Top Choice Castle in Colchester

Colchester Castle

Built in 1076 on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius, England’s largest surviving Norman keep is bigger than that of the Tower of London. Over the centuries it’s been a royal residence, a prison and home…
Top Choice Historic Building in Saffron Walden

Audley End House & Gardens

Positively palatial in its scale, style and the all-too-apparent ambition of its creator, the first earl of Suffolk, the fabulous early-Jacobean Audley End House eventually did become a royal palace when it was boug…
Landmark in Southend-On-Sea

Southend Pier

Welcome to the world's longest pier – a staggering 1.341 miles long, to be precise – built in 1830 and a magnet for boat crashes, storms and fires, the last of which ravaged its tip in 2005. Today, a peaceful if win…
Museum in Colchester

Hollytrees Museum

It's like walking into a period drama: a Georgian town house dating from 1718, filled with toys and costumes, watches and clocks. Reminders of the domestic life of the wealthy owners and their servants are everywher…
Arts Centre in Colchester


Colchester's shiny, curved, glass-and-copper arts centre brings the town bang up to date. It’s as striking inside as out: installations flow seamlessly into one another amid a wealth of space and light. Temporary vi…
Historic Building in Dedham Vale


Set right beside Flatford Mill – a feature of several Constable paintings – thatched Bridge Cottage has an exhibition that provides a fine introduction to the artist's life and works. Daily guided tours (£3, noon an…
Church in Saffron Walden

St Mary the Virgin

St Mary's oldest parts date back to 1250. A symbol of the town's saffron-inspired golden age, it is one of the largest churches in the county and features some impressive Gothic arches and local landowner Lord Audle…
Gardens in Saffron Walden

Bridge End Gardens

Careful restoration of these seven interlinked gardens has brought them back to their former Victorian glory. Try to visit when the maze and produce-packed kitchen garden are open too.
Museum in Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden Museum

In the excellent museum, itself dating from 1835, you'll find an eclectic collection of artefacts covering everything from local history and 18th- and 19th-century costumes to geology, a partially interactive natura…
Museum in Southend-On-Sea

Pier Museum

Southend's seaside heyday springs to life in this charming museum, where a Victorian toast-rack tram from the pier sits beside a functioning signal box, sepia photos and period costumes. The best bits though are the…