My brother has spent the last three years in Australia and so when, upon his return, my parents suggested a family holiday could be the thing we needed to get us all together again I was like ‘Woohoo!!’. Initial talks focused on Croatia, somewhere I’ve never been but is on my bucket list, however when my brothers girlfriend found herself needing to have an operation, which meant possibly not being able to fly, the holiday got downgraded to a staycation. Moving the location from Croatia to Clacton felt more than just a downgrade, it felt like being made totally redundant!
Adam got me out of my funk by reminding me that it was all about family time and at the end of the day, it was still a free trip away right?! So off we set, the six of us as well as two dogs (who I was explicitly informed had to be included in all plans) for the traditional English seaside trip!
Due to the presence of the dogs my parents had decided to book The Orchards Holiday Village, in St Osyth, for our accommodation. It’s a Haven park and whilst I was sure this would mean a constant barrage of children running around and cheesy entertainment I was pleasantly surprised with by our secluded mobile home, set back from the central resort, giving us much-needed rest.
Our first day on the site was peaceful, with a long walk along the Brightlingsea Creek, a fish and chip summer and a family board game night.
The next morning we awoke for another long walk alongside Point Clear bay, a walk full of wild flowers, seagull eggs and a bleak but beautiful landscape. Despite the clouds which had started to gather we headed onto Colchester, the oldest town in Britain.
We were able to park at St Mary’s car park and walk around the gardens of Colchester castle, a largely complete castle that holds the title of largest Norman keep in the whole of Europe. The dogs meant we were unable to enter the castle (which you can do at the cost of £7.75), but we could still walk around the gardens, which held their own history full of executions, invasions and revolts.
The Castle is not the only place to find history in Colchester as a walk around the town unearthed many other treasures. St Botolph’s Priory was the first Augustinian convent in England, first established in 1100 and with the ruins still standing today, to be found in the town centre. There are roman walls to discover and even Balkerne Gate, the largest surviving gateway in England, estimated to be built in 70AD!
We enjoyed drinks at the Castle Inn, a pub that sat alongside the castle and enjoyed an amazing dinner at the Three Wise Monkeys, a pub with a hipster edge that served fruity beers and the most delicious and plentiful pulled pork I’ve ever had!
Adam and I split from the others for the night to attend a play at the Mercury Theatre. We watched the Cruicible, an Arthur Miller play about the Salem witch trials, and found the theatre to be centrally located, well staffed and very intimate.
Our little England holiday was certainly turning out better than I had expected… part two on the blog soon!