At the beginning of June, we went away for a week to Essex. Yes, Essex.
Now, I don’t actually watch TOWIE, but I have been made all too aware of its influence: the perma-tans, the eyelashes and everything else. My impression of Essex was based on TOWIE.
So when my cousin announced that he was getting married in Essex, and my parents invited us on a pre-wedding holiday, I didn’t really know what to expect. What we got was not what I expected.
I should caveat this by saying that we managed to go on holiday in Britain during the best week of the summer so far: blue skies and bright sunshine every day, soaring temperatures and balmy evenings certainly didn’t tie in with our previous experiences of Staycations. In addition, the location chosen by my parents was beautifully rural: close to Maldon, where the sea salt comes from; and Tiptree, where the jam is made.
We stayed in a lovely converted barn which was perfect for the 7 of us (my parents, sister and brother in law and us) and one dog. The living area was all open plan, so Ben had a lovely time crawling as far as he could. The area surrounding the barn was all open fields, so the dog had miles and miles of country walks. Everything was of a really high specification.
Highlights of our holiday included:
The Layer Marney show, with Dog Show (mum’s dog won Judge’s Favourite):
The tigers at Colchester Zoo (which is an amazing zoo – I even fed a giraffe):
Strolling in Promenade Park in Maldon:
Visiting the Beth Chatto gardens, which were just breathtaking:
These are actually the most beautiful gardens I have ever been to. Everything just works together: the colours, the textures, the environment. There are water plants by the water, drought-loving plants in the gravel garden, and these beautiful beds which were somehow not intimidating in the slightest. I loved the softness of the plants; the way everything seems to complement each other, and nothing jars your eyes. It was such a peaceful place.
Lunch at The Company Shed on Mersea Island:
The Company Shed was an interesting experience. It has received rave reviews across the media for it’s incredible seafood, and was hailed as a real treat. The restaurant itself is little more than a shed: the decor is basic to say the least. You take your own bread and drinks with you, and the menu is just about the seafood.
But the seafood was the best and freshest I had ever tasted. We had the platters, and there was no way we could have finished them. The prawns were incredibly sweet, the crab delicious and the langoustines were beautiful. Even my seafood-skeptical sister enjoyed it.
It was a really lovely holiday, and we came home really relaxed and refreshed, which is what you need a good holiday to do. I can also highly recommend holidaying with family when you have a 10 month old baby in tow! Essex certainly surpassed all expectations.