Essex is not the ‘idyllic’ location that people dream of relocating to but for us, we love it. It is such a good location which means we have nice surroundings of the big city and local countryside as well as some beaches and lovely days out.
There is always such negative press around Essex, like everywhere it has its bad parts but I love where we are. We have some real hidden gems that make it a lovely place to live, visit, socialise and spend time with our family.
1. The Seaside
I love the seaside, when Jenson was younger we spent a lot of time at Frinton but now we tend to visit Clacton so that we can have a go on the pier. I love the seaside. We also have Mersea, such a beautiful place. Cudmore Grove is perfect, it has a stoney beach and lots of mud but it has a country park where you can have a BBQ and play games.
Hatfield forest is a National Trust site and you have to pay £5 parking if you are not a member. We are members so it’s free but that means I only spend what I save in their cafe which does the most amazing fish finger sandwich and chips. The forest is stunning. There are so many different routes to travel around, you can walk, take bikes or even just stay in one place and play games and have a picnic. Perfect for a cheap family day out.
I love going to Maldon, it had the freshness of sea air but isn’t quite as cold. The town is nice and it has the perfect space for families. There is an outside water park for when it is really warm, plenty of outside greenery for games and a huge sandpit. There are also lots of foot outlets and a lovely pub on the front which is perfect pub lunches – really good food. There is a boating lake there too and it is the best place to go crabbing!
This is considered a ‘free day out’ for us based on the fact that we have unlimited access with our gold cards. There is so much to do and see. We never ever get bored. We vary the feedings we see and animals talks. Colchester zoo are always updating and changing things, they’ve recently invested a lot in new restaurants there. Having the gold card means that we always eat whilst we are there, it’s always nice to eat out but it means we are giving money to the zoo too.
We are able to access London via the train, tube and driving. I love London, I love visiting London and I love the city. I worry about travelling to London a bit more now however, I thoroughly enjoy the time whilst we are there. We have been tourists, attended events and visited places. I love London Zoo, they’ve invested a lot of money there recently and it is so evident. We are also lovers of the Aquarium, a real gem especially in the winter as it is inside. The museums are also incredibly valuable, they are a free day out and so interactive for the children. We visited the History and a Science museum when Jenson was younger but he is desperate to go again.
We are always visiting London
We have two lovely farms local to us, Boydells and Marsh Farm.
Boydells is a family run working farm and it is amazing! It is open throughout Spring and summer for lambing. It is only open 2pm-5pm and a tour is held each day during this time, the enthusiasm of the farmer is mesmerising. You can hold and feed lambs and kids. You can watch, if possible, lambing and handle little ducklings. There are also dairy cows to feed and milk as well as pigs, ponies and other animals. This is such a lovely place and so hands on for little people, especially children that are budding farmers.
Marsh Farm is much bigger than Boydells so it is not quite as personal, it is part of Essex Parks and has lovely surrounding areas. Marsh Farm hold lots of different events throughout the year and their Christmas events are amazing! The staff are always full of beans and put so much effort in, it’s very personal.
7. Essex Parks
As I mentioned above, there are lots of lovely parks and places around us that implies being outside. These are nice cheap days out and lovely for welly walking or picnics on summer days. We have both a Stickman trail and a Gruffalo trail local to us.