12 fantastic staycation locations in Essex and East Anglia

The Fritton Arms

The Fritton Arms - Credit: Archant

Essex Life showcases a chic collection of top places to stay which, while close enough to home, still offer an idyllic escape. Here are 12 great staycations in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Hertfordshire

A post shared by Fern (@fernclark) on

1) Wheatacre Hall Barns

Wheatacre, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 0AS | 01502 677208

Discover luxury self-catering accommodation in eight converted barns on a working arable and dairy farm. Wheatacre Hall Barns is situated in the beautiful, rural Waveney Valley adjoining the southern tip of the Norfolk Broads.

Many fantastic sandy beaches and attractions can be found a short distance from Wheatacre Hall Barns, making this a great place to base your visit in your discovery of Norfolk and Suffolk. Facilities include a games barn, fitness barn, soft play barn and hot tub, plus plenty of outdoor space for fun and games.

2) Channels Bar & Brasserie

Pratts Farm Lane East, Little Waltham, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 3PT | Bar & Brasserie: 01245 440003 | Bistro: 01245 362210

Channels Bar & Brasserie is famed for its award-winning cuisine, culinary events and calendar of entertainment. It offers a variety of spaces in which to eat, drink and relax including a delightful patio overlooking the idyllic countryside – perfect for a peaceful stroll after breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Nearby, The Bistro at Little Channels lays on good value British food including themed afternoon teas which can be enjoyed in the charming courtyard. Both restaurants extend an enthusiastic welcome to all the family, including four-legged friends.

3) Fritton Lake Holiday Resort

Most Read

Church Lane, Great Yarmouth NR31 9HA | 01493 488666

Fritton Lake is a private holiday resort within a pioneering 1,000 acre re-wilding project where adventurous play and lake-based activities co-exist with great food in perfect harmony with nature. The resort forms part of the prestigious Somerleyton Estate just a stone’s throw from the Norfolk/Suffolk coastal border. Brand new for 2018 is a low density, high spec development of woodland cabins known as Hill Wood, set in a light, airy oak wood with southerly aspect across the lake.

Cabins are all new generation using the latest technology. The resort suits couples and adventurous families who want the wild wood to themselves, knowing the highly-acclaimed resort pub and restaurant is a bike ride away. This exclusive luxury lakeside development is now available to buy off-plan.

Westleton Crown

Westleton Crown - Credit: Archant

4) The Westleton Crown

The Street, Westleton, Nr. Southwold, Suffolk IP17 3AD | 01728 648 777

Escape to one of the most charming inns on the Suffolk coast. The Westleton Crown is a traditional coaching inn with origins extending back as far as the 12th century. Located a few miles from the Suffolk Heritage Coast, it retains the character and rustic charm of its heritage while offering guests the sophistication and comforts of contemporary living. All 34 rooms are individually furnished and well appointed, some with four poster beds, but all are luxurious, peaceful and relaxing.

Whether you are searching for a hearty breakfast, lunchtime snack, relaxed or formal meal, the 2 AA Rosette restaurant serves varied, innovative food created with passion, alongside a comprehensive wine list. The Westleton Crown is also extremely dog-friendly and is perfect for guests with paws.

The Pier at Harwich

The Pier at Harwich - Credit: Archant

5) The Pier at Harwich

The Quay, Harwich, CO12 3HH | 01255 241212

Who doesn’t enjoy a night at the seaside? Essex, of course, is lucky to have an interesting coastline from the River Crouch to the River Stour, and it’s on the confluence of the Stour and Orwell estuaries that you will find The Pier at Harwich. The Pier has recently been re-built and re-defined and now offers a restaurant on the first floor which is open all day, every day — book online or turn up when you’re ready.

The food is modern European making the most of the fish and shellfish landed on the harbour wall just 20 metres from the door. Downstairs, you’ll find the NAVYÄRD Bar & Terrace adjacent to the harbour, which is open from 9am every day. And the good news is that you can also stay at The Pier, with many of its 14 bedrooms facing onto the harbour. Come and see for yourself – what are you waiting for?


Some more places to visit:

Flitch of Bacon

Flitch of Bacon - Credit: Archant


6) Flitch of Bacon

The Street, Little Dunmow, Dunmow CM6 3HT | 01371 821660

Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon is Dunmow’s premier restaurant with rooms, offering delicious, gourmet, modern British cooking prepared by chef/patron, Tim Allen. Featuring a cosy bar, complete with a roaring log fire and a unique menu of pub classics and signature Flitch of Bacon dishes, it serves as the perfect destination for a quick stop off.

Or why not make a mini break of it by choosing to stay in one of the elegant guest suites? Expect golden peacock feathers creating a rich and opulent mood, while bright textiles and an imposing bed provide a hint of the East. With a thriving event calendar and a garden terrace featuring new monthly cocktails, The Flitch of Bacon is one of the county’s leading restaurants and with the chance to stay over, it’s the perfect place to escape to.

