If you’re itching to get out for some fresh sea air and a change of scene, just beyond Chelmsford, Maldon is an ideal, low-key destination.
You might know of Maldon from the beautifully flaky sea salt, but this ancient town is well worth a visit in its own right. What also makes it ideal for current requirements is its wide open spaces. We parked in the town (you can see options here) and walked down to the Hythe Quay at the mouth of the River Chelmer on the broad, sweeping Blackwater estuary. On a sunny Saturday, although a lot of people were out, there was plenty of space for everyone.
As well as the waterside walks, there is Promenade Park which features play areas, boating lake, beach huts, sandpit and toilet facilities. Certain areas are closed off due to the pandemic, but the food and drink kiosks were open and there’s a tempting oyster and seafood bar open at weekends (don’t forget that Mersea Island is only a few miles away with its famous Colchester Native oysters). Reassuringly, marshals were patrolling the public areas to ensure social distancing.
This once-thriving port is great for exploring and there are several heritage walks you can upload online here. We didn’t have long, so sat by the waterfront with our flask of coffee before walking to the far end to the imposing statue of Byrhtnoth who was slain in the Battle of Maldon in 991 defending the town against Viking raiders.
Even with limited facilities, Maldon is ideal for a coastal day-out and only an hour’s drive from Barnet. Just pack a picnic and a rug (and face-mask, wipes, sanitiser – your standard Covid kit).