County Town: Chelmsford
Population: 1,294,60
Area: 3672 sq km 1418 sq miles
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Between London and the sea lies the ancient Saxon county of Essex . Traces of medieval times can be found in delightful small towns such as Saffron Walden , Coggeshall and Thaxted . Medieval industries, including weaving and saffron growing, created great wealth and financed many beautiful houses and fine churches. Close to the European mainland, Essex has been shaped by varied cultures and played a part in major historical events. The Romans made Colchester their capital while the Normans left their mark with castles at Colchester, Castle Hedingham and Stansted . All of these remain and are open for today's visitor. Within the last hundred years Chelmsford became the birthplace of a technological revolution when Marconi established the world's first radio factory.

With its long coastline, the longest of any English county, Essex boasts a real maritime flavour. The seaside resorts along the Essex Discovery Coast are perhaps best known. Southend , Clacton and Walton offer all the fun of the seaside and more besides. Southend has established a reputation for an exciting calendar of events throughout the year while in Clacton and the other 'Sunshine Coast Resorts', the emphasis is on traditional family entertainment. Both Clacton and Southend are famous for their parks and gardens and offer stunning displays in the summer.

Less well known is the quieter side of the coast where ports such as Harwich and Maldon have enormous character and historical interest. Coastal towns like Burnham-on-Crouch and Brightlingsea come alive with yachts during the boating season. Away from the towns, much of the coast is remote and undisturbed and of great importance for nature conservation.

Inland, ancient woodlands such as Epping and Hatfield Forests add interest to a landscape characterised by thatched cottages, timber-framed farmhouses and the unmistakable outline of windmills. There are some lovely country houses with beautiful gardens. Audley End House , Ingatestone Hall and Layer Marney Tower are amongst the finest and open regularly to the public. Essex remains a rural county with much of its land still in agricultural production. The rolling countryside is typified by golden wheatfields. Rural events and traditions are kept alive and offer the visitor an interesting day out. Market towns make pleasant places to browse or shop for local crafts and gifts.

Useful Contacts

National Enquiries:
+44 (0) 8457 48 49 50
Great Anglia
0845 6007245
0845 601 4873
0871 2002233
Stansted Airport
+44 (0) 870 000 0303
1,294,600 (1998)

Tourist Information Numbers

Waltham Abbey
Address: 2 Highbridge Street
M25 West Thurrock
Waltham Abbey
Telephone Number: +44 (0)1992 652 295
East of England Tourism 0871 716 2536 – Calls cost less than 10p per minute
Email Address:
Web Site:

Address: Town Hall
Station Road
Telephone Number: +44 (0)1255 686633
Fax Number: +44 (0)1255 686412
Email Address:
Web Site:

Address: 1 Queen Street
Telephone Number: +44 (0)1206 282 920
East of England Tourism 0871 716 2536 – Calls cost less than 10p per minute
Fax Number: +44 (0)1206 282 924
Email Address:
Web Site:

Address: Wenlock Way
High Street
Telephone Number: +44 (0)1621 856 503
East of England Tourism 0871 716 2536 – Calls cost less than 10p per minute
Fax Number: +44 (0)1621 875 873
Email Address:
Web Site:

Saffron Walden
Address: 1 Market Place
Market Square
Saffron Walden
Telephone Number: +44 (0)1799 524002
East of England Tourism 0871 716 2536 – Calls cost less than 10p per minute
Fax Number: +44 (0)1799 524003
Email Address:

Address: Southend Pier
Western Esplanade
Telephone Number: +44 (0)1702 215 620
East of England Tourism 0871 716 2536 – Calls cost less than 10p per minute
Fax Number: +44 (0)1702 431 449
Email Address:
Web Site:

Visit Essex
Address: County Hall
Essex County Council
Telephone Number: +44 (0) 845 600 7373
Email Address:
Web Site:

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Previous destinations of the month:

Starry Starry Night, Look You – Dark Skies Tourism, South Wales | Mills and Hills in Central Lancashire, Lancashire | Get Fit on the North York Moors, North Yorkshire | A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December, Dorset | Nottinghamshire – Rural and Urban, Nottinghamshire | The Test Valley, Hampshire | Ashdown Forest, Sussex | The Rugged Northumberland Coast , Northumberland | The Resorts of North Devon, Devon | The Queen's London, London | Denbighshire , North Wales | York and Its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | The High Weald of Kent, Kent | Leisure, Luxury and Retail Heaven in Leeds , West Yorkshire | Rejuvenate Yourself in Rejuvenated Belfast , Belfast | Seasonal Fun in Brum, West Midlands | Autumn in the Southern Chilterns, Buckinghamshire | Cheshire Peaks and Plains, Cheshire | Essex’s Colne Valley, Essex | Cardigan Bay, West Wales | South Wales Valleys, South Wales | Highland Perthshire, Perthshire | South Downs National Park, Sussex | Royal Wedding London, London | Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire | The Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Oxfordshire | Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire | Edinburgh at Christmas, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Marvellous Manchester, Greater Manchester | The National Forest, Derbyshire | East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Regency Brighton and Hove, Sussex | Isle of Purbeck, Dorset | The Somerset Levels, Somerset | Llandudno, North Wales | Hereford, Herefordshire | Cheltenham, Gloucestershire | Bristol, the Great West City, Bristol | Weardale, County Durham | Festive London, London | Islay, Isle of Islay | Blackpool and the Lancashire Coast, Lancashire | The Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire | Land of the Prince Bishops, County Durham | The North Cornwall Coast, Cornwall | Torbay, Devon | Dumfries & Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway | West Highland Way, Argyll | Caithness and Sutherland, Highlands | Harrogate & its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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