Much to do this May on Mersea Island

PUBLISHED: 09:51 28 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:51 28 April 2014




With two Bank Holidays and the brighter weather, May is a month of much promise. Lily Floyd reveals why Mersea Island is the perfect place to visit as thoughts turn to holidays and day trips


Mersea Island is the most easterly inhabited island in the UK. Located around eight miles from Colchester, Mersea Island is situated between the estuaries of the Colne and Blackwater rivers. Despite its size, this unique place boasts a population of around 7,000 people with West Mersea as the main urban centre and East Mersea offering more rural surroundings.

This month, this gem of the Essex coast will host a variety of spectacular events which will attract local residents and visitors, all very welcome to enjoy the engaging atmosphere and scenery of the island. The Mersea Island Food, Drink & Leisure Festival is an event which combines the best of local food and drink with a celebration of the people and places that make Mersea Island the distinctive town it is today. Being hosted for the sixth year at the Mersea Island Vineyard, the festival presents local food and drink, arts, crafts, home furnishings, items for the garden, music, dance and entertainment for everybody to enjoy.

Festival organiser and local resident, Beverly Perkins, explains why Mersea is an island that has an unique identity. ‘The last couple of years we have seen between 6,000 and 8,000 visitors come to our event. It is rare to have a community occasion like this, where you bring together different aspects and it reflects the whole community. We are proud to support local groups, while offering a fun-filled weekend for friends and families in the lovely setting of a working vineyard and micro-brewery.’

This free event takes place over the spring Bank Holiday on May 24 and 25 
at The Mersea Island Vineyard in East Mersea. During the day the festival will host a variety of activities including a food theatre, which comprises cookery demonstrations, tasting and skills workshops. A variety of music will also 
be played over the weekend, including an A to Z of musical local talent that will represent every genre from folk to jazz. Children can enjoy free craft activities, a bouncy castle, face painting, storytelling sessions hosted by local author Veronique Eckstein and art activities with the theme of Pirates & Princesses.

Now established as an annual event, the festival will provide food for any palette, from oysters to pies, plus a traditional hog roast and exotic Asian, Caribbean and Indian dishes. Talented artists and craftspeople will be displaying their goods including clothing, jewellery, painted furniture, driftwood art and much more.

Beverly adds: ‘We normally accommodate 18 to 20 charity groups, which have raised more than £30,000 over the last five years. This money has been raised by local charities and community groups, and every penny is spent to provide support to Mersea residents.’ But there is more than one reason to visit Mersea Island this month.

Over May 2 to 4, the Cosmic Puffin Festival is a not-for-profit music event which features bands, performers, artists and traders, each giving up their time for free to help local and national charities.

Jamie Anderson, founder of the Cosmic Puffin Festival, started this charitable event seven years ago after his friend’s daughter had been taken very ill and spent three to four days in a critical condition.

Jamie says: ‘I’m really happy how this festival is slowly growing and everyone always comes back. However, there is more of a buzz this year, so I’m hoping more locals will attend. I would love for the maximum capacity of 1,000 people to come, as this means £50,000 will be raised for all the chosen charities, which is fantastic.’

Based at Mersea Youth Camp in East Mersea, the festival will support Bliss (the special baby care charity), The National Autistic Society for people with autism and Asperger syndrome and ALDLife (a support group for patients and families affected by Adrenoleukodystrophy or Adrenomyeloneuropathy). The festival will also support the Help Roxi Walk Appeal, which is helping to raise funds for the daughter of one member from one of the long-standing guest bands, to enable her to have an operation.

Jamie adds: ‘We are helping to support someone who has played at every festival we have hosted. His daughter needs an operation in America, which is going to cost £50,000, and £30,000 has been raised so far. It’s payback for all of his help and support for the festival.’

The month of May is certainly a special time for this special part of Essex according to Peter Clements MBE, the town mayor. Peter has lived in Mersea for more than 40 years and says: ‘The community is very close and caring, although residents do have remarkably varied interests. There is something for everyone and there are indeed many exciting events happening over the next couple of months — I certainly won’t be missing them. They are all fantastic, as they are created for everyone to have fun, with a little gentle charitable fund raising.’

Mersea Island Food, Drink & Leisure Festival

Mersea Island Vineyard

East Mersea


01206 382572

07912 582030

Admission is free and the event runs from 11am to 5pm

Cosmic Puffin Festival

Mersea Youth Camp

essex Outdoors

Rewsalls La

East Mersea




An adult weekend ticket is £47.50 and a teen weekender ticket is £32.50. Day tickets cost £28.15 for adults and £11.75 for teen tickets.

More from Out & About

Of all Britain’s coastal counties, Essex can surely claim to be one of the best. With more than 350 miles of shoreline to choose from, the Essex coast is very much what you make of it, so even on those days when you’re planning a little run out to the seaside and want more than just the beach, Essex has the answer

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

We’ve put together 15 questions that will push your knowledge of Essex to the limit - let us know how you’ve done on social media!

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From James Bond to Batman, Essex has been known to bask in a little Hollywood glitz. Here are 19 that have used our county’s incredible locations on the big screen

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Spend Halloween hunting down ghouls and ghosts in the county’s most haunted places and spaces. We pick 10 absolutely terrifying locations to visit this October.

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Chelmsford is on the rise, blossoming from its city status. One iconic landmark which has been part of the landscape for 300 years, and is also enjoying a renaissance, is Hylands House. Petra Hornsby reveals more

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Laurie Page of the Public Rights of Way Team at Essex County Council shares with us this beautiful six-mile walk around Bradwell’s stunning coastal delights

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

With one of the warmest and driest summers on record, this year has been a difficult one for gardeners. Susie Bulman from The Beth Chatto Gardens at Elmstead Market shares some top tips for plant survival, even in these conditions

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Our county’s remaining windmills stand the test of time as a tribute to a bygone era. Mica Bale highlights some of the best examples in Essex

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Whether you’re looking for a memorable day trip or an impromptu weekend getaway, Essex is a perfect patchwork of all the little things we love about Britain. Proudly showcasing the charm of the county, we pick 13 towns you must visit when planning a trip to Essex

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

This walk from the town of Bures on the Essex and Suffolk border leads you through the Essex countryside to the little villages of Alphamstone and Lamarsh | Words and photos: Laurie Page Public Rights of Way Team at Essex County Council

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search