Essex is situated in East Anglia, close to England's capital city, London. Whatever your interest, there is lots of choice in Essex with archaeology, history, coastline with seaside resorts, delightful countryside for walking, cycling and horse riding, nine country parks, busy towns and pretty villages to explore.
Chelmsford, the County town of Essex, is one of the County's best shopping centres and an ideal base for exploring the County.
Chelmsford is famous as the home of Essex County Cricket Club and as the town where the Marconi Company set up the first radio company in the world, in the late1890's. You can learn about the town's history at Chelmsford Museum in Oaklands Park.
Colchester is the oldest town in Britain, with documented evidence of a settlement here as early as the fifth century BC. Colchester is traditionally known for its cloth weaving, flower growing and oysters.
You can visit the Norman castle and museum, and also the Dutch Quarter where Flemish refugees settled in the sixteenth century.
Nearby is beautiful Dedham Vale and Constable Country in the north east; and the yachting and wildlife havens of Mersea Island and the Colne
On the 'sunshine coast' you'll find the towns of Clacton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze, and Harwich.
Clacton-on-Sea is popular with families, with miles of golden sandy beaches and the fun packed pier.
Walton-on-the-Naze has a good beach and the second longest pier in Britain, with one of the world's oldest amusement parks. Inland the Naze Tower dominates the area, which is rich in flora and fauna.
Frinton-on-Sea is tranquil and unspoiled, with golden beaches and tree lined avenues. The town has many interesting shops and the church of St. Mary has fine panels of stained glass by William Morris and Burne Jones.
In Harwich you can discover sixteen sites of historic interest by following the 'Harwich Maritime Trail'. The interesting towns of Manningtree and Mistley, which lie at the gateway to Constable Country, are also worth visiting.
Maldon is famous for the production of Maldon salt. In Maldon you can visit The Hythe, where the Thames sailing barges are moored, and explore the steep winding streets with intriguing inns and shops.
Southend-on-Sea is the largest town in Essex, a vibrant resort with seven miles of sparkling seafront, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Don't miss Southend Pier - which is the world's longest pier. At nearby Leigh on Sea you can watch the local fishermen bring in the days catch.
In South Essex, Brentwood is a busy town with good shopping and leisure facilities. The town is surrounded by open countryside, which is part of the Metropolitan Green Belt, and the centre of town is only a short walk from pleasant woods and commons.
Essex Tourist Information is available at Waltham Abbey, where you can also visit the 16th Century timber framed buildings of the Epping Forest District Museum and Royal Gunpowder Mills steam-powered mill. The town is a gateway into the Lee Valley Country Park, with plenty of countryside and leisure activities.
Saffron Walden, once famous for its cultivation of saffron crocuses, is a delightful town in the north west of the County. Saffron Walden's beautiful church is the largest in Essex, dating from the prosperous years of the saffron industry in the late 15th century. The many timber framed buildings with fine plasterwork, and the intriguing alleyways around the market place contribute to the town's charm. There is a tourist information centre in Market Place.
Braintree is a bustling market town, good for shopping, restaurants, arts and entertainment. The surrounding rolling countryside offers good walking, cycling and golf.