Pete Thompson: My 5 favourite things in Essex at Christmas

Frinton on Sea (photo: Pete Thompson)

Frinton on Sea (photo: Pete Thompson) - Credit: Archant

Pete Thompson, from family farm George Thompson Ltd in Great Oakley, picks five things he loves to do in Essex at Christmas

Pete Thompson

Pete Thompson - Credit: Archant

My Favourite Essex Christmas Walk

We always try to get out of the house around Christmas as a family, as it is a good way to clear the head. One place we always head to on Boxing Day is Wrabness, which is such a contrast to other areas around Colchester and somewhere you can get back to nature and the wild. Another staple of the Christmas season is to visit Frinton on Sea as part of our New Year’s Day celebrations and have a walk along the beach.


The Sun Inn in Dedham (photo: Pete Thompson)

The Sun Inn in Dedham (photo: Pete Thompson) - Credit: Archant

My Favourite Essex Christmas Memory

It has to be an amazing night we had at The Sun Inn at Dedham, which was one of those evenings you just don’t see coming. There was a power cut and they only had a hob to cook on, so the team told us to grab a drink and bear with them while they sorted everything out. The chefs still managed to serve up delicious food by candlelight, which just goes to show how talented they are. It was a great night where everyone just came together as one. You had customers behind the bar and staff having drinks with us outside, it will live long in the memory.


The Mistley Thorn (photo: Pete Thompson)

The Mistley Thorn (photo: Pete Thompson) - Credit: Archant

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My Favourite Essex Christmas Day Out

Christmas is a great time to get out and help local businesses that rely on us, especially in the current climate. I hope people remember these small businesses who have kept us going and will struggle without our support. As a family we always make the effort to visit the Christmas markets in Harwich and Colchester. Another yearly pilgrimage is to the Mercury Theatre’s panto, as luckily our boys are yet to decide that they are too old for it.


The Alma Inn at Harwich (photo: Pete Thompson)

The Alma Inn at Harwich (photo: Pete Thompson) - Credit: Archant

My Favourite Essex Christmas Restaurant

It is so hard to pick just one as we supply so many brilliant local restaurants. However, a lot of my recent milestone moments, like birthdays, celebrations, and Christmas get-togethers, have all been spent at the Mistley Thorn. It is a restaurant where I genuinely cannot remember having a bad plate of food over the years. It may not be the most ‘Christmassy’ dish, but you can’t go there and not have their delicious seafood.


My Favourite Essex Christmas Event

Christmas for me has always involved a night at the Alma Inn in Harwich. You never know what you are going to find when you get there or what will happen over the course of the night. Unfortunately, I can’t always remember too many, but we really do have such a lovely affinity with the place. In fact, during lockdown when it was forced to close, we had a lot of the chefs and bar staff come and work on the farm during our busiest time.


Pete Thompson is the managing director of George Thompson Ltd, a third-generation family-run farm in Great Oakley. It supplies crops for food sellers across the UK and is the market leader in specialist products for the oriental food service sector. The farm also produces Cotchel Juice, Reliquum Spirits, British Baijiu and fruit and vegetable boxes. Pete lives with his wife, Justine, and his two boys, Fin and Cody, and spends his free time outdoors enjoying wildlife, kayaking and foraging.

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