Honestly, if you have ever heard about Mersea Island, it could be due to the posts trending on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media handles about Beach Huts. Mersea Island is an island situated in Essex, England. The name Mersea comes from the old English word meaning Meresig.
The island has split into two parts; West Mersea & East Mersea. Both are connected with the mainland by the Strood (a causeway that can cause flood during high tide times.)
The day I saw those posts on social media with the hashtag #BeachHuts, I decided to go through this place.
Located in Essex, England, the island has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for tourists and locals. The island lies 14 Km (Approx. 9 miles) south of Colchester & 42 KM (Approx. 26 miles) of County Town East (Chelmsford). No doubt why it is easterly inhabited and publicly accessible island in the United Kingdom.
Mersea Island comes under the list of 43 tidal islands. (An island accessible by foot or road by the British mainland.)
Since pre-roman times, the island has been inhabited (easterly inhabited island) and used as a tourist holiday destination, dating back to the earlier centuries. Since then, fishing has been the key element of this island (mainly Oysters) alongside tourism, contributing to the island economy.
West Mersea Island: Things to Do
West Mersea Beach
It is located on the West side of Mersea Island. The shingle and south-facing sand beach look out over the Blackwater Estuary. A reasonably old-fashioned, but on a positive note, you will find Mersea Island Holiday Village, Parks, and Beach Huts.
The activities are simple but worth the time, and they can include digging in the sands, watching the boats go by, or crabbing off the jetties.
During my visit, I noticed the beach is a mix of stones & shells (of course, sand). The ground part can be itchy and might not be comfortable with the feet. I recommend wearing good shoes before entering West Mersea Beach.
I can proudly say that even on the busiest days, I could find a quiet and worthy place, and of course, people were doing activities on the beach. I watched them kayaking, going through the beach huts, and playing family activities with kids.
What makes this beach unique is the fact as it gets disappears during the high tide (as it is connected to the mainland by the ancient roman causeway). The only reason people tend to stay near the car park area.
Mersea Island Museum
Located on the Essex coast (approximately 9 miles south of Colchester). The museum was established in 1976. Mersea Island Museum is an independent museum in the centre of West Mersea Island.
This place is vibrant, and by the time I arrived, it was going to close as the opening times in Summer are from 2 Pm to 5 Pm. Luckily, I got an entrance ticket (which cost £2.00 per adult) at around 4:25 Pm.
You need to follow the main road through the village to the high street, and you will find the Parish Church. Just turn left to the church to reach the entrance gate of the museum.
I was in a short time so I couldn’t cover the complete museum. But as far as I can say, this place is worth the time, and one thing I forgot to mention is that Mersea museum is maintained by the Mersea Island Trust, which is why the ticket costs are low.
It is a great place to come along with family, especially kids, to teach them about the History of Mersea. The museum is full of fantastic things representing history, including famous activities of fresh fishing, oystering and boat building.
Essex Boat Trips
It can come under the best activities you can enjoy during your time on West Mersea Island. I haven’t taken part in it, but I can suggest taking Essex Boat Trips on your visit to West Mersea.
Such boat trips offer trips around the coastline of Mersea Island, and multiple tour operators offer boat trip services to the tourists and locals.
You must book in advance to skip the waiting time, and the booking amount varies from £20.00 to £100.00.
Mersea Island Water sports
Since 2013 Mersea Island Water Sports has been providing hires and lessons on water and sports activities in their dedicated water sports centre.
Located on the West side of Mersea. It becomes the perfect place to explore creek islands, making it the best to learn water sports activities.
You can find the booking and further information on their website.
West Mersea Oyster Bar
Located on the Western side of Mersea Island, the West Mersea Oyster Bar has become famous among tourists and locals. By the time I was tired of exploring the famous Mersea Island, I had heard about this restaurant and bar, mainly renowned for serving fresh oysters and seafood platters on their waterside terrace.
It usually closes at 4 Pm, but luckily it was Saturday (It opens from 12 Pm to 6 Pm on Saturday), and I was allowed to experience the famous food and seafood platters in this place.
