For oyster lovers as well as nature enthusiasts, the only way to go is Essex! Mersea Island is the most easterly inhabited island in the UK. It is in Essex county, only 65 miles away from London, so perfect for a city break even just for 1 day.
I would suggest to go during the week, if you can. There are no tourists then and the place has some sort of mysterious feel. Beaches are empty, only few locals walking their dogs by the sea, and if you are into dog Lomography, they will be happy to make their dogs to do some tricks for you. We also met a few youngsters smoking cigarettes and sharing secrets, and in general, the place reminded me of my childhood, when the grass was greener and kids could run everywhere freely all day long, without parents worrying about the hazards of the 21st Century.
There are lines of colorful beach sheds all along the cost. Most of them have some funny names and little art works above the doors by which you can guess who is the owner.
The island is joined to the mainland by a causeway, known as the Strood. During the spring tide the road to the island is almost impossible to use. So, don’t forget to check the tide schedule before you go! Although we didn’t.
There are only a few thousand people living there, so it is a perfect getaway if you are into wandering around and tranquility. Personally, I hate the types of Brighton, so I really enjoyed this nothing-going-on place. Although there is a Regatta happening in August if you like boats.
Not to miss:
The Company Shed
The best oyster family run eatery (not restaurant!). There 2 types of oysters: Native (available only in the months with R letter in its name, which means from September to April) and Rock. Prices are different if you want them to be open for you, or you open yourself. I would suggest to leave it to professionals, as oysters are extremely difficult to open without special knifes (tried it). Don’t forget to spice it up with Tabasco and Lemon. There are lobsters and other sea food as well. You can dine in or enjoy your food outside. Although I found it disturbing to watch poor seagulls swelling plastic bags of ketchup and mayonnaise. It was sad to think about their stomachs.
129 Coast Road, West Mersea, Essex. Tel 01206 382700