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About Essex

All our Essex Collections:

Despite the best efforts of reality television to portray Essex as party central for the loud and proud wannabe WAG brigade, the county has a great deal of beautiful rural countryside. Indeed the majority of the best places to stay in Essex will be found in charming villages and stunning countryside which inspired the artworks of John Constable.

Colchester is a pretty market town with roots that reach back to Roman times - it claims to be the UK's oldest recorded town. It's a good base for exploring the whole county as well as boasting its own attractions including a Norman Castle, Roman ruins and zoo.

The county is littered with historic houses and gardens and for wine buffs there's a number of vineyards to visited and tastings to be had.

Essex also boasts 350 miles of coastline which is amongst the most diverse in Britain with a wide variety of wildlife. For a traditional holiday Clacton and Southend on Sea immediately spring to mind - both have award winning beaches and traditional piers. But if you venture just slightly out of these resorts you'll discover hidden coves and inlets, atmospheric salt marshes and mudflats, stunning cliff top walks and charming seaside towns, whose seafaring heritage dates back centuries.

What not to miss

  • Head off hiking and go visit the ruins of Hadleigh Castle. Offering wonderful views and providing lots of information on the castle's history, there's also a farm shop with its own café. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon in this tranquil spot!
  • Colchester Zoo is a fabulous family day out. Boasting over 270 species set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes, you can learn all about the animals by watching one of their 50 daily diplays. Kids will love the various play areas dotted around, and you can even join in with feeding the elephants and giraffes!
  • Spend the afternoon wandering around the delightful 7.5 acre Beth Chatto Gardens. This wonderfully-tended spot is a tranquil visit, complete with tea rooms to unwind in after walking around taking in the wonderful nature.

This county is a very popular destination for weekend breaks due to its proximity to London. So if you want to surprise a loved one with a room in one of the best places to stay in Essex, be preparted to book well ahead.

Coastal Stays

  • Opened in 1864 to put up passengers who had disembarked from boats from the continent, The Pier at Harwich is an absolute delight for anyone who loves the sea and boats. Right on the harbour, its fresh, modern, nautical design and really great seafood restaurant make it a popular buzzy location with locals and guests alike. Rooms at the front of the hotel have huge windows overlooking the harbour with big squashy armchairs thoughtfully provided so guests can sit and watch the shipping slip by.

Romantic Retreats

  • Milsoms, just outside the charming village of Dedham, is a boutique hotel of fifteen rooms with a lively brasserie and bar, it showcases local art and has old fashioned telephones with dials and corkscrew wires in the rooms. Attention to detail in the bedrooms is good with wonderfully comfortable beds, lovely linen sheets and in the morning papers and coffee delivered to your room, ensuring that you will want to linger even longer in bed.

For foodies

  • The Pier at Harwich is a charming waterfront property overlooking the quayside. Boasts unfussy, contemporary accommodation with sea views and fresh seafood at the restaurant. What's more, there's a gin library and Prosecco cocktails served up!

Family Getaways

  • The Maison Talbooth is a sumptuously comfortable hotel with quirky touches in the heart of beautiful Constable country, outside Colchester. Popular for exclusive use bookings and weekend parties, it has a heated outdoor pool complex and hearty log fires (gas, but good). Family and dog friendly, there is a lovely tennis court with good coaching available. A friendly, relaxed, welcoming, fun hotel.

For total Relaxation

  • Feel a million miles away from all your worries at The Pier At Harwich. This charming waterfront spot offers chic yet unfussy accommodation boasting wonderful sea views. Spend your days on the beach before taking in the sunset on the restaurant's balcony whilst enjoying dinner.
  • Maison Talbooth, boasting chic interiors in a peaceful setting, is a wonderfully relaxing retreat. Spend your days in the spa, relax with a book outside by the pool (on good days!) and enjoy a casual game of tennis on their courts.

For a holiday cottage or an apartment

  • If you think a self-catering option in Essex would best suit your needs then check out the wide variety available at our online partner, booking.com

Travel Information

  • It's best to visit Essex over the summer months, with the average daily temperature reaching around 16°C. So it's hardly balmy, but on the warmer days you'll love exploring the countryside or heading down to the beach!
  • The best airport for interantional visitors is Stansted Airport. Alternatively, most towns are served by their own train station which is probably the best way to visit (unless you're travelling by car).
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.

Still not sure what to book?

Best Hotels in Essex

  • Linden House 9 rooms from $117


    A small luxury hotel offering easy access to Stansted Airport. Smart rooms feature sink-in-to beds (the best are four-posters), free standing copper baths and crisp white linen. A cosy bar and contemporary British restaurant are a welcome respite. A very comfortable option for a stop over.

    Short fly break  -  Ideally located for a stop over on the way to or from Stansted Airport.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore the Jacobean mansion house Audley End House and Gardens.
    Great walks  -  Take long walks through the scenic Hatfield Forest.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Check prices
  • The Mistley Thorn 7 rooms from $117

    Mistley, Essex

    Popular restaurant with rooms on the Stour Estuary with great food and good local walking. The Mistily Thorn has simple rooms but offers good value, especially with dinner.

    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Views  -  Some rooms have views of the River Stour
    Birdwatching  -  Bird sanctuary nearby
    Great walks  -  Lovely estuary walks
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • The Sun Inn 7 rooms from $137


    Charming old coaching inn in Constable's village of Dedham, opposite the church he used to paint. Just seven rooms, beautifully appointed, some with four posters.

    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • Milsoms 15 rooms from $163

    Colchester, Essex

    Where the River Stour meanders through Constable country in beautiful Dedham Vale, eat, drink and stay, at this boutique Hotel with a vibrant bar and lively brasserie serving excellent food. Close by is sister hotel Maison Talbooth with spa, swimming pool and tennis court

    Exclusive offer  -  Munnings Collection Package
    Sights nearby  -  Flatford Mill and Munnings Museum close by
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Check prices
  • The Pier at Harwich 14 rooms from $163

    Harwich, Essex

    A charming waterfront hotel overlooking the quayside at old Harwich. Contemporary rooms also capture the views over the harbour. The fish restaurant in a converted pub in the harbour is lively and popular with the locals. A great stay on the Essex coast.

    Exclusive offer  -  Stay and Sail break
    Foodies  -  Wonderful fresh seafood meets a creative chef, simply divine! Not to mention the a gin library and Prosseco cocktails!
    Total relaxation  -  Sit in the suite's bay window, or indeed the restaurants balcony, and watch the sunset on the sea- heaven!
    Sights nearby  -  Just around the corner is the Electric Palace Cinema, the second oldest cinema in England- well worth a visit.
    Views  -  Great views over the busy harbour and the Stour and Orwell estuaries.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • Maison Talbooth 12 rooms from $287

    Colchester, Essex

    Quirky Essex hotel and spa in the heart of Constable country, with a pool and tennis, and spa facilities. Popular for hen parties and exclusive use.

    Exclusive offer  -  Gourmet Getaway
    Swimming Pool  -  Lovely Outdoor Pool
    Birdwatching  -  Good birding near the hotel.
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Michelin Travel
    Check prices