Spotlight on Maldon: Where to eat, sleep and shop and things to do
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A guide to Maldon, Essex: best restaurants, things to do, property for sale and places to stay. Words by Sybilla Hart.
Maldon, known worldwide for its high-quality salt, is an Essex town almost as ancient as Colchester.
Picture-postcard pretty, the famous view of the Hythe Quay, once a separate hamlet and important port, is now home to a host of lovely old Thames barges.
Adjacent to the quay is Promenade Park, which was built more than a century ago and peppered with mature trees and an ornamental lake.
St Mary’s Church, dating way back to the 12th century, perfects the picture and is well worth a visit.
With this in mind, it is easy to see why Maldon was recently voted one of the top 40 places to live in the UK. Why don't you see for your self?
Six things to do in Maldon
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1. Visit an island
For anyone visiting Maldon, a trip on board a boat is the icing on the cake.
Forty-minute excursions with Northey Island on the menu are available to book through Viking Saga river trips.
In normal times, you queue up at the jetty, there is no need to book and it costs £8 for an adult and £4 for a child.
Unfortunately, these trips did not resume this year but there are high hopes for 2022.
There is also a longer ninety-minute excursion featuring Osea Island and booking is essential. To reserve a seat, call 01621 843334, 07766 480793 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Go sailing on a barge
The Thames Sailing Barge Trust takes small groups on half-day and full-day sails (as well as weekend and charter ones too).
Sailing trips can accommodate up to twelve people and all monies go directly to the charity that funds the maintenance of its two barges.
Traditionally, barges had the important job of transporting hay and straw for the large number of horses in London.
More more information on trips, visit bargetrust.org
3. Take a river trip
Topsail Charters has resumed its river trips and these vary in length.
They depart from Cooks Yard at Hythe Quay. You can book an overnight stay or afternoon tea on the vintage sailing barges - there are so many options to choose from.
Public trips available to book include bird-watching trips up the River Colne, a Suffolk Rivers Day cruise up to Pin Mill and even a trip to London where you can witness Tower Bridge being opened in your honour!
Why not surprise someone special with a gift voucher for the ultimate nautical Christmas present?
If you really want to push the boat out, you can book a Topsail Charter for your wedding reception; it has the capacity to hold up to 50 guests.
For more information, visit top-sail.co.uk
4. Splash about at Splash Park
Back on terra firma, there is plenty to discover and do in Maldon.
During the summer, the Splash Park at Promenade Park will keep children busy.
Unfortunately, this didn’t open this summer (in part due to ‘mechanical issues’) but in normal times a 25-minute session costs £3.25.
Stay updated at visitmaldon.co.uk
5.Visit Promenade Park
Families will love the galleon wooden boat playhouse, a sandpit (located at one end of the ornamental lake) and the 19-hole Pirate’s Bay adventure golf, not to mention a petting zoo and beach houses available for hire.
These cost £45 per day and overlook all of the above (but be warned, it’s not an actual beach!)
For more information visit visitmaldon.co.uk
6. Beeleigh Abby
No visit to Maldon would be complete without a trip to nearby Beeleigh Abbey, which dates back to the 12th century.
The glorious gardens situated on the banks of the River Chelmer are open to the public on selected days throughout the year from April to September.
For more information visit visitmaldon.co.uk
Where to Shop in Maldon
This summer and autumn, independent book sellers Maldon Books, (having just opened a flagship shop on the High Street three months before the first lockdown) took to Promenade Park with its very own Book Hut.
This provided a very welcome opportunity for a spot of retail therapy and browsing al fresco.
To see Maldon Books in the flesh, head over to the High Street and check out the pretty bay-fronted shop.
Address: 23 High St, Maldon CM9 5PE
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 11am-4pm
Best Restaurants in Maldon
Along the High Street, Mrs Salisbury’s Famous Tea Rooms is not to be missed.
Consider it the ultimate lunchtime treat, indulge in a fresh cream pavlova with berry compote or salted caramel brownie after a baked potato, gastro sandwich or omelette.
Cafe Brazil is also much feted, specialising in South American cuisine.
Head to the Queen Victoria pub for one of the best dining experiences in Maldon. Located on Spital Road, the pub apparently serves the best fresh fish and chips.
Where to Stay in Maldon
If you decide to make a holiday of it, check into 32 The Hythe B&B, a spotless and extended fisherman’s cottage that serves up one of the best breakfasts in town.
Rooms vary in price depending on occupancy but start at £90 per night and have both river and church views.
Book at thehythemaldon.co.uk
Situated on Market Hill, The Limes by Luigi has lots of excellent reviews and manages to combine characterful charm with high standards.
Book at thelimesmaldon.co.uk
For those who love a bit of history and olde-worlde charm, check out The Blue Boar on Silver Street.
It used to be owned by the local de Vere family of Castle Hedingham and dates back to 1400.
Book at blueboarmaldon.co.uk
If you want your very own space, dog-friendly Clovelly Cottage is available to rent and is set in an idyllic spot at Heybridge Basin.
Book it through cottages.com in advance as it is hugely popular - it has a rating of 9.9!
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