ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM
Essex is a real county of contrasts offering a rich tapestry of everything that makes Britain great. There is a wonderful collection of old and new, and Essex manages to combine modern facilities, fascinating towns and villages and ever-changing coastlines to create the perfect day trip or short break. Boasting the palatial splendour of historic houses such as Audley End House and Gardens in Saffron Walden, to newly created architectural masterpieces such as Firstsite in Colchester, together with affordable accommodation, Essex should be the destination of choice for your next visit.
How to get to Essex
Air - London Stansted Airport
London Stansted Airport (http://www.stanstedairport.com/) is in Essex with international and domestic flights. Connections with London, Southend and Chelmsford can be reached by bus and there is a London express train service to Stansted as well.
Southend Airport is a small airport with flights to the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey) and some other locations. (http://southendairport.com/ )
Essex has an extensive rail network, with most services currently operated by either Abellio Greater Anglia or c2c. Some areas of West Essex are covered by Transport for London. There are frequent services into London from all over Essex as well as to parts of other counties including Suffolk, Norfolk and Hertfordshire.
Getting around in Essex
National and regional bus routes offer an extensive range of routes. Within Essex a Essex day ticket can be purchased on the regional buses which is a great option for visitors who wish to use the bus network to visit some of the counties top sites.
First Essex Buses
The largest commercial operator in Essex, serving destinations from Chelmsford, Colchester, Clacton, Basildon and Southend including both Essex Airports London Stansted and London Southend.With Real time technology allowing you to track your bus, and Mobile ticketing, taking the bus around Essex has never been easier.
National Express run coaches to and from over 1,000 destinations throughout the UK, and a regular shuttle bus service operates from Stansted Airport to London Liverpool Street and London Victoria.
Local coach operators – Kirby’s Coaches are renowned throughout South East Essex for luxurious coach travel in the UK and Europe.
The National Cycle Network is a network of cycle routes in the United Kingdom and is managed by the charity Sustrans. Currently spanning 13,400 miles it was officially created in 1995 and now passes within one mile of half the population, over 338 million trips were made using it in 2006. National Routes 1, 11, 13, 16 & 51 all pass through Essex. You can plan your own journey by bike on CycleStreets. It is a UK-wide cycle journey planner system, which lets you plan routes from A to B by bike. It is designed by cyclists, for cyclists, and caters for the needs of both confident and less confident cyclists.
Essex has the longest coastline in the United Kingdom at 350 miles.
Saffron Walden is home to the world’s largest turf maze which is thought to be more than 800 years old.
St Andrew’s in Greenstead is believed to be the oldest wooden church in the world dating from the 11th.
Practical tips – Need to know
Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)
Time zone: GMT +00
Country code: +44
Voltage: 230 V
Electrical socket: British BS
+44 8701 566 366
General emergency number: 999 and 112
Explore city centre
Grayson Perry’s ‘House for Julie’
Designed by Essex’s very own sculptor, artist and cross-dresser (‘Claire’), the stunning ‘gingerbread’ style house, sits in the middle of a field with fabulous views over the unspoilt countryside and Wrabness beach. You may not be able to afford to stay there, but you can certainly take a peek for free!
RHS Garden Hyde Hall
Sitting prominently on a hilltop with sweeping views across the rolling Essex countryside, Hyde Hall takes full advantage of its 360 degree views. At the centre of the garden you will find intensely cultivated planting schemes that slowly begin to soften and blend out into the surrounding landscape. The result is an eclectic mix of horticulture from traditional rose gardens and herbaceous borders to large sweeping borders of grasses and meadowland. (www.rhs.org.uk/hydehall),Opening details: 10:00 to 18:00 (16:00 Nov to Feb).
Audley End House and Gardens
Experience a real life period drama as you explore life above and below stairs at this decadent mansion. Explore the impressive mansion house and uncover the story behind the Braybrooke’s unique natural history collection. Great houses need an army of staff to keep everything running smoothly, and you can meet Audley’s in the Victorian Service Wing and nursery. See them at work every weekend May-September. (www.english-heritage.org.uk/audleyend)
The Naze Tower is an historic landmark dramatically situated on the cliffs at the Naze. The 86ft tall octagonal tower has played an important part in maritime history and is grade II listed, as the only building of its type and era in the country. Today it offers visitors a unique experience of heritage and culture that is fun for all ages.
Osea Island Resort
We don’t like to brag, but when it comes to islands, we have more than any other UK county (35), and in particular Osea Island – our ‘Essex gem’ and idyllic get-away in the Blackwater estuary, just off the coast of Maldon. You can stay in the island’s 400 year old cottages, the Manor House, Captain’s House or in modern apartments.
Mountfitchet Castle is a unique open-air museum experience where the visitor can travel back in time over 900 years and truly witness life in a medieval Motte and Bailey castle.