WHETHER you have recently moved to the area or are Essex born and bred, you’ll be aware of the county’s charm.

You will also be aware there is hardly a lack of things to do here, with areas of natural beauty, sites rich in history and the most delicious places to grab a bite to eat.

There are many places to visit to fill your days, but here are some of the top spots you should visit in Essex at least once.

Colchester’s Roman ruins

Colchester is rich in Roman artefacts including the foundations of a Roman theatre found 40 years ago in Maidenburgh Street.

A section of the theatre has been made visible for people to view through windows, while the only Roman Circus in Britain was also uncovered near Abbey Fields in 2004.

The Berryfield Mosaic, which dates back to AD150, was also relaid inside the Firstsite gallery.

Colchester is also guarded by ancient Roman walls which can be found scattered across the town.

Southend Pier

Thurrock Gazette:

The pier is a major landmark in the soon to be city of Southend.

It extends 1.33 miles into the Thames Estuary and is famous for being the longest pleasure pier in the world.

During your visit, be sure to take a trip on the Southend Pier Railway which runs the entire length of the impressive attraction.

House for Essex, Wrabness

The idea behind this gingerbread style house is that is is a shrine to an everyday Essex woman called Julie Cope, built by her imaginary husband as Essex’s own answer to the Taj Mahal.

Situated just outside Wrabness, it was actually conceived by the county’s most famous living artist, Grayson Perry, along with architect, Charles Holland, as part of a project for Living Architecture, which was set up to change public perceptions of modern architecture.

Take a walk along the Essex Way and stumble across its artistic beauty, before grabbing an ice cream in Historic Harwich just up the road.

Hadleigh Castle

Just outside of Benfleet lies the romantic ruins of this royal castle overlooking the Essex marshes.

In 1215 King John gave this area of land, known as the manor of Hadleigh, along with many other gifts, to Hubert de Burgh, his chief minister or justiciar.

But Edward III was the first king to see the strategic importance of Hadleigh Castle – it was ideally situated as a base for defending the Thames estuary against French raids during the Hundred Years War.

Lee Valley White Water Centre

Families can make a splash with the opportunity to take on white water rafting on the Olympic course, or by paddling on the lake.

A range of activities are available at the prestious London 2012 venue which guarantees an unforgettable day out.

Manningtree’s history of witchcraft

While small in size, Manningtree possesses a dark history rich with tales of witch hunts which took place in the town.

More than 300 women are believed to have been executed for witchcraft between 1644 and 1646, many at the hands of Mistley’s infamous self-proclaimed witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins.

Head to the town to discover more and delve into the disturbing history of the witch hunts.

Tollesbury marshes

Thurrock Gazette:

The beauty spot just outside Tiptree has become somewhat of a filming hotspot with cameras descending on the marshes.

The Essex Serpent, a Victorian drama in production for Apple TV+, has been shot on location with the likes of Tom Hiddleston in Tollesbury marshes.

Hit ITV drama Liar was also filmed in 2019 at the site.