Being born and bred in the county, I am proud to say that I’m an Essex lad through and through. In fact up until this year, I have always lived in Essex!
From growing up around beautiful countryside and exciting towns, I can tell you first hand that there are loads of wonderful places to see in Essex.
So let me show you my top 10 Essex highlights, which you should definitely visit, if you haven’t already. (A.K.A. the places where I was dragged along to for days out as a kid, but have grown to love over the years!)
This adorable little place has often been described as “a chocolate box village”. It’s a great example of a traditional English village with a backdrop to match. The peaceful lake and green fields in the centre of the village makes this the perfect spot for afternoon tea in the Summer!
2) Hedingham Castle
This traditional Norman keep is just down the road from where I grew up and I have lots of fond memories of going to its regular jousting days and exploring the different floors of the castle.
However, one of my favourite things about the castle is that the Globe Theatre visits the attraction each year. The company puts on a production of a different Shakespeare play each summer with the Castle acting as a stunning backdrop!
3) Lakeside Shopping Centre and Retail Park
Being the biggest shopping centre in the Essex, Lakeside is the perfect place for your inner shopaholic! There are countless shops and restaurants here to enjoy, with a wide choice to choose from.
Home to the University of Essex’s second biggest campus, Southend-on-Sea is the perfect place for a trip to the seaside.
It’s also home to the longest pleasure pier in the world. It’s so long in fact that there is actually a purpose-built railway which takes people to the pier head and back. However, there is also the option to walk the 1.34 miles if you prefer!
Speaking of Essex’s beautiful coastline, Walton-on-the-Naze is another pristine example! In particular, the coastal walk from the Naze Tower to the town itself is well worth a wander.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to the seaside tradition of a 99 flake from the ice cream van when you’ve finished the walk!
6) Olympic Mountain Biking Track
When London hosted the Summer Olympics in 2012, Essex played its part by hosting the Mountain biking event. Based in Hadleigh, the track is still there for the public to visit and try for themselves on the same track where Olympians pushed for glory a few years previous.
7) Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker
Despite the place being not so secret these days, the bunker was originally designed during the cold war when the threat of nuclear war was high. Now open as a museum, you can now explore the whole bunker where the government planned to be based in the Southeast in the event of an attack.
This attraction is also quite interesting in getting an insight into what life looked like 20/30 years ago. This is due to the bunker’s appearance not changing since it being decommissioned in the early 1990’s.
8) Tiptree Jam Factory
Home to the famous English jam, the Tiptree Jam Factory is the perfect place to see how this famous English staple is created!
The museum, based in the original factory where the jam is still made to this day, shows you how its popular preserves have been made since 1865.
However, no visit is complete without a trip to the factory’s tearooms and trying out the jam for yourself!
9) Colchester Zoo
Specialising in endangered animals, Colchester Zoo is ranked as one of the best Zoo’s in the country. With the opportunity to see some of the animals up close and feed them, the short trip from the Colchester campus is most definitely worth it!
10) Mercury Theatre
One of my personal Essex favourites is Colchester’s Mercury Theatre. The venue puts on several of its own shoes each year whilst also regularly attracting visiting professional companies as well. There’s always something different on, whether it be theatre, dance or stand up comedy, there’s bound to be something on that’s worth seeing!
if you feel inspired to visit the places I’ve recommended (and fancy winning up to £500 of summer days out), make sure you take some photos of your visit. Essex Business School is giving you the chance to bag entry to top London and Essex attractions for you and a friend in their Instagram competition to find Essex’s Best Youth Tourist Attraction.
To enter, post a pic of your favourite place to visit in Essex on your Instagram, name the attraction in your comment and use #essexyouthtourism for your chance to win. Make sure you tag @essexebs and follow them to find out the winner. You must be aged 16 to 25 to enter and you have until 18 May to post your pic.
The most photographed attraction will be crowned Essex’s Best Youth Tourist Attraction 2017. The most creative, inspirational or just plain pretty photo will win the summer prize package.
The competition celebrates the launch of the new BSc Tourism Management degree at the Southend Campus, which is open for 2017 entries.