We Londoners like to poke fun out of our Essex cousins. Many of us associate the town with the plastic characters of TOWIE, lots of bling, vajazzles (ooh er) and the overly tanned, overly gymmed Mark Wrights of the world.
But aside from cheeky chappies like Olly Murs and celeb chef Jamie Oliver who rose to stardom as a pastry chef from Clavering, Essex has a lot going for it as a tourist attraction.
As a journalist, all sorts of travel-related emails pop into my inbox each day. Many, sadly, are dropped into the trash, but others, like this photo of ‘Olly Murs’ and ‘Jamie Oliver’ in a bathtub on Southbank, manage to catch my eye.
This rather bizarre sight in Gabriel’s Wharf, wasn’t just some random people trying to catch a smile from passersby. It was actually set up by Visit Essex in a bid to encourage Londoners to visit the 350 miles of Essex coastline.
To mark the start of the 2013 Discovery Coast Campaign, Visit Essex have highlighted some of the things Londoners don’t know about the Essex coastline.
So here, I present to you, 10 Reasons to Visit the Essex Coastline
1. The Essex coastline is 350 miles long – longer than any other county in England
2. Eight beaches along the Discovery Coast have Blue Flag Status (awarded for water quality, life saving & disabled facilities) – walk along the beach anyone?
3. Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world at 1.33 miles long – get your candy floss and cuddly toys here
4. Southend Pier is also widely regarded as one of the driest places in the country – We’re sold already.
5. Maldon is the home to the annual Maldon Mud Race – Get planning for May 2014. You might spot a man in a bikini and a few strange faces.
6. Historic Harwich boasts the Electric Palace, one of the oldest purpose built cinemas in the UK, and the home of Christopher Jones, the Master of the Mayflower
7. Calling owl lovers out there. Osea Island is one of the few places in England where all five species of English owl can be seen
8. On Wallasea Island, the RSPB are working on creating the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project transforming this wetland as part of the largest conservation project in Europe
9. Calling all foodies (this is Oh So London’s favourite): The Essex Discovery Coast is a real treat for Colchester Oysters, Leigh Cockles, Maldon Sea Salt and Mersea Mud beer which are all native to the county
And here’s the logistics bit: You can get to Essex from many areas of London within the hour. Many main-line train services leave from Liverpool Street and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford. Drivers can also gain access via the M25, M11 and A12.
And don’t forget, you can hop on the Central line to Epping. Easy.
So come on Londoners, get out this city and explore Essex this weekend!
Until next time x
Follow them @VisitEssex