Essex is my home. My parents have lived here since they married and we have been in the same house ever since. As I have been travelling a bit less lately, I have come to realise how damn beautiful this county is.
I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to notice this. I think I have spent so much of my time, especially since backpacking, dreaming of being the other side of the world again, that I’ve failed to see what’s on my doorstep. Something that I think a lot of us are guilty of!
Essex really does have some beautiful places to visit. The kind of places that are the ultimate place to chill out at, explore, spot wildlife play games – the lot. The kind of places, that for me, are perfect on a sunny Spring day! So recently, I’ve given myself a kick up the rear end and got out and about to see some stunning places in my local area. About time, right?
So why should you visit Essex? I imagine a lot of people who come to the UK from abroad, and a lot of people who live in other parts of the UK mostly come to East Anglia to visit London. And that’s great! London has so much to do, you’d be crazy to miss it! But Essex is the perfect escape from the craziness, and a great chance to see the Great British Countryside at it’s best. With it being well under an hour away, it’s the perfect day trip!
So here are 3 stunning places in and around Essex to get you inspired!
Hylands House – Chelmsford
This stunning manor house sits on 574 acres of stunning parkland. So despite there being nearly 2 million people who visit each year, you’re never going to be too pushed for space. There are beautiful gardens to wander around, a lake and masses of open space. It’s the perfect place to take a picnic, or if you’re not that organised (like myself) then there’s a cafe to get some tasty food from.
Hatfield Forest – Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire
Set just across the boarder into the county of Hertfordshire, this forest was actually once an ancient Royal hunting forest- pretty cool huh? As you walk through here you really do get a sense of how old it is. The trees are huge and have naturally created sculptures, the lake is vast and is teaming with wildlife. There are tonnes of routes to walk around here so make sure you pick up a map when you arrive. I love spending time here and am always thankful that we have the National Trust to preserve and maintain it!
Dedham Vale and Flatford Mill
I am truly gutted that I’ve only just made it to this little gem. It’s the epitome of a quaint British village and sits surrounded by the river Stour and beautiful countryside. It is the heart of Constable Country – John Constable was a famous artist who favoured painting scenes of Dedham, and even though his artwork isn’t for me, it’s pretty amazing to see the places for real. From Dedham, you can either hire a row but (so cute!) and row down the river Stour, or you can walk alongside it and follow it to Flatford Mill. It’s a stunning way to spend a day!
To find out more about these little gems and to see what else Essex has to offer, head over to the Visit Essex website here.