29 Jul Insider’s Guide to Essex
Think you know Essex? Ambassadors for Visit Essex’s #ThisisEssex campaign have revealed their favourite places to go in the county. Essex is well-known for its seaside resorts, beachside huts, top nightclubs and celebrity haunts, but where do the famous faces of Essex really go?
Comedian Ellie Taylor was brought up in Brentwood, Essex and although she now resides in the capital, one of her favourite places to visit is the country parks near her hometown. She says: “I love the country parks near Brentwood, Thorndon and Wealden, which are beautiful and gorgeous to have a walk around.” Both parks include historic woodland and open spaces; Thorndon is also home to the Gruffalo trail in the deep dark wood, so watch out for mouse, fox, snake and owl!
Best-selling novelist, Martina Cole, also grew up in Essex and has spent most of her life living alongside the Thames estuary. Famed for her crime novels, she also has a love of history and the area she calls home. She says: “I lived in Benfleet for a long time, I’m a Benfleet girl, I always loved the castle there and I always loved the history, there’s so much history in Essex, especially Colchester and its castle.” Essex is steeped in history; Colchester was the first Roman city, and an invasion was once mounted on its shores back in 991 AD when an army of Vikings tried to take on the local Earl Byrhtnoth at the Battle of Maldon.
We’ve all watched Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s ‘Friday Night Feast’ from Southend pier, and the seaside resort is also a much-loved place to go for Michelin star chef, Chris Galvin, co-founder of the Galvin Brothers. Chris co-owns The Green Man in Great Waltham, with his brother Jeff. He says: “Southend-on-Sea has to be my favourite place, we come from a big family, and we used to take a big convoy from Romford. We’d take a big pitch on the beach and always take sandwiches, my nan would cook for 20 of us and we’d spend the day there until it was almost dark, it still holds a lot of special memories for me.”
Women’s UK rally driving ace, Nabila Tejpar, spends much of her life in the fast lane, heading off to races around the world from her Essex base. She loves to head over to the historic market town of Maldon for a day out: “One of my favourite places to visit is Maldon, there’s a beautiful promenade, which is lovely in the summer and there’s also some amazing coffee shops like Mrs Salisbury’s – you’ve got to try the afternoon tea if you go there!”, says Nabila.
To discover more about the best places to go and things to do in Essex, www.visitessex.com.