8 of the best places for a short break in and around Essex

PUBLISHED: 17:01 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 14 February 2018

Down Hall Hotel (c) Andrew Sweeney, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Down Hall Hotel (c) Andrew Sweeney, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

(c) A. Sweeney Photography http://www.ASweeneyPhotos.com

Whether you’re staying within the confines of Essex or straying out into Suffolk or Norfolk, these places are ideal for a short break that’s a short drive away

1) Prested Hall

Tucked away in a world of its own, down a long, tree-lined drive is the 15th century manor house of Prested Hall. All 16 boutique¬styled bedrooms have Egyptian cotton sheets, big fluffy pillows and thoughtful extra touches like home-baked shortbread.

Relax with a Feelgood Friday overnight stay including a Champagne afternoon tea on arrival and a two-course dinner in the hall for just £180. Guests can also enjoy full use of the health club next door, complete with 20m pool, sauna and steam room, and receive 20% off all treatments at the Elemis spa.

Prested HallPrested Hall

2) Wivenhoe House

Once painted by Constable, Wivenhoe House is the perfect place for a short break this winter. The surrounding parkland offers plenty of room to explore with walking trails set up throughout the grounds and beyond. Located just outside of Colchester, Wivenhoe House is close to the pretty fishing village of Wivenhoe and can be used as the ideal base to explore the Discovery Coast.

Winter offers are available between January and March and include an overnight stay, three-course dinner, full English breakfast and a traditional afternoon tea! Prices start from just £72.50 per person per night.

Wivenhoe HouseWivenhoe House


Check out these other places to visit!


3) Wakes Hall Lodges

Wakes Hall Lodges has become increasingly popular as a luxury holiday destination in the beautiful Colne Valley of North Essex. Set within a secret ancient meadow, surrounded by undulating countryside, the lodges are approached by a private driveway through meadows and woodland.

Boasting quality interiors and energy saving features, the objective is simple – to create a place to stay as comfortable if not more comfortable than being at home, all in a peaceful and tranquil environment. Guests can enjoy extensive walks, fish in the lake or simply relax in their own private hot tub.

Wakes Hall LodgesWakes Hall Lodges

4) The Suffolk Escape

The Suffolk Escape offers four luxury, self catering log cabins. The Sheepyard Barn is a latest, unique, luxury self-catering barn set 1 mile from the road and is the perfect setting for family holidays or a large group of friends looking for a relaxing, luxury escape with indoor swimming pool and hot tub.

The barn sleeps up to 12 guests and features a large, open-plan living space with stunning views over rolling hills with a modern rustic design. There are 4 en suite bedrooms including a cool bunk room, a large, well equipped kitchen, a home cinema system, a wood fired pizza oven, outdoor lounge, hammocks and a separate kids play/TV room which can also sleep two.

Suffolk EscapeSuffolk Escape

5) Strattons Hotel

Hidden in the historic market town of Swaffham, Strattons is an award-winning boutique hotel, restaurant and cafe deli offering cool contemporary style with originality. Enjoy afternoon tea and cocktails by the fire, a light lunch from the cafe deli or a delicious dinner in the chic restaurant. Stay in one of the 14 individual, sumptuous and eclectic bedrooms, featuring maybe a Jacobean four¬poster bed, an open fire, a freestanding bath at the foot of the bed with room for two, original period features or a huge decked balcony.

Swaffham is a bustling Norfolk town located in the beautiful Brecks countryside with 370sq miles of forest, heath and farmland. Strattons sits in a quiet, concealed yet central private close in the town, an ideal base from which to explore the Brecks, Norwich and the North Norfolk coast – if, that is, you can tear yourself away from the hotel with its luxurious tranquillity and delicious food.

Strattons HotelStrattons Hotel

6) Hintlesham Hall

Hintlesham Hall has to be one of the most beautiful Country House Hotels in Suffolk. In the most amazing rural setting, the hotel offers 32 individually-designed bedrooms and suites, making it an ideal destination for a short winter break. Including relaxed dining with afternoon tea and Sunday lunches, Hintlesham Hall is also a food lover’s delight.

With its beautifully laid table, overlooking the gardens, the main Hotel Restaurant is a truly unrivalled setting. The restaurant has been awarded two prestigious AA Rosettes in recognition of the high standard of cuisine on offer and open to hotel guests as well as the general public. Hintlesham Hall is also home to a beautiful Elemis spa located in the hotel grounds.

The spa has three, soothing treatment rooms, manicure and pedicure stations, a relaxation lounge plus a quaint outdoor terrace with a Jacuzzi. It’s ideal for gathering a group of friends together for a birthday treat or a surprise for a bride to make for a most memorable and relaxing overnight break.

Hintlesham HallHintlesham Hall

7) Down Hall Country House Hotel

Located just 45 minutes from the centre of London, this well established Italianate manor dates as far back as 1322. Surrounded by 110 acres of woodland, parkland and gardens, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Whether you’re staying in one of their 98 beautifully appointed rooms, enjoying a classic Sunday lunch in the grill room or taking in the much-loved English tradition of afternoon tea, Down Hall will provide you with a classically rural getaway.

Down Hall HotelDown Hall Hotel

8) The Pier at Harwich

The Pier at Harwich is a small hotel but a very special destination for lovers of great food and drink. The Pier restaurant on the first floor offers spectacular views over the Stour and Orwell estuaries, with banquettes and stunning pewter bar amid an interior described as being, ‘a marriage of industrial elements and stylish interiors’.

During the warmer weather, soak up the sun on the outside balcony. The Pier menu takes full advantage of the freshest fish and shellfish landed on the harbour wall, just 20 feet from the door. Classically inspired brasserie dishes sit alongside an almost exclusively European wine list.

The restaurant is open all day, either book online or turn up when you’re ready - an added bonus if you are arriving by sea. Downstairs, the destination NAVYÄRD bar and terrace serves Nordic style small plates as well as great coffee, beer, cocktails and 101 gins in an extensive gin library.

The Pier at HarwichThe Pier at Harwich


Follow Essex Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Latest from the Essex Life