7) Strattons Hotel

Ash Close, Swaffham, Norfolk PE37 7NH | 01760 723845

Strattons is an award-winning boutique hotel, restaurant and cafe deli offering cool contemporary style with originality. It is hidden in the historic market town of Swaffham and located in the beautiful Norfolk countryside, not far from the North Norfolk coastline. Enjoy a delightful afternoon tea, a light lunch from the cafe deli or a delicious dinner in the chic restaurant.

To stay, choose from one of the 14 individual, sumptuous, eclectic bedrooms and suites with maybe a carved four-poster bed, a free-standing bath at the foot of the bed with room for two, a Moroccan¬style tented ceiling, a mermaid mosaic, a cow hide or two, a huge private decked balcony or a cinema screen.

8) The White House

Smiths Green, Dunmow Road, Takeley, Hertfordshire, CM22 6NR | 01279 870257

The White House is a delightful, historical manor house dating back to the 15th century and, while coming highly recommended by the AA with four gold stars for its outstanding facilities, guests will not be disappointed. Despite its convenience to Stansted Airport, The White House is set in an acre of serene gardens and is actually an oasis of calm for those about to prepare for a busy flight.

To ease pre-travel stress, staff at The White House can even help with issues such as airport transfers. Owner Mike Shields also runs The Lion and Lamb just down the road in Little Canfield. Open seven days a week with all its traditional country charm, The Lion and Lamb is well worth a visit, be it for a taste of the wine menu, a sample of the freshly prepared food or just for the friendly front of house service.

Roslin Beach Hotel

Roslin Beach Hotel - Credit: Archant

9) Roslin Beach Hotel

10 to 14 Thorpe Esplanade, Southend on Sea, Essex SS1 3BG | 01702 586375

Situated in a quiet location opposite an award-winning beach in Southend on Sea, sits the AA four star Roslin Beach Hotel. There are 58 bedrooms ranging from standard through to luxurious executive rooms with stunning sea views and all with free wifi. During your stay, why not relax at the Roslin Retreat, where you can enjoy luxurious treatments by Elemis Thalgo and OPI, or work out in the fully equipped gym?

The hotel offers a diverse mix of hospitality, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a fun-filled break with the family or a business stay. All requirements can be catered for, from conferences to weddings, and from formal sit down dinners to fantastic buffets – not forgetting superb Sunday lunches and afternoon teas. Why not take the chance to enjoy the AA Rosette main restaurant, the Tides Ballroom or even al fresco on our terrace?

Suffolk Secrets

Suffolk Secrets - Credit: Archant

10) Suffolk Secrets

01502 722717

Whatever the occasion, there’s a growing trend to ditch the traditional party with buffet, bar and disco in favour of a celebratory weekend getaway with a select few guests. An indulgent short break in stylish accommodation with great food and a few treats and activities along the way provides lasting memories of any special occasion, and local holiday cottage agency Suffolk Secrets is well prepared for the rise in demand.

There are plenty of fabulous houses for 10 guests or more in the Suffolk Secrets portfolio, which has also joined forces with several local suppliers to bring guests a variety of ‘holiday extras’. Why not add a personal chef to cook a special meal, spa treatments and wine deliveries, or more energetic activities such as sailing experiences, kayak tours and golf packages to make your time away extra special?


Greyfriars - Credit: Archant

11) The Ship at Dunwich

St James Street, Dunwich, Suffolk, IP17 3DT | 01728 648219

The Ship at Dunwich isn’t just a great place to eat, drink, relax and get away from it all – it’s also part of a great story too. Set in a quiet, idyllic village, surrounded by nature reserves, heathland and beach, only the romantic ruins of Dunwich monastery remain to hint at the fate of this once thriving medieval port, which was claimed by the waves during a terrible storm. It’s said you can still hear the peal of the church bells beneath the waves – but whether you hear the bells or not, there is much to enjoy about a stay at The Ship.

Guests will find real ales, real food and a real fire, plus comfortable, traditionally furnished rooms, some with views across the sea or marshes. Other features include an enormous garden, dotted with fruit trees (including a 300 year old fig tree) and a beach that really is just a couple of minutes’ walk away. Whether you want to use it as a base to explore this wild and wonderful coastline, enjoy some of the best fish and chips on the coast or simply indulge in a pint or two of Adnams, The Ship extends the warmest of welcomes.

12) Greyfriars

High Street, Colchester CO1 1UG | 01206 575913

GreyFriars is an exquisite, Michelin recommended, four star luxury hotel with a superb restaurant and lavish lounge bars which opened in Colchester in 2015. Beautifully appointed with the customer’s comfort and convenience in mind, GreyFriars offers five star service, cosy Club rooms, larger Classic rooms and spacious luxury suites. GreyFriars is a destination in its own right, and the perfect place to stay when visiting Colchester, Constable Country or this beautiful part of East Anglia.

All day dining alongside a fine selection of spirits, wines, Champagne and cocktails is available in the comfortable Baroque Bar, Cigar Lounge or Terrace (weather permitting) seven days a week. A table d’hôte and a la carte menu is served in the Cloisters restaurant for lunch and dinner, also seven days a week.


Follow Essex Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram