Best Walks and Hikes in Essex – The Most Popular Routes to Add to Your Bucket List

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If you are visiting Essex and are passionate about exploring nature, you are at the right place. You might have heard a lot about this beautiful place’s campsites, beaches, and family restaurants, but not many are familiar with the hiking trails here.

East Saxon is a must-visit country where you can enjoy various activities with birds flying around you. From the old spots for hunting to the seaside view areas, you can walk around all kinds of places. Also, the day walks take you anywhere you want, and each trail takes you to a beautiful scenic view that you can use as a resting place.

This article narrows down the best routes you must take while travelling to Essex. Our guide has a complete list of both walking tracks and hiking trails. So, grab your joggers and get ready for some short strolls around the peaceful woodlands.

Best Walk Sides Near Essex

  1. East Mersea Island
  2. Tollesbury Wick
  3. North Sea Coastline 
  4. Hadleigh Castle
  5. Circular at Little Bromley

Walking around in the woodlands of Essex will bring you joy and a pleasant atmosphere due to the fresh greenery. Therefore, we came up with the list below to keep you entertained while you stroll. So, put on your raincoats and enjoy wandering through these beautiful sightseeing places.

East Mersea Island

One of Essex’s most popular tourist destinations is East Mersea Island – mainly famous for seafood. However, there are other taverns and cafes for those who enjoy different meals. You will love a walk in the lanes full of seaside views with oysters and yellow sunset.

The East Mersea emerged in the era of the Romans when they defeated Boudicca. After a few years, Saxons started migrating toward Mersea Island and settled here. One of the famous novelists also lived on this island known as the Rector, Revering Baring.

The empty streets can take you to several outdoor activities – like swimming, jogging, etc. – to enjoy with your friends and family. Moreover, you can also spend some time in the nearby clubs. You will also come across a few coastlines with beaches and salt marshes.

Tourism and leisure time at East Mersea is quite common during the summer breaks. In addition, people from different countries visit the island to spend quality time in the United Kingdom. Moreover, you can also participate in sports like football, netball, and more. So, if you love to explore historical places, this place is a must-visit.


  • Secure place
  • Club and entertainment
  • Transport available
  • Village amenities
  • Delicious restaurant meals
  • Outdoor activities


  • High charges for parking
  • No access to pharmacies or clinics nearby

Tollesbury Wick

Tollesbury Wick is a family-friendly place that is easy to cross for anyone, even if you are not an avid walker. However, there are a few issues if you use Google Maps to reach here. The application shows a route unsuitable for walking; thus, we do not recommend using online maps. Nevertheless, it is a short stroll and hardly takes around seven kilometres to reach this beautiful place. Moreover, if you have a pet dog visiting Essex, it will love the journey, but keep them on the footpaths. 

Like the last spot, Tollesbury Wick has a great history and supports wildlife. Therefore, you will come across cattle, sheeps, and ponies here. The best part is that you get free parking if you have a vehicle with you. So, you can stop by and watch beautiful skies from the top while you wander around the meadows alongside the coast. Therefore, it is an ideal spot for you if you love water and boats.


  • Stunning views
  • Easily accessible
  • Free parking
  • Public toilets facility
  • Pet-friendly environment


  • Not compatible when using Google Maps
  • Gets muddy in damp weather
visit essex

North Sea Coastline 

If you are into beaches and coasts, the North Sea coastline contains a lot of tourist destinations for you to explore while walking around. The coast falls among the most extended shores of England, and this coastline brings you two more tourist spots: the Nature Reserve and the Naze Tower.

You will also come across the wildlife centre and Naze cafeteria on your way. The Naze tower is around 80 feet tall and holds great value as a historical monument. Apart from strolling, you can also try trekking in these hilly areas. 

You may also get a glance at the North Sea seals if you keep walking further down the Cormorant Creek. Therefore, try not to miss this opportunity since you have come all the way to enjoy these natural views.


  • Historical monuments
  • Trekking trails
  • Kid-friendly
  • Fabulous hilltop views


  • Not a suitable area for people with reduced mobility

Hadleigh Castle

Hadleigh Castle, often known as the Windy Castle, combines beautiful views and a historical spot around Essex. Most people love to stroll here in the early mornings, and the place is best for picnics or planning a honeymoon.

The site is free for tourism, and there is no need to buy tickets as many other places require. One thing you must note is the parking issue. Since there are so many visitors and the parking is limited, plan your trip as soon as possible if you would like to avail the parking slot.


  • Historically important and beautiful overview
  • Free site
  • Clean and green environment
  • Easy to reach
  • Surrounded by hostels and resorts for stay


  • Not suitable for people in a wheelchair
  • Limited parking slots
english heritage

Circular at Little Bromley

While strolling through the woods of little Bromley, you will see several historical sites. You will notice the car parking once you enter the area. If you turn right from here, the road leads you to the old houses resembling England’s village life.

Next, you can walk down further to the ditch that takes you to the footbridge. While you stroll around this place, you will eventually come across a church. The church is public and operational 24/7; thus, feel free to give it a visit if you please.

A few miles ahead, you will find the ancient Colchester town. Moreover, there are several sightseeing places around this area, like Castle Park and the Center of Roman Circus. There is also a zoo you may visit if you love animals and a museum for antique lovers.


  • Traffic friendly
  • Healthy environment
  • Rich in greenery
  • Peaceful spot
  • Low crime rate


  • Only a few supermarkets nearby

Best Hiking Trails Near Essex

Until now, we have seen the topmost popular sites to walk around. Now it is time to have a look at the hiking trails. We have listed several hike points that you will love to visit. From the Circuit Pub to the Clare Loop, let us view them all one by one.

