Visit the Saltmarsh Coast in winter and you’ll experience one of the UK’s most intriguing and inspiring stretches of coastline.
Explore 75 miles of unspoilt coastline where the Maldon District meets the sea. The Saltmarsh Coast is a very different kind of shore – rich in bird life and rare marshland plants and curving around two river estuaries where historic Thames Barges still spread their russet sails.
The cooler months of the year are perfect for exploring the Maldon District and its unique heritage – including the town of Maldon itself, where a bronze statue of Saxon hero Byrhtnoth guards the popular Promenade Park, watching, sword raised, for Viking threats from the sea. This compact market town, given a Royal Charter by Henry II in 1171 but inhabited since the Iron Age, has five Grade I Listed buildings at its heart, plus independent shops, ancient coaching inns and fine restaurants.
Around the coast is the yachting centre of Burnham-on-Crouch, home of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club with its stunning 1930s architecture. Then following the River Crouch inland you’ll find marinas large and small, some offering charters and wildlife trips.
In the other direction stands one of the oldest churches in Britain, St Peter-on-the-Wall, which has overlooked the sea for more than 1,300 years. The shell beach below is a nature reserve, where around 20,000 wading birds roost and create incredible murmurations in winter.
It’s in these wild places that the magic of the Maldon District’s coastline can be found – visit on a misty morning and you’ll get a flavour of why its mysterious marshes are such a draw for filmmakers. The tidal causeway to Osea Island featured in The Third Day with Jude Law and The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe, while the untouched saltmarshes of North Fambridge and Tollesbury set the scene for gothic drama The Essex Serpent with Claire Danes and Tom Hiddlestone.
Serious walkers can appreciate the full flavour of the Saltmarsh Coast by following The Saltmarsh Trail; a 75-mile hike that navigates the Maldon District’s entire coastline.
But there’s no need to go to such lengths – Visit Maldon District has created gentler walks, under the ‘Walk it Local’ banner, that give a taste of the scenery through two-to-three-mile strolls taking in great local businesses to stop for a pint of locally brewed ale, a glass of wine from one of the area’s many vineyards, or hearty local food. The Maldon District may be famous for Tiptree Jam and Maldon Salt, but there are local producers right across the area waiting to make your visit extra special.
The Maldon District is only 40 miles from London, but a world away – and with so much to offer in the winter months why not stay a little longer?
Travel inspiration: Essex hotels
More information at visitmaldondistrict.co.uk or on socials at @visitmaldondistrict.
For more ideas for things to do on the coast, read our top 10 things to do in February 2023.