Essex has some excellent beaches, which are very family orientated. One stretch of Essex coastline is referred to as The Essex Sunshine Coast. This is the area that covers Clacton, Frinton, Walton, Brightlingsea, Manningtree, Harwich, Jaywick, St. Osyth, Dovercourt and Mistley. The area falls under the management of Tendring District Council, and its beaches have won awards over the years for their cleanliness and water quality. Also, unlike the beaches to the south, the Essex Sunshine Coast has sandy beaches.
One of the reasons that the Essex coast is so good for beaches is that the climate is one of the driest in the UK.
Clacton Town and its Beaches (SatNav CO15 6JS)
The town was settled during the Old Stone Age by a race of hunters. Clacton developed from a small village into a seaside resort in the late 19th Century with the fashion for coastal health and bathing. Clacton Pier provides amusements and cafes, which are good distractions on cooler days.
The beaches are popular with tourists in the summer, and there is an annual entertainment programme including the Clacton carnival held the second Saturday in August and lasting for a week. Beaches are sandy.
Frinton-on-Sea and its Sandy Beaches (SatNav CO13 9DN)
Developed as a select resort by Sir Richard Cooper, it largely expanded after 1886. The town has a sandy beach, more than a mile long, with wardens in season and an area of sea zoned for swimming, sailing and windsurfing. The shore is lined by a promenade with several hundred beach huts. Landward from the promenade is a long greensward stretching from the boundary with Walton-on-Naze to the golf club in the south.
Walton-on-the-Naze and its Beaches (SatNav CO14 8EA)
The town illustrates the character of an early Victorian seaside resort. The seafront was developed in 1825 and Marine Parade, then named The Crescent, was built in 1832.
The Naze, made up of red sandstone cliffs formed during the Ice Age, is rich in fossils. It is important for migrating birds and has a small nature reserve. The marshes of Hamford Water, located behind the town, are also of ornithological interest, with wintering ducks and brent geese. Many Bird watchers visit at migration times.
The beaches are pleasant and sandy, making an excellent spot for families.
Brightlingsea and its Beaches (SatNav CO7 0HH)
The town has a history of shipbuilding and seafaring. It has lines of beach huts, a skate park, swimming pool, boating lake, and paddling pool. It is a popular destination for tourists and Londoners with plenty to do in addition to the beach.
Manningtree and its Beaches (SatNav CO11 1AU )
Manningtree is on Holbrook Bay, part of the River Stour in the north of Essex. It is the eastern edge of Dedham Vale. Nearby villages include Dedham, Mistley, Lawford and Wrabness. Manningtree railway station provides a direct train link to London, Norwich and Harwich.
Manningtree has a small, man made, beach area in a little corner of the estuary that runs up to Mistley.
Mistley contains many pleasant Georgian and Victorian houses. In the 18th Century local landowner Richard Rigby MP attempted to develop Mistley into a fashionable spa town symbolised by a swan.
Harwich and Dovercourt Beaches (SatNav CO12 3SS )
Harwich has some interesting history. The Mayflower, the ship that carried the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620, was a frequent visitor to the harbour and its Captain Christopher Jones lived in Kings Head Street. The famous diarist Samuel Pepys was MP for the town in the 1660’s, when Harwich was the headquarters of the King’s Navy. The 1980s BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi! was filmed in Dovercourt, at Warner’s Holiday Camp, which transformed into Maplin’s.
The long sandy beaches are possibly the best of the Essex Sunshine Coast, with Dovercourt often receiving Blue Flag status.
St. Osyth and its Beaches (SatNav CO16 8LD)
St. Osyth lies about five miles to the west of Clacton-on-Sea and is approached from either Clacton or Colchester along the B1027. The neighbouring settlement of St Osyth Beach contains Essex’s largest concentration of static caravan parks, including Seawick, St Osyth Beach (owned by Park Holidays UK ) & Hutleys. The holiday parks boost the local population in the summer months by an estimated 7,000 people.
Dogs and Essex Beaches
Dogs are banned from many of Tendring’s beaches from 1st May – 30th September to ensure that they remain clean for families to enjoy.
Tourist Information Centres
The Tourist Information centres can provide you with more information on the area and recommend places to stay.
Clacton-on-Sea Tourist Information
- Town Hall
- Station Road
- Tel: 01255 686633
Walton-on-the-Naze Tourist Information
- Princes Esplanade
- Tel: 01255 675542
- (Seasonal, out of season contact Clacton)
Harwich Tourist Information
- Iconfield Park
- (Nr Morrisons)
- Tel: 01255 506139