Essex has far more to offer than meets the eye. It's full of beautiful locations and is so close to London. Here are 3 stunning places you cannot miss!

3 unmissable spots to visit in and around Essex

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Essex is my home. My parents have lived here since they married and we have been in the same house ever since. As I have been travelling a bit less lately, I have come to realise how damn beautiful this county is.

I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to notice this. I think I have spent so much of my time, especially since backpacking, dreaming of being the other side of the world again, that I’ve failed to see what’s on my doorstep. Something that I think a lot of us are guilty of!

Essex really does have some beautiful places to visit. The kind of places that are the ultimate place to chill out at, explore, spot wildlife play games – the lot. The kind of places, that for me, are perfect on a sunny Spring day! So recently, I’ve given myself a kick up the rear end and got out and about to see some stunning places in my local area. About time, right?

So why should you visit Essex? I imagine a lot of people who come to the UK from abroad, and a lot of people who live in other parts of the UK mostly come to East Anglia to visit London. And that’s great! London has so much to do, you’d be crazy to miss it! But Essex is the perfect escape from the craziness, and a great chance to see the Great British Countryside at it’s best. With it being well under an hour away, it’s the perfect day trip!

So here are 3 stunning places in and around Essex to get you inspired!


Hylands House – Chelmsford

This stunning manor house sits on 574 acres of stunning parkland. So despite there being nearly 2 million people who visit each year, you’re never going to be too pushed for space. There are beautiful gardens to wander around, a lake and masses of open space. It’s the perfect place to take a picnic, or if you’re not that organised (like myself) then there’s a cafe to get some tasty food from.


Hatfield Forest – Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire

Set just across the boarder into the county of Hertfordshire, this forest was actually once an ancient Royal hunting forest- pretty cool huh? As you walk through here you really do get a sense of how old it is. The trees are huge and have naturally created sculptures, the lake is vast and is teaming with wildlife. There are tonnes of routes to walk around here so make sure you pick up a map when you arrive. I love spending time here and am always thankful that we have the National Trust to preserve and maintain it!


Dedham Vale and Flatford Mill

I am truly gutted that I’ve only just made it to this little gem. It’s the epitome of a quaint British village and sits surrounded by the river Stour and beautiful countryside. It is the heart of Constable Country – John Constable was a famous artist who favoured painting scenes of Dedham, and even though his artwork isn’t for me, it’s pretty amazing to see the places for real. From Dedham, you can either hire a row but (so cute!) and row down the river Stour, or you can walk alongside it and follow it to Flatford Mill. It’s a stunning way to spend a day!

To find out more about these little gems and to see what else Essex has to offer, head over to the Visit Essex website here.


Essex in the UK is a stunning county. Find out some of its best spots here.


  • kylieuk

    I come from Essex too but now live in America! I lived in Braintree for 26 years! I’ve been to both Hylands Park and Hatfield Forest…maybe I should check out Flatford Mill when I visit in March!

  • Christina from Happy to Wander

    Oh my gosh these places look SO lovely and quaint. I’m actually planning two weeks in England at the end of this month and was looking for inspo so this is perfect! Not sure if I have time to squeeze Essex in this time around but I feel like these spots kinda epitomize that classic English charm I love haha. Gorgeous photos!

    • lsell1991

      Ah lush! Where are you going to visit one England? If you do come to Essex drop me a message and if can give you some more tips!

  • thefabulousscript

    Same happened to me! Seven years ago I moved out home with my mindset thinking home is “boring”, “theres nothing to do there” etc, but last year I moved back home for two months and couldn’t stop thinking how idiot I was for not being more appreciate of the beautiful things my city has to offer. Of course, I was a different person seven years ago. But this is the perfect reminder to always be grateful for the beauty that surrounds us!

    I really liked your post and looks like a beautiful place to sit by the lake and enjoy a good book! 🙂
    – Mariella

    • lsell1991

      That’s the point I’ve got too as well. There’s always something nearby, you just have to find it!

  • Hannah

    Funny how we don’t always appreciate where we come from isn’t it? Like you, I’m just starting to appreciate my hometown. Essex looks gorgeous though, I love all the nature and those cherry blossoms at Hylands House are perfection!

  • Rebecca Brianne

    Ugh, it’s beauuutiful! The Hylands House is absolutely stunning and they all look like gorgeous spots to have a picnic! Maybe even a wedding! Lovely post, Laura.


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