Uncovering the secrets of Essex: A must-have staycationer’s guide to the region

Exterior shot of the Mill hotel with river and trees in front at Surya Hotels, Essex

Surya Hotels have a number of charming places to stay spread throughout Essex, from central Colchester to the Clacton coast. - Credit: Surya Hotels

How much do you know about Essex and have you considered holidaying there before?  

You may be surprised to learn it’s the perfect getaway for a romantic escape, family retreat or coastal break.  

Whether you’re staying in the vibrant centre of Colchester amongst its historic sites and lively atmosphere, or hiding away in the coastal gem that’s Clacton-on-Sea – there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy in this scenic county.  

To help you plan an idyllic trip we chat to Kiran Dulai, marketing director at Surya Hotels. The hotel group offer a selection of boutique places to stay, dine and relax throughout Essex. Below, she reveals the region’s best-kept secrets and why it’s such a popular destination for many UK tourists. 

An en-suite room in the George Hotel at Surya Hotels, Essex

The George has a number of gorgeous suites available, perfect for families and couples. - Credit: © Richard Blaxall / Photerior 2021

Q: What makes Essex such a great place for a staycation? 

A: There are several reasons why people love to visit Essex and the surrounding counties for a long weekend or quick break – what really draws people in are the locations. We have a number of hotels in some truly stunning areas with plenty to do for families and couples.  

The Kingscliff hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the Clacton pier, which has a plethora of rides, entertainment, and food and drink stalls. It’s a wonderful place to be during the summer and offers an amazing atmosphere for children and adults.

Colchester is one of the most vibrant towns in Essex, with plenty of shops, lively restaurants and charming pubs lining the high street. For those interested in experiencing the history of one of the oldest towns in the country, the castle and Roman museums are a fantastic, family-friendly day out. 

Further afield, in the idyllic rural areas of the Essex-Suffolk border, there are some wonderful country walks. It’s perfect for staycationers who are taking their dogs along with them.  

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Q: How would you describe the style and atmosphere of your Essex hotels? 

A: Each place has a unique décor and individual character, largely influenced by their respective locations. We’ve recently refurbished three of our hotels: 

  • The George Hotel – an iconic building in central Colchester with over 500 years of history. The George has a very contemporary feel with a stylish bar, lounge and restaurant area, while the rooms still retain the charm of ages past. 
  • The Kingscliff Hotel – built to complement the natural light flooding in from the seaside, the Kingscliff boasts sweeping sea views and a soothing powder blue colour scheme. The restaurant provides fresh local seafood and open spaces to take in the sea air. 
  • The Mill Hotel – nestled on the riverbank on the site of an old watermill, this hotel combines modern amenities with traditional comfort. A brand-new roof terrace will be available to guests on the Easter bank holiday weekend. The Mill is a favourite of guests longing for a quintessential British, country holiday. 
Kingscliff Hotel - Holland-on-Sea, Essex - 08/03/2022 - Photo: Richard Blaxall / Photerior

The Kingscliff hotel has opened an exclusive dining pod, offering bottomless brunches and afternoon teas with a sea view. - Credit: Richard Blaxall / Photerior 2022

Q: What food and drink options are there at your Essex venues? 

A: Our seasonal dishes are a real attraction, as the menus at each hotel are unique and offer something different. We consider our cuisine to be classic British food with a modern twist, often influenced by the surrounding area, using locally sourced ingredients. 

All of our restaurants and lounge areas host live music and events throughout the year. These are often centred on the current season or particular dates around the calendar, including outdoor summer BBQs, Mother’s Day specials or Easter Sunday lunches to name but a few. 

Our chefs can also get creative with their cooking, providing internationally inspired fusion dishes and tapas on certain days of the week. We also offer separate vegan and gluten-free menus, with a range of options to suit a variety of palates. 

Q: What choice of rooms will people have when staycationing in Essex? 

A: There’s a real mixture of rooms at our venues, which is perfect for the varying requirements of our guests. Whether you’re travelling down for a single night on business, or bringing the whole family for a week-long staycation, there are plenty of comfortable guest rooms to choose from. 

At the Mill, we have dog-friendly rooms where people can bring their pets overnight. The George has some extremely fancy suites that have been individually designed with the history of the building in mind. Kingscliff has standard single rooms for business travellers, all the way up to spacious family rooms that can accommodate parents and kids. 

Our spring and summer staycation package allows our guests to stay up to two nights for free if booking an extended stay – this offer covers all of our hotels in Essex and elsewhere, and includes breakfast every morning as well as free Wi-Fi and parking. 

For more information on the spring and summer staycation packages, or to book your stay at one of the hotels, visit suryahotels.co.uk.