With two castles, Hedingham and Colchester, as well as grand houses such as the Paycockes and Audley End to explore, Essex has inherited a rich history. It’s home to the Chelmsford Cathedral, the second largest in England and the Epping Forest which is London’s biggest open space! If you prefer a quieter scene then Wivenhoe is town which may be of interest with its riverside walks and great eatery spots.
Essex captured in beautiful watercolour
Hedingham Castle, in the village of Castle Hedingham, Essex, is arguably the best preserved Norman keep in England. The castle fortifications and outbuildings were built around 1100, and the keep around 1140.
Paycocke's House and Gardens are a surviving example of a Tudor merchant's house and garden in Coggeshall, Essex. The house was built for Thomas Paycocke, a wealthy cloth merchant in Coggeshall. The house has been described as an attractive half-timbered house, which is notable particularly for it's intricate woodwork and carvings.
Wivenhoe is a small riverside town, north eastern Essex,, approximately 3 miles south east of Colchester. With a history of fishing and boat building, Wivenhoe has a wealth of history reflected in its wonky medieval buildings and beautiful timber-framed houses.
Chelmsford Cathedral in the city of Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom, is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd. It became a cathedral when the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford was created in 1914 and is the seat of the Bishop of Chelmsford. It has a modern look which makes it hard to believe that much of the building dates back to the early fifteenth century.
Colchester Castle is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. At 152 x 112 feet it is one and a half times the size of the “White Tower” at the “Tower of London. Constructed on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, built when Colchester was the first Roman capital of Britain. Today the Castle is a museum with archaeological collections of international quality covering 2,500 years of history are beautifully showcased, including of the most important Roman finds in Britain.
Epping Forest is a 2,400-hectare (5,900-acre) area of ancient woodland between Epping in Essex to the north, and Forest Gate in Greater London to the south. It contains areas of woodland, grassland, heath, rivers, bogs and ponds, and its elevation and thin gravelly soil (the result of glaciation) historically made it unsuitable for agriculture.
Bourne Mill a grade 1 listed building steeped in history is set in tranquil grounds, next to a millpond and babbling stream. The mill still has a working waterwheel, and evidently restored in 2009 with the same steel as used in Antony Gormley’s ‘Angel of the North’. The grounds have a pond, wetlands and woods and are home to a variety of wildlife including birds, bats, waterfowl, bugs and beetles.
Audley End was one of the greatest houses of early 17th-century England. In about 1605–14 Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, took an earlier house created by his grandfather Lord Audley on the site of Walden Abbey, and rebuilt it on the scale of a royal palace. Robert Adam transformed this house for Sir John Griffin Griffin in the 1760s, while Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown remodelled the grounds, to create one of England's finest landscape gardens.