There’s at all times one thing dramatic about crossing a causeway to succeed in an island, hoping the tide received’t instantly rush in and wash you away. That is the one entry by automotive, and there are occasions when it’s utterly lined by the ocean.
Mersea is the UK’s most easterly inhabited island, 5 miles lengthy and two miles extensive. There are not any motels right here, only a few rooms and caravans, a number of them.
We’ve been right here many instances however at all times camped. Now we’ve upgraded to a caravan, luxurious grade, in East Mersea, courtesy of Away Resorts.
It comes with a totally fitted kitchen, two bedrooms, one en-suite, a toilet and huge lounge. Add central heating, a few TV’s, free Wi-Fi and a veranda for these early night drinks and we’ve every part we wanted. We are able to’t see the ocean, however the seaside is barely 5 minutes away and there’s even a heated swimming pool.
The Cudmore Nation Park is true subsequent to the caravan web site, preferrred for letting canines run wild and even youngsters. The seashores should not nice on Mersea – at low tide, they reveal a protracted stretch of mud with a lot of the sand disappearing at excessive tide. Nonetheless, the water within the Blackwater estuary is hotter than the ocean and should you get your time proper, it’s glorious for swimming.
Water sports activities are huge right here as the ocean’s normally calm – select between paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking or Jet Skis. There’s even a six-acre inland lake the place you may be taught to sail.
Our a part of the island is the quieter finish. On the opposite facet, West Mersea has pubs, retailers, cafes, even a jetty the place fishing and crusing boats are moored.
Right here you’ll discover sandy seashores lined with rows of pastel-coloured bathing huts and bathers sheltering behind windbreaks.
The large attraction right here is the meals, specifically seafood. Mersea oysters are a few of the greatest we’ve ever tasted and the crab’s not unhealthy both. Usually, you may pattern these seafood delights on the Firm Shed, a easy shack by the ocean, the place you carry your individual bread and wine and sit at communal tables. Sadly, Covid restrictions imply it’s closed so we order considered one of their magnificent seafood platters and take it again to our caravan.
And we additionally uncover Mersea’s very personal winery, hidden away within the centre of the island. Their crisp white wines, made out of German grapes, go effectively with oysters they usually additionally make their very own gin and beer. You possibly can eat right here they usually even have a handful of rooms.
A tiny foot ferry, taking simply twelve folks, is the one different method of getting off the island.
Fancying a day’s tour, we cross the River Colne to Brightlingsea on the opposite facet.
This was as soon as a busy fishing port with in depth oyster beds however that’s all lengthy gone.
The harbour has reinvented itself as a yachting marina and there’s been a lot growth. We don’t linger, nevertheless, however go on an hour’s boat journey upriver to Wivenhoe
For hundreds of years, this was Colchester’s port and had a thriving shipbuilding trade, even turning out two dozen minesweepers throughout WW2. The previous quay is lined with engaging wood homes and the slender lanes behind are residence to arty retailers and quaint pubs. Our boat journey contains lunch within the Black Buoy, one of many oldest, courting from 1712, and seemingly a gathering place for smugglers and pirates.
Again on Mersea, we spend a few days exploring the island on foot. It’s attainable to do an entire circuit in a single lengthy day however higher to discover in sections, stopping off on the handful of pubs, even taking a dip. Each night time we return to our caravan and it’s a significant step up from the essential fashions I used to be taken as a toddler. As of late, they’re extra like luxurious flats with nice entry to the outside. After my expertise this time round, I may turn out to be a convert.
STAY: 4 nights in a luxurious caravan at Away Resorts on Mersea Island prices £768
GET THERE: Larger Anglia has frequent practice providers to Colchester. Then it’s a forty-minute bus journey to Mersea.
INFO: Go to Essex has details about the county.
EXPLORE: A return river cruise from Brightlingsea to Wivenhoe, together with lunch on the Black Buoy, prices £26.