There’s a lot more to Essex that TOWIE

In case anyone doesn’t know, there’s a hit television series called ‘The Only Way Is Essex’, and if nothing else it has focused some well-deserved attention on one of the most appealing spots in Britain.

The county is not far from London, but visitors both from abroad and from other parts of the UK have noted that there is a welcoming warmth about the area that is usually lacking in big cities.

Essex has no lack of ‘big city’ attractions, but it does have a singular ambiance that in many ways typifies the best of British culture and history. It is the home of countless historical sites and structures including the oldest recorded city in the country, Colchester. History buffs will also want to visit towns like Coggeshall, Saffron Walden and Thaxted as well as some of the numerous monuments, castles and other heritage sites.

On the natural wonders scale, Essex has more than its share, what with 350 miles of coastline, grazing marshes and some of the best-preserved ancient woodlands in Britain. Remote river estuaries offer marvelous opportunities for exploring, camping, bird-watching, kayaking and many more activities or just a peaceful day away from the city.

Wining and dining is definitely on the list of Essex attractions, with seafood at the top of the good food choices. For example the Blackwater Estuary was first farmed for oysters by the Romans, and you can sample those oysters’ great-descendents at spots such as Mersea Island, or try the local cockles at Leigh-on-Sea. There is a huge selection of different dining venues throughout the county, from posh to pub, depending on your tastes.

As for accommodations, there are a number of large luxury hotels, but the real attraction is the multitude of great country inns. An unforgettable experience is a stay on the private island of Osea, accessible only twice in each 24 hours via a causeway over the Blackwater Estuary – seclusion at its finest.