Maldon and Heybridge Basin Circuit 

The most easily accessible hiking trail that runs flat across Maldon is around the Basin circuit pub. Since there are several cafes and bars in its surroundings, the track is usually busy with crowds. Therefore, it is better to start your stroll nearer to Heybridge.

The Basin Circuit is one of the most famous spots with a circular route. Moreover, you can bring your dogs with you since the area is safe for pets and kids to roam freely. Likewise, you can experience the scenic beauty of riverside views and the Blackwater Estuary.

For enjoying and resting you can take the help of several pubs with all kinds of food dishes available. Moreover, the Basin Circuit is the oldest town in Essex and offers a calm and peaceful atmosphere for both families and solo hikers.


  • Lovely area
  • Refreshments available
  • Family-friendly
  • Several pubs
  • Free car parking


  • No public toilets
gps routes

The Historic Nayland

Nayland is one of the most famous villages of England. Like several other spots we listed, this area is surrounded by churches. There are many trails you would want to explore during your hike, and some of them include the Stour Valley, Boxford, and the Aldham Circular.

The spot offers free parking for tourists. You will also come across several conference facilities and a fitness centre for exercising. Also, we do not recommend Nayland to disabled people due to the steep trails.


  • Free parking
  • Golf course
  • Conference facilities
  • A fitness centre with a gym
  • Ideal for spending weekend breaks


  • Not suitable for disabled people

The Clare Loop

The Clare Loop is famous for several lovely places, like the inner bailey around the Clare Common. Hedges and tall heighted trees surround this area. You will also come across one old railway route that takes you toward the castle.

You will also find a parish church once you cross the railway. The place is full of people, especially in the afternoon. However, if you plan your trip during winter, ensure you wear proper boots since Clare Loop is muddy during this season.


  • Family-friendly
  • Parking spots available
  • Pleasant weather
  • Several restaurants


  • The area is usually crowded

The Boathouse

As we mentioned, there are several riverside walking areas. This is another one where you can go for a lovely hike. The place gets its name because of the boats that can take you a long way towards the Constable Walk Loop. The site offers peace and a beautiful view with birds chirping. Moreover, there are several places to dine with your loved ones to make the most of your time.


  • Beautiful location
  • Friendly service
  • Great cocktails
  • Private dining available
  • Wonderful taverns


  • A bit expensive compared to others

The Millrace

If you plan to hike in Essex County, do not skip a beautiful trail like Millrace. In addition, it covers over six acres of land in Ivoryton. The name originates from the still river carried down to the nearest mill wheel. Along the way, you will come across several markers that guide you about the historical background.

The woodland is full of tall bushy trees across the wetland area. The area is peaceful, and you can hear birds singing melodically. Going deeper into the woods, you will also come across coyotes and wild rabbits.


  • Dog friendly
  • Free off-seat parking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Wonderful setting


  • Not a good place to dine in

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have never been to Essex, you might wonder about several questions but do not worry. We have answered a few for you, from the speciality of this area to the fun activities you can do during your stay. Moreover, we have also enlisted the tickets and booking process below.

What is so special about Essex?

Before the early 1980s, Essex wasn’t very famous. However, everyone was familiar with the place, and people slowly settled on this beautiful land. Eventually, it became home to many famous personalities, and attention caught on fast.

Thus, it became a tourist destination for the ones who loved beaches, nature, and camping. Moreover, you will find the world’s most beautiful and peaceful spots here. Now it has many security cameras installed on the streets and has become second to Devon.

How many cities are in Essex?

Essex County contains around 12 famous districts. From CastlePoint to Maldon, there are Braintree and Tendering too. Moreover, several cities come under this County, like Newark, Livingston, and Bloomfield. All of them have unique names that relate to their historical backgrounds.

What should I know before visiting Essex?

Before you visit Essex or if you plan to move here, note these few things. Since the people here do not have access to pharmacies or restaurants that offer international cuisines, you must always be prepared. Also, you must be ready to face the crowds since Essex is full of tourists annually. Also, ensure that you have all the tickets booked and prepared beforehand.

How are tickets allocated to tourists in Essex?

Since Essex is a busy tourist destination, getting tickets is another challenging task. With crowds all year round, you will have to go for online booking so as not to miss this excellent chance.

Specific rules apply for people booking tickets directly from the portal, such as being over eighteen. After registering, navigate to the dashboard and check the destinations you want to visit, and these will appear in your ‘My Tickets’ menu, where you can add or remove the desired spots as per your choice and linking. 

Around September, you will get a chance to win free tickets for any one attraction. If selected, you cannot go to other destinations, and you will get an email regarding the instructions further. The best part is that the ticket is valid for the complete household. So, you can go for it whether you wish to bring your family, friends, or spouse.

What are the things you can do in Essex?

Someone who has come a long way to visit Essex and its surrounding tourist spots should consider making the most of their time here. Thus, there are several activities you can do here apart from walking and hiking, like visiting museums, shopping, planning outdoor sports, and camping in the woods.

There are several places where you can go with kids and have fun with entertaining events to keep them busy. Also, a few places have pet-friendly environments where you can stroll freely with your furry friend.

Wrapping It Up

Whether you like walking around the woods or watching the sunset while you hike on a trail, Essex is a beautiful place for such activities. It has several scenic spots for tourists to enjoy while spending quality time here. Moreover, for hike lovers, the site is full of trails to explore until you feel hungry and like to rest.

Therefore, we have developed this guide for you to find the best walking and hiking places near Essex. Moreover, the article also answers questions about Essex that most people do not know. So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets as soon as you can!

About The Author

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James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.