Mersea Island, located between the Blackwater and Colne estuaries, is a charming seaside getaway in Essex. With plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants, delicious local seafood, and natural attractions, Mersea Island is the perfect destination for the whole family to enjoy together. Be sure to check the tide times before you leave — the island is accessed via a causeway that’s cut off at high spring tide.
Preparing for your trip
It takes around 50 minutes to drive from Essex to Mersea Island. A reliable car with a powerful motor will ensure you reach your destination safely and in good time. For example, an SUV is commonly noted to be a dependable vehicle with good overall fuel economy. It can also provide you with ample storage space to stash any shopping and belongings. Be sure to pack for comfort. If it’s cold, bring warm clothes like an anorak and wellies. Sunglasses are also essential to protect your eyes from the sun while driving. Healthy snacks and plenty of bottled water, meanwhile, can also help you avoid energy slumps.
Crabbing is the perfect seaside activity for people of all ages, especially children. Head to the causeway at West Mersea, and look for the marked areas suitable for crabbing (and be sure to stick to them). You’ll find that many local shops sell special crabbing equipment; however, you can also use some string, a large washer, and a bucket instead. All you need to do is attach some bait (like chicken or bacon) to your line, sit on the edge, drop your line to the bottom, and wait until you catch a crab. After about an hour, you’ll have filled your entire bucket with crabs (be sure to leave some water in there for them). When you’re finished crabbing for the day, tip your bucket to release your crabs, and you’ll see them all rush back to the water.
Exploring Cudmore Grove Country Park
Located on the east side of Mersea Island, Cudmore Grove Country Park is a beautiful nature reserve home to a variety of wildlife, sandy beaches, and grassland. Spanning over 102 acres, the park features pillboxes and gun emplacements dating back to the second world war — a big attraction for lovers of history. You’ll even spot bear, monkey and bison fossils on display that are over 300,000 years old. If you have time, you can also make a stop at the Mersea Island Museum to learn about even more of the Island’s fascinating history of fishing, oystering, and boat building. Founded in 1976, the museum is in the heart of West Mersea. When you’re hungry, you can also grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants on the island. The local seafood is outstanding.
Mersea Island is undoubtedly a must-visit Essex day trip. No matter the weather or time of year, you’ll find the island provides you with the perfect break from the stress of everyday life.