Essex is a county associated with many different images – the actresses Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery (of Downton Abbey fame) were born there, as were comedians Russell Brand and the late Rik Mayall, the singer Jessie J and model David Gandy. And let’s not forget it’s the place that gave us TOWIE, of course, for our celebrity-obsessed culture. So is there more to Essex than celebrities? Did you know there are also some great tourist attractions in the county such as English Heritages’s Audley End House & Gardens, the magnificent Tudor building Layer Marney Tower and the almost fully complete Norman castle at Colchester (shown in the image by M. Barker).
It also has some beautiful rolling countryside complete with windmills, country cottages, rivers (and riverside pus) and meadering streams. It also, of course, has it’s 350 mile coastline that includes the well known towns of Southend-on-Sea and Clacton-on-Sea. Away from these busy seaside towns there are bracing cliff-top walks, sheltered coves if you want to avoid the wind and miles of beaches. Maybe surprisingly it also has a thriving oyster fishing industry of the prized Colchester Native oyster and on the back of that some renowned seafood restaurants.
So there really is more to Essex than you might at first think if you have never been there and people from Essex are rightly proud of their corner of England.
Image of Colchester Castle by M. Barker (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common