After ticking off Cambridgeshire, I felt like I was on a roll and needed my next county hit so after a little bit of research I thought exploring Essex would be a good destination for the weekend for two reasons – there were some tea rooms that I really wanted to visit in Essex plus G needed to relax inside a spa.
We plodded down the M11 heading towards Colchester…seriously I had underestimated how long the journey would take…over two hours…and I wasn’t the one driving…I may have said “are we there yet” a few times! Saturday was a bit of a relaxation day for us…we spent time sitting by the pool people watching…the spa was a learning experience…G now knows fake eyelashes cost £60 to get professionally done (I had no clue) and well I learnt that I couldn’t relax at a spa in Essex…seriously do the women of Essex ever stop talking…shhhh when you’re in the steam room and sauna! I gave up and changed into my exercise geared and jumped on the treadmill…G was slightly shocked…I decided to exercise over relaxing in a steam room…it was that bad!
^^Our bed for the night at the Crowne Plaza Five Lakes close to Colchester…we managed to score a free night through the IHG price match policy…if you find the same room with the same terms and conditions cheaper elsewhere, IHG will give you the first time free – even when you’re only staying for one night! The bed looks lumpy but it was super comfy.
The next morning we had breakfast and G attempted the spa again while I jumped in his car and took off for a tiki tour around the Essex countryside. As Essex forms part of Constable country I decided it was a good excuse to explore this area (there’s a lot to see in Essex and I will return to see more in the future).
My first stop was to the very cute little village of Dedham where Constable went to school and painted in his later years.
Dedham is rather charming…with little drunk wobbly houses….
…and grand Georgian houses mingling together.
I’m currently having a love affair with wobbly houses as you would know if you follow me on instagram…my gallery is full of the little buggers looking all drunk and tipsy…
…and then there is all the door porn…
…it was another good…
^^and yes that door is as tiny as it looks!
John Constable even went to school in Dedham and you can see the school house which still stands albeit it’s a set of flats now by the looks of it….
…it’s got a rather nice front door as well!
^^How many doors is too many in a blog post?
There were cute little timber frame houses down little gravel drives calling out to be photographed…so it would be rude not to oblige and then I thought eek I might be on private property **coughs** I was oops!
Wandering down the high street, I bumped into the vicarage…it was hard to miss as it was pretty in pink!
And yes it’s another door!
Dedham is picture perfect…everywhere you look you want to take a snap or…
…or four…you get the drift right!
I went for a little wander along the River Stour which is where Constable use to walk as a child and admired the views across Essex…
…when actually I was standing on a bridge in no mans land between Essex and Suffolk…doh!!
I’ve seen photos of what Dedham looks like during the summer months and I think it could rival Cambridge…so if you want to go for a little boat ride then head to Dedham and enjoy Constable Country when it’s all lush and green.
Jumping back in the car and driving for ten seconds, it was officially confirmed when I saw the Welcome to Suffolk sign that I had indeed crossed the border…so I thought I could tick off my second county in one day but then couldn’t find somewhere to buy a cup a tea…there wasn’t even a bloody pub and when I finally found a pub…I had just passed the sign that said Welcome to Essex…I will visit Suffolk again which isn’t really a hardship at all!
^^I will share where I visited in Suffolk when I officially tick off the county but here is a sneak peak of fat little houses…this is what I would look like if I was a house…bursting at my little timber seams!
Heading back to pick up G for our little afternoon tea outing…he loves cake just as much as me and potentially more than me…we visited the Wilkin & Sons tea room in Tiptree, Essex…you know the jam people…well they have quaint little tea rooms dotted all around Essex and they have great gluten free options…I know as I tried out their gluten free afternoon tea.
The afternoon tea is cheap as chips costing £28 for two people (not each…£14pp which I thought was good value) and it consists of four little triangle sarnies (you choose a filling…I love egg sarnies…while G went for tuna), a scone each obviously with Wilkin & Sons Strawberry jam and clotted cream and two pastries each. (They will provide a separate tea stand if you’re gluten free…I was happy to have it all one one stand but they did ask before doing this so they understand the gluten free score).
This is what a balanced kiwi looks like…a cup of tea in one hand and a scone in the other…and this officially ticks off Essex!
The gluten free scones passed my gluten free scone test with flying colours…they were easy to cut into, they didn’t break any teeth and they were extremely yummy…they even impressed G.
I love meringues but have never had them filled with jam before…I will be trying this at home!
I was rather impressed by the whole afternoon tea at Wilkin & Sons and would recommend trying it if you’re in Essex as you won’t regret it.
After all those calories, we visited the Jam Museum…yes there is a jam museum onsite and I was pretty darn excited about visiting after reading about it a few days beforehand…G is one lucky man…he was over the moon OBVIOUSLY…
…and of course there was a jam shop…we may have gone a little overboard on the old spreads…that salted caramel spread is amazing on gluten free crumpets!
So Essex I’ve ticked you off my list! 46 counties to go!
What’s your New Year’s Resolution? Where do you suggest I visit in your home county?