Top things to do

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…
Top Choice Seafood in Colchester

Company Shed

Bring your own bread and wine to this seaside shack to tuck into mussels, oysters, prawns, lobster, jellied eels, smoked fish or their signature seafood platter. It's all courtesy of the Howard family, eighth-genera…
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 Seafood in Southend-On-Sea

Simply Seafood

Tucked away under the flyover just west of Old Leigh, this light, bright little eatery lets locally sourced seafood shine. The oysters are from Essex, the crab is from Cromer and the fish is from the boats just outs…
Historic Building in Dedham Vale

Flatford

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. Between April and October daily…
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…
Arts Centre in Colchester

firstsite

Colchester's shiny, curved, glass-and-copper arts centre is as striking inside as out: installations flow seamlessly into one another amid a wealth of space and light. Temporary art displays are cunningly juxtaposed…
Pub Food in Saffron Walden

Eight Bells

You'll find a warm mix of medieval character and contemporary style in this 16th-century gastropub. Local lamb, venison and game is teamed with southern European flavours, so expect antipasti and mezze boards as wel…
Seafood in Southend-On-Sea

Osborne Bros

Part fish stall, part bare-bones cafe, Osbourne's is set right on Old Leigh's waterfront. It serves up expansive Thames Estuary views, best observed while tucking into crab, jellied eels or a seafood platter (cockle…
Modern British in Colchester

Green Room

Local and seasonal comfort-food classics are given a contemporary twist at this smart, friendly restaurant, where dishes range from fish and chips or slow-roast belly pork, to a creamy crab, rocket and Parmesan riso…