Explore pristine estuaries and tranquil coastlines … find unexpected aspects of Essex

Baby seals twist from their mothers, bomb flats, dive into water and swim incredibly gracefully.

Sitting on a 24-foot sailboat, immersed in the splash of the sea and surrounded by a vast colony of seals, it’s hard to believe it’s only two hours away from London.


Sunset on the beach in West Mersea, EssexCredit: Shutterstock

And it’s even harder to believe we are EssexCounty, which is synonymous with the stars of The only way is Essex TV Shows and packed beaches and amusement arcades in Southend-on-Sea.

But on our trip, we can’t see Vajazul or slot machines. We are here to explore the pristine estuary and tranquil coastline — an unexpected side of the county.

Our weekend begins with a hearty breakfast at the beautiful Victorian Pier Hotel in Harwich, the northernmost coastal town of Essex. The Mayflower set sail on a voyage to the United States.

With your stomach full of fried food and pastries, head out to the pier directly opposite and head to the Hanford Water Nature Reserve to observe seals.

Ralph, Rufus, Ali on a sailing ship


Ralph, Rufus, Ali on a sailing ship

The company promises to “get back seals and your money,” but you can’t get many refunds because you’re immediately surrounded by a group of harbor seals. Their cute puppy-like faces pop out of the water, and their fur is dyed orange by the iron-rich mud at the mouth of the Thames.

Fire pit. .. ..Hot tub

In more than 5,000 acres of nature reserves (composed of salt plains, swamps and streams), seals certainly have plenty of space to scatter. Arthur Ransome set one of his novels here. Amazon feels it.

Suppress your voice as you approach the gray seal colony so that it does not get in the way of your newborn. It’s a nonsensical feat for my boys, Ralph and Rufus, who are 4 and 6 years old and have a foghorn-like voice. puppy.

Incredibly, the UK is home to almost half of the world’s gray seal population, but the closest we’ve ever seen was the London Zoo.

The boys were excited to look through their binoculars and found seals, buoys, boats and birds.

Idyllic clapboard cottage


Idyllic clapboard cottageCredit: Shutterstock

On the way back to Harwich, there was a moment of excitement when the engine stopped, but the crew was able to fix it enough for us to slowly return to the shore, and we made it perfect. Raise the ghost with crossed fingers so that it is not given to.

After appetizing, we jumped into the car and crossed Essex back to Heybridge Basin’s Rock Tea Room for an hour. There, I enjoyed the view of the canal with scones, clotted cream and jam.

We then headed south to Maldon and Ocean Meadows campgrounds next to the stunning Blackwater Estuary. Water was definitely a weekend theme, but sadly it extended to the weather and the heavens opened in the evening.

We stayed in a cozy wooden hut called the Malvern Pod. All pods have a barbecue and fire pit, and some pods have a hot tub and a large deck area, perfect for evening drinks.

The next day, we drove to the Essex Outdoor Center to cross the Blackwater Estuary by boat.

Colorful beach huts on Mersea Island


Colorful beach huts on Mersea IslandCredit: Shutterstock

We boarded a barking motorboat in the water until the sons, who thought they were in a James Bond movie, broke down. This was becoming a recurring theme. Fortunately, our captain Meyrick sent a radio for backup and we were immediately rescued by a smooth white sailing vessel.

We tacked across the estuary towards Mersea Island, and Meyrick patiently explained to the boys what the various ropes would do.

Our 6 year old kid was excited to lie down when he took us to Mersea Island with a cultivator.

Moored 50 meters from the pier surrounded by a small yacht and a strange paddle border. From there, I was able to enjoy spectacular views of Mercy, which connects to other parts of Essex on the causeway, which can be covered by high tide. Thankfully the rain stopped, so we went to bite. The boys liked to throw bacon to the side, wait for food, and then carefully pull up the crab-filled line.

I caught 66 of them, but instead of turning them into crab sandwiches, I put them back in before pushing them into the picnic that Meyrick brought.

After stuffing sandwiches and more scones and cream, we returned across the estuary. Just as it began to rain, we returned to London. Indeed, when it comes to seaside weekends, the only way is Essex.

Find them in Harwich and seal the deal


Find them in Harwich and seal the deal
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Explore pristine estuaries and tranquil coastlines … find unexpected aspects of Essex

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