The Essex Riviera
Walton-on-the-Naze is a family seaside resort with sandy beaches, seafront gardens and quaint narrow streets. A relaxed seaside experience with friendly people and a huge sandy beach, perfect for a leisurely stroll and children having a great time digging holes and building sandcastles. The promenade stretches for miles, perfect for walking or cycling and dogs are allowed on the beach so the whole family can enjoy the seaside.
The pier is the second longest in England and has fairground rides, ten pin bowling, arcades, seaside rock and Fish and Chips so whatever the weather there is always something to do at Walton!
Just to the north is The Naze, an unspoilt headland of heath, saltmarshes and sandy beaches - its 70 feet high cliffs are being eroded away. It is also the site of the 86 foot Octagonal Naze Tower which is currently used as a gallery which spreads across six floors and houses three exhibitions each year. Other features include a museum which details the history of the Naze Tower and tea rooms where you can stop and enjoy refreshments between different exhibitions. The Naze is also famous for its fossils found in the Red Crag cliffs, so you can truly immerse yourself in the history and culture of the local area.
Walton is 1.5 hours from London Liverpool Street and the station is a very short walk from the Beach Huts. By car it is 30 minute drive from Colchester.
There’s a distinct sense of adventure about a trip to Mersea Island. Approached by a causeway from the mainland, cut off at high spring tide, and just eight miles square, it’s a place with two quite different faces. Most visitors head straight for West Mersea, firmly oyster territory and the island’s undisputed capital, with its shops, guesthouses and restaurants. It’s like stepping back in time where pleasures are simple: relaxing on the beach, crabbing from the jetties, watching the activity at the boat-repair yards, taking in the dramatic, wide skies and estuary views, and, of course, feasting on fresh native oysters.
Sailing is a huge part of island life and the waters here are brimming with boats of every shape and size as well as the colourful sails of windsurfers and kitesurfers. With its calm, shallow waters, it’s a great place to try out a watersport at first hand or come along for the annual Town Regatta (August), which has been running for over 170 years. Aside from the sailing classes, the regatta includes a number of novelty races as well as a ‘Walk the Greasy Pole’ competition, and is great fun for families. In sharp contrast, diminutive East Mersea, with its church, pub and village store, is not much more than a hamlet. It is however the gateway to many of the island’s campsites not to mention Cudmore Grove Country Park. Here you can blow away the cobwebs with a walk along the seawall, while keeping an eye out for species of migrating birds, or enjoy a ball game or picnic on the grassland overlooking the sea. The park also has a small beach or you can take in the watery views by hopping on the little foot ferry that wends its way to Brightlingsea and Point Clear.