East of London and with a continuous suburb that clings to the north side of the Thames Estuary, Essex is a county that has got a bad rap in the past.
But journey north and east and the countryside becomes ever more picturesque and the towns gain more personality.
Dedham for instance has the romantic Water Meadows painted by John Constable and Saffron Walden possesses a marketplace as pretty as any in England.
The coast is lovable too, with child-friendly seaside resorts, fishing communities and the port of Harwich, which is brimming with maritime lore.
Lets explore the best places to visit in Essex:
The oldest town, not just in Essex but the entire country, Colchester was the capital of Roman Britain for a time.
If this has caught your attention then Colchester Castle should be your first stop.
Built in the 11th century the keep here is the largest of any castle, ruined or standing, in all of Britain.
There’s a newly revamped museum inside to bring you up to speed on Colchester’s rich history, and it’s always adding new finds from the town’s Roman excavation sites.
The landscaped and well-tended gardens in Castle Park are just the ticket for a few minutes of repose, and Colchester Zoo is up there with the best and raises money for wildlife conservation projects in South Africa.