Isolated beaches, creeks and inlets, saltmarshes and mudflats are all just a stone’s throw from the popular resort of Southend-on-Sea. The tranquil coastline is an important habitat for wildlife and a haven for walkers and birdwatchers. In days gone by, smugglers used these wild places to land contraband, while local pubs provided wells or cellars as hiding places for smuggled goods.
Exploring inland, take a tour around a vineyard and taste the wine, or enjoy local specialities of asparagus, strawberries and famous Colchester Oysters. Take the kids to Colchester Castle, stroll around the fabulous RHS Garden Hyde Hall, or visit the magnificent Jacobean Audley End House.
Wend your way through the villages of Coggeshall, once a centre for lace making, Thaxted, renowned for its Morris dancing gatherings, and – surely the most quintessentially English of villages – Finchingfield, compete with pond, ducks and church.
While exploring all these rural delights you will also uncover some of Essex's most treasured country pubs. Pubs such as The Anchor at Danbury near Chelmsford and just a few miles away in Colne Engaine, the Five Bells.
Truly beautiful nestled in the historic surroundings of Nether Westcote the Feathered Nest has ale in its blood – its roots having grown from a Cotswold stone malthouse dating from around 1665.
A dreamy Cotswold inn serving award-winning food, the Swan pins its colours to the mast of the flagpole stood outside its doors.
This ivy-clad pub comes in the form of a listed Georgian coaching inn, with high ceilings and open fires, dating back to the 1830s.
In a quaint village setting perched on the banks of the River Wey, the Stag is a perfect example of the very best that a Great British Pub can offer.
The Griffin is a proper local pub with a truly authentic feel that is matched by few other establishments. Family run with great passion, a devoted crowd flock to the well-stocked bar for real ales...
Formerly a medieval hall house, The Cat’s tile-hung exterior fronts a delightfully pubby atmosphere buzzing with locals who are proud to share their hidden gem with visitors.
For those seeking the traditional Cotswold experience or those who have a desire for walking the King’s Head, sitting behind the village green, ticks all the boxes.
Following a much welcomed refurbishment by the new hosts, this historic country pub in the woods at Stoke Row now has a new lease of life. You just have to turn into the car park to see the...
This cute whitewashed pub has more strings to its bow than just pulling pints.