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Visit Essex: Why we love Essex on Valentine’s Day

Entertainment / Wed 7th Feb 2024 at 02:04pm

WITH hundreds of years of heritage, a 350-mile coastline and world-renowned food, Essex is a county to celebrate. Visit Essex, the county’s tourism organisation, is highlighting the reasons to love Essex this Valentine’s Day.

Cllr Mark Durham, Chair of Visit Essex, is keen to highlight all the reasons to love Essex this Valentine’s Day. He said: “There are plenty of reasons to celebrate and love Essex this Valentine’s Day. We are renowned for our food and drink, have hundreds of years of history, not to mention the countryside, woodland and coastline we’re known for! We have so much to offer, right here on your doorstep, so this Valentine’s Day, why not celebrate Essex with us?”

Here’s why we love Essex this Valentine’s Day:

  1. We have the second-longest coastline in the UK. 

Essex’s iconic coastline is a feature we love and there are plenty of places to enjoy it. Popular places like Southend and Clacton are always a great choice. Gems like Leigh-on-Sea, near Southend-on-Sea, are also favourites, with its famous cockle sheds, eateries and bustling high street. Maldon is also the perfect pick for a Valentine’s Day-themed trip, where you could treat your loved one to a barge trip on a Winter Warmer Cruise with Topsail Charters (24 February). Or hold hands and take a romantic stroll through Promenade Park, surrounded by historic parkland and an expanse of greenery.

  1. Our food and drink is world-renowned.

With the second-longest coastline in the UK, seafood is also an obvious choice and a great place to take in a romantic sunrise or sunset.

Food lovers can tuck in to fish and chips by the seaside or try world-famous oysters on Mersea Island. Agricultural land and farming makes up nearly 70% of Essex’s terrain,1 so it’s no wonder that the county produces world-renowned food and drink. Essex is home to Wilkin and Son’s jam, so a date to one of the many Tiptree tea rooms across the county is a must.

In recent years, the Crouch Valley has become well-known as a wine-growing hotspot, thanks to its dry sunny climes, closeness to the river Crouch and heavy clay soil that retains moisture and nutrients. Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes are popular choices and the award-winning vineyards in the area are thriving. Head to the Cellar Door Shop at New Hall or visit Crouch Ridge’s online shop to gift your loved one some Essex wine. 

  1. We are blessed with diverse surroundings across the county. 

Essex is so diverse, there’s something for everyone to love! Popular tourist destinations, Colchester and Southend, have recently become official cities, yet just a stone’s throw away you can enjoy stunning open spaces. Epping Forest or Shut Heath Wood are perfect for an enchanting woodland stroll with a loved one. Or, if you prefer country parks, Highwoods Country Park in Colchester is the perfect place to go, with its wildflower meadows, open green space and a fishing lake. Hylands Estate in Chelmsford is also a great pick, with over 500 acres of parkland to explore. For a coastal feel, head out on the Burnham-on-Crouch Circular Walk, which will take you past the marina and along the quay beside the Crouch Estuary. 

  1. Our heritage and culture dates back from hundreds to thousands of years.

From the largest Norman keep in Colchester to 17th-century Audley End House & Gardens, it’s safe to say that Essex is an historic county.

Colchester was Britain’s first city and the capital of Roman Britain, and Colchester Castle, built by the Normans, stands on the site of the ruins of the Roman Temple of Claudius. Further out to Bradwell-on-Sea, stands St Peter’s-on-the-wall, a Saxon chapel that dates back to 654AD.

The Tudors also made Essex their home in many ways. Rochford Hall is said to be the place that King Henry VIII first laid eyes on Anne Boleyn and where their love affair began; the Boleyns are said to have owned the home from 1515. Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in Epping was also frequented by royals, who took up hunting in nearby Epping Forest, whilst Layer Marney Tower, the largest Tudor gatehouse, was built in the first half of Henry VIII’s reign. 

  1. We have so many iconic attractions and landmarks to visit. 

There are many landmarks and attractions that make you think of Essex immediately. Colchester Zoo, perfect for animal-lovers, is home to over 150 species and is set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes. There are a range of habitats with animals from all over the world. 

Another iconic landmark, Southend Pier, the longest pleasure pier in the world, stretches out for 1.33 miles into the Thames Estuary. Built in the 19th century, the pier is now a great place to watch wildlife, see the stunning coastline from a different viewpoint, and you can even fish!

If you want an Instagram-ready shot, head to Thorpe Bay to see rows of colourful, pretty beach huts lined along the shore. Or head to Tollesbury, at the mouth of the river Blackwater, to take a snap with the iconic red lightship as a backdrop. It’s perfect for walkers and nature lovers to explore.

To discover more, see www.visitessex.com

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