Our guide to luxury Essex holidays

With its string of nostalgic seaside towns, remote islands, ancient forests, and historic sites, this corner of Constable Country feels worlds away from the city rush. Welcome to the Unique guide to luxury Essex holidays.

Just a short journey from London, and firmly within the commuter belt, Essex is an oft-overlooked travel destination in its own right. Think unspoilt coastline and culture, with a sprinkling of city convenience. it's time to wake up and smell the roses; Essex is home to a bouquet of botanical beauties — including Audley End House, RHS Garden Hyde Hall, and Hyland House — and quaint market towns cut by the slow-flowing Stort, with antique stores and storied inns to wile away the afternoon. For life at a rural pace, outdoors enthusiasts will be right at home, tracking through Epping Forest on bicycles and exploring the wild beauty of the remote Dengie Peninsula, known for its marshes, nature reserves, and wildlife.

For those yearning for the nostalgia of a traditional seaside escape, Essex's coastline calls. Along the shore, find cockle-sellers, the familiar aroma of candy floss, and the jangle of vintage slot machines. Perhaps the crowning jewel of Essex's coastline is Mersea Island, where huts-for-hire line the beaches. Bringing a pour of modern allure to the island, a 10-acre vineyard bottles Ortega grapes with a hint of elderflower. Whether seeking R&R by the sea or a place to party in the country, our guide to luxury Essex holidays gives insider tips on the things to see, do, and where to stay, from rural escapes with roaring fires and rolltop baths to luxury group accommodation for unabashed celebrations in Saffron Walden.