The food is good in taste and no wonder this place became popular among people. And it is most likely due to their famous dishes (Mersea Island Food); The Colchester Native & Colchester Rock Oyster.
I surely recommend a visit to the West Mersea Oyster Bar if you come to explore the west side of Mersea Island.
East Mersea Island: Things to Do
Cudmore Grove Country Park
Cudmore Grove Country Park is located on the east end of Mersea. No wonder this place is popular among tourists and people on East Mersea Island.
This super country park is famous for a quick and easy coastal walk. You can walk across the footpaths or stroll the lovely side of the sandy beach. Do not forget to take pictures, as the views are amazing.
You need to come to this peaceful and tranquil park if you are planning for a ferry boat ride that takes you to Brightlingsea Beach.
I have spotted some grasslands that might sound like a perfect picnic place. The coastal circular walk starts at the car park, follows the beach, and goes back to where you started. (Do not forget to check on the way 16th-century fort & coastal wildlife. You might be able to spot World War 2 Ruins & gun emplacements.)
Located in the tendring district of Essex and on East Mersea Island. Brightlingsea Beach is the perfect place for people who want to explore the coastal walks or take a foot ferry boat ride from the east Mersea point to Brightlingsea Beach.
From April to October, the boat ride starts and provides services to all the tourists and locals. People of any age with dogs can enter the boat premises and get a ferry tour to Brightlingsea.
After reaching Brightlingsea, you can consider walking near the coastal circular path that starts from the car park next to the Batemans Tower. The walking distance is around 7 Miles, and it can take about 1 or 2 hours to complete.
Check their website for booking and further information about the Brightlingsea foot ferry ride.
Located in Eastern England, near the Essex Coast. Abberton Reservoir is the largest body of freshwater in Essex. This site is near East Mersea Island and is famous for its walking and cycling trails.
It is one of the four largest reservoirs in England, as it covers over 1200 acres.
You can start your walk or cycling from the visitors center, as the route is especially for the cyclers, but you can also enjoy walking in this place.
Best Time to Visit Mersea Island
You should not be surprised to know about the times, as we suggest the summer months are the best time to visit Mersea Island when the weather in the United Kingdom is at its peak, and overall the April to September months are good to plan a trip to this island.
Remember, the summertime is also when most people plan a visit to such islands or beaches. Thus, it might get busiest during peak time.
Still, spending a day on this beach will make you feel like you have covered every of its part, and also for a memorable experience. (No doubt, a proper family-friendly destination)
Tide Times: Mersea Island
Another fact: I arrived in the morning and learned about this island’s high tide. However, the tides are not high, but checking the tide times before planning a visit is always good.
Where to Eat?
Mersea island vineyard
Mersea Vineyard is a family restaurant and bar, and one of the best places to drink Mersea Island’s local and famous vines. The Vineyard is well-known enough and runs on a first-come & first-serve basis.
I recommend waiting a little longer to taste the best wine and beer in this place.
Another popular and family-friendly restaurant and mainly famous for the local produce oyster. This restaurant has a super reputation and comes among the best family-friendly seafood restaurants on Mersea Island.
You can take a short break to explore their menu and order the seafood you love to eat. (Do not forget to try seafood platter options)
How to Get There?
Mersea Island is located on the Essex Coast. There are multiple walking and car routes. It is about 8 miles south of Colchester, and there are no trains or railway stations on this island.
However, a cheap and the best mode of travel could be via bus as it regularly runs from the bus stops to Mersea Island. You can even come to this place by car by traveling towards Colchester. Just follow the signboards or set up the quick google maps for an accessible route.
Related: 10 Best Things to do in Upminster
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Mersea island?
Mersea Island is Located in Essex, England, in the Blackwater and Colne estuaries. The island lies 14 Km (Approx. 9 miles) south of Colchester & 42 KM (Approx. 26 miles) of County Town East (Chelmsford)
How Big is Mersea island?
The area covers seven square miles with a population of around 8000 or more.
How to get to Mersea island?
You can either get to Mersea Island via car or bus. There are no railway stations in this place.
A day trip will be enough to explore this island. I have had many of the best experiences visiting this place and will not mind visiting again. Let us know in the comments which part of the island you love the most.