Holiday rentals in Essex

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Popular amenities for Essex holiday rentals

Other great holiday rentals in Essex

Your guide to Essex

Welcome to Essex

The misconception of Essex as a sort of eastern suburb of London — encouraged by its commuter towns and a much popularised nightlife scene — belies both its ancient history and its natural beauty. Its coastline of broad estuaries backed by thousands of acres of wildlife-rich saltmarsh measures a whopping 350 miles. The former royal hunting enclosure of Epping Forest contains more than 50,000 ancient trees.

Its gentle, green countryside is dotted with olde worlde villages, market towns, and country estates, including the imposing Audley End at Saffron Walden, and the 18th-century Hylands House near Chelmsford. Stour Valley and Dedham Vale are so picturesque they inspired some of Britain’s most beloved painters, while Colchester, once the Roman capital of Britain, can celebrate two thousand years of architecture, including a Norman castle. But yes, Essex locals are also known for their friendliness and their love of a good time. Famous seaside towns like Clacton-on-Sea and Southend, home to the world’s longest pleasure pier, offer plenty of entertainment.


The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Essex

Summer is when the weather is at its most reliable in Essex, and a popular time to head to Essex’s coast and stay in one of the area’s holiday cottages. The seaside towns can be quiet out of season, although they rarely shut down entirely. Facing the North Sea means that it can get chilly any time of year, however, so make sure to pack accordingly and bring a waterproof jacket in case it rains. Spring and autumn are both mild and offer different but delightful experiences of the countryside, with many of the towns and stately homes in their best bloom between March and May, and Epping forest clothed in autumn colours in September and October. The event season peaks in summer with county fairs, the Estuary arts festival in May/June, and the Clacton Airshow in August, not to mention the Dunmow Flitch Trials in July, a curious 900-year-old tradition celebrating marriage with bacon.


Top things to do in Essex

Harwich

Located on a peninsula at the mouth of the rivers Stour and Orwell, this harbour is best known for its ferries to Holland. But its old town, dating back to the 13th century, is a charming destination itself, with maritime heritage, the wooden Ha’penny Pier, and a pretty beach on Dovercourt Bay. You can also go seal spotting at the nearby Hamford water nature reserve.

Halstead

With the River Colne running prettily through its centre, this market town, full of independent shops and merchants, is a floral delight year round, from its Victorian gardens to its blooming churchyards. Drive 15 minutes in any direction and you’ll come to more attractive villages — Coggeshall, Finchingfield, Earls Colne — while the Norman keep of Hedingham Castle lies just to the north.

Blackwater Estuary

From the Dengie peninsula south of the river to Mersea Island to its north, the vast flat horizons of the Blackwater salt marshes are a place to lose yourself in nature. The estuary’s banks, lakes, and meadows are breeding grounds for wildlife while the surrounding villages, like Maldon, Burnham-on-Crouch, and Bradwell-on-Sea, retain their fishing and boat-building traditions.

Destinations to explore

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