The Only Way is Essex....or is it?

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We normally go away for a long weekend in December, to somewhere like Bath or Peak District where there are good Xmas markets. These are all off of the agenda this year. This year we want to do a long weekend a bit nearer to home (we are just in Surrey). I do not know anything about Essex, other than the stereotypical portrayal of Essex Man and Girls. Plus Gemma Collins. I heard someone say on tv this week that Essex has some great villages outside the big towns and villages which has piqued my interest. Is there anywhere nice to visit for a long weekend, rural, coast or semi rural rather than big town?
 
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I used to live in Essex.
Saffron Walton is quite nice. Its a market town. It has a ruined castle there. Thaxted is also quite quaint. It has some Tudor gardens there.
To be honest, we used to nip down to Rye to get away from Essex.

Walton on the Naze and Frinton are quiet. Frinton has art deco houses. Clacton is a faded seaside town .
 
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I'm on borders of Essex and yes, it does have some very pretty villages off the beaten track and rolling countryside. Personally, in the winter months though it gives me the pip as it seems to be muddy and grey without any stunning views or seaside towns (we like Frinton but only on a sunny summer's day). Have you thought about Dorset? We like it all year round and the Jurassic coast is fairly spectacular in any weather. Corfe Castle, Isle of Purbeck (Studland and ferry across to Sandbanks), Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge and then Dorchester, Poole or Bournemouth if you fancy civilisation. We stay at the quirky Knoll House Hotel and come back totally recharged.
 
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We have only done Colchester which was nice enough. Have driven through other parts but tbh I wouldn't go back. I'd either go a little further upto Suffolk or stay closer to home in a nice hotel - Sussex/Kent/Surrey. We are Kent based.
 
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I'm on borders of Essex and yes, it does have some very pretty villages off the beaten track and rolling countryside. Personally, in the winter months though it gives me the pip as it seems to be muddy and grey without any stunning views or seaside towns (we like Frinton but only on a sunny summer's day). Have you thought about Dorset? We like it all year round and the Jurassic coast is fairly spectacular in any weather. Corfe Castle, Isle of Purbeck (Studland and ferry across to Sandbanks), Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge and then Dorchester, Poole or Bournemouth if you fancy civilisation. We stay at the quirky Knoll House Hotel and come back totally recharged.
I love that area we went camping 3 years in a row near kimmeridge bay. It is a stunning part of England. I was so amazed that the water is soooo clear you can see your feet. The sea in the north of France is quick murky and so it is in Worthing. The beaches are stunning, studland bay is great ❤️
 
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How about venturing a bit further into East Anglia and looking at Bury St Edmunds or Norwich, maybe? Or St Albans in Hertfordshire.
 
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I love that area we went camping 3 years in a row near kimmeridge bay. It is a stunning part of England. I was so amazed that the water is soooo clear you can see your feet. The sea in the north of France is quick murky and so it is in Worthing. The beaches are stunning, studland bay is great ❤️
I've just returned from a short break at Knoll House in Studland so I am biased!
 
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