The Gift of Essex
The following were suggestions at the end of last year (2016) for how to enjoy Essex in the coming year with places to go and things to do, so we leave them here as a resource for readers (ignore seasonal events & dates -
Dedham Vale Vineyard makes several delicious wines, including its excellent methode champenoise sparkling wine, famed Bacchus dry white and rewarding red, Dedham Vale Reserve. It also presses apples grown in the ancient orchards on Mersea Island to produce Carter’s Cider. The vineyard – set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Boxted -
Coggeshall’s West Street Vineyard also makes a crisp, dry white and rose that is the very taste of summer, whilst its sparkling white or pink bubbles will certainly add extra fizz to your Christmas lunch. West Street also offers gift vouchers, one of which is for its wine school, which will give the oenophile in your life a chance to explore some of the world’s different types of wine via their tastebuds. www.weststreetvineyard.co.uk
With the drinks nicely covered, don’t forget that Essex is a fabulous place to indulge your culinary passions. Did you know that 70% of the land remains rural and that the county’s coastline – at over 350 miles – is the longest in England? That means we’re home to incredibly flavoursome fruit, veg’ and meat, while our fish and shellfish are some of the finest you’ll find anywhere in the world. Fact.
Chef Sherri Singleton was working in a London restaurant and was so intrigued by the produce coming into her kitchen from Essex that she decided to visit the county. She liked the place so much that in 2001, she bought the Mistley Thorn and established the neighbouring Mistley Kitchen, which is now a must-
Similarly, Braxted Park Cookery School offers a tempting range of cookery courses designed to suit complete beginners all the way up to would-
If you know someone whose idea of fun is raising their heartrate rather than a souffle, then Essex is also a great place to unleash their inner adrenaline junkie. At Lee Valley in Waltham Abbey there’s a whole bunch of experiences that will rock the socks off people who love water and two-
On the Visit Essex website, www.visitessex.com you’ll find a sackful of ideas and information about where to buy presents for all ages, tastes and passions. For those looking to escape the High Street, consider dropping into a local visitor attraction to see what they have going on.
At RHS Garden Hyde Hall, near Chelmsford, the Christmas Sparkle Gift Fair (3-
Meanwhile, on 3 December at Writtle College it’s time to get crafty in either of two half-
Despite living in Essex, many of us often forget just what a beautiful place it is. Visit Essex has an initiative called ‘Live Local, Love Local’ which is designed to help residents reconnect with their county. A great way to do this after partying hard throughout Christmas and New Year is to recharge your batteries in one of our superb hotels with a spa.
At Lifehouse Spa and Hotel near Frinton-
And don’t forget Essex has a wealth of other shopping experiences, from Freeport Braintree – the premier outlet in Essex -
With a wealth of attractions, from historic houses to seaside fun parks, farms and zoos, consider an annual pass for your favourite destination. This will ensure that, once the thrill of this season’s must-
To discover more ideas and destinations where you’ll find a great gift and enjoy a magical day out, take a sleigh ride over to www.visitessex.com/Christmas
If you didn’t do them last Christmas, they’ll no doubt be there for the next one so you can plan early.