Drake and Martin Frobisher.
The Mayflower was launched from Harwich in 1620, and its captain, Christopher Jones, was born in the town. The old part of Harwich sits on a grid system drawn in the 1200s and is preserved as a preserve for a mix of cantilevered and planned houses. Built in 1911, the Electric Palace Cinema is the oldest untouched cinema in the UK and still retains its original silent screen.
5. Waltham Abbey
The monastery, after which the market town is named, has been in use since the 600s, although today’s Norman architecture dates back to 1100. It is still steeped in history and the abbey church survived its dissolution in the 16th century, while the rest of the abbey buildings were demolished.
On the ground, you can see an original gatehouse guarding a bridge, and the monastery is also the resting place of King Harold, who was killed at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The problem is that no one is quite sure where he is buried! Gunpowder for the military has been produced at Waltham Abbey for three centuries, while the Royal Gunpowder Factory has gun shows dating back to the 1500s and many interactive displays to keep children occupied.
The village of Thaxted will win you over as soon as you see the painted houses on Town Street, just minutes from Saffron Walden. These are muted hues, and it’s interesting to see that some of the older ones with prominent cantilevered tops were given a classic makeover in the 1700s.
In the background are the streets of the vaulted town hall and St. The view of the supporting stone tower of St. John’s Church is outstanding. If you want to see the mechanics of one of the buildings, John Weber’s windmill on the edge of the village is equally fascinating.
If you’ve read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, you’ll recognize this desolate, muddy stretch of the Thames Estuary as the anchorage of “Nellie” at the beginning of the book. The water’s edge still awaits rebuilding, but if you know where to look, here’s something interesting: Tiblury Castle, a star-shaped artillery rig operated by English Heritage, was built during World War II. It served as a defense until the impact of World War II. Meanwhile, Intu Lakeside is one of the largest shopping centers in the UK with over 250 shops.
Clacton also has a familiar old-time feel, perfect for a wide range of family entertainment, as you’ll see at the Princes Theater and West Cliff Theatre. Like Southend, kids will love this beachfront resort running wild on Pleasure Pier or having fun at West Beach or Blue Flag Matello Bay.
Vacationers pack the seashore for the Clacton Airshow in August, jet formations fly in order, and evening fireworks displays end the day with a bang. Jaywick Martello Tower is one of a series of early 18th century watchtowers used to detect possible Napoleonic invasion attempts and has been converted into an art and cultural centre.
Braintree is made up of four different market towns, each with its own character and character, as well as National Trust properties and Green Country. From the end of the Middle Ages, the region prospered with the help of the woolen textile trade, which explains the wealth of the elegant ancient estate.
Everyone from kids to industry historians will be crazy about the diesel and steam locomotives on the Colne Valley Railway, and the Warner Textile Archive, the second largest of its kind in the UK, documents two centuries of textile production, albeit limited hours of operation. Finally, the Temple of Cressing is home to three 12th-century stables belonging to the Knights Templar, one of which is the world’s oldest surviving wooden barn.
One of Braintree’s delightful markets is Coggeshall, with around 200 listed buildings in its old center. When the town’s textile industry subsided in the early 20th century, rail lines were diverted and the town was suspended. What was bad news for the Coggeshall back then, with its creaking log cabins and unique landmarks, is good news for tourists today.
One is the 15th-century St. Peter ad Vunkura church. The so-called “super-cathedral” was built unnecessarily large by local merchants hoping their generosity would take them to heaven. Further proof of local wealth is the Tudor Paycocke House, built in 1505 with the finest carvings from painted wood.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Essex. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Essex, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.