Five Essex Things with Oliver Brown

PUBLISHED: 09:46 30 June 2015 | UPDATED: 09:46 30 June 2015

Oliver Brown

Oliver Brown


Oliver Brown is the general manager of Wivenhoe House in Colchester. Here he picks five of his favourite things about Essex


Oliver Brown has moved with his family to Essex from Hampton in West London to take up the role of general manager at Wivenhoe House, Colchester’s four-star country house hotel and restaurant. Oliver has worked in the hotel business in London for more than 20 years, most recently as general manager of a boutique hotel in the heart of Mayfair. He is enjoying his new life in the country, while at the same time maintaining his top London contacts to ensure hotel guests and undergraduates at the Edge Hotel School based at the hotel can benefit from the best in the business. When not at work, Oliver likes to explore North Essex and enjoys walking with his wife, children and dog.

My favourite walk

The Wivenhoe Trail

I don’t get much time to escape from the hotel, but I have managed to sneak out to Wivenhoe once or twice in the name of research! The Wivenhoe Trail takes me down to the town and the pretty quay side. It’s a great route, along the river bank, passing fields and through woodland, just meeting an occasional rambler or two. You probably see more wildlife than people! I’ve spotted herons, waterfowl and, of course, a rabbit or two.

My favourite sound


We have moved to Dedham and, after the hustle and bustle of London, to be able to hear the birds is mesmerising. We have a pair of skylarks who seem to enjoy singing and flying around the back garden and a young pheasant who has made himself at home in the lane. The skies in Essex appear vast and I can see exactly why the birds have turned it into their playground.

My favourite view

Flatford Mill

I am quickly becoming an art addict and on my days off head over to Flatford Mill with my wife, two girls and our three-legged springer spaniel to blow away the cobwebs and just take in the amazing scenery. I think I will always find it incredible that these landscapes, made famous all over the world by John Constable, are right on our doorstep. Constable also painted Wivenhoe House and I can understand exactly what attracted him to Wivenhoe Park.

My favourite takeaway

Fish and chips in Frinton

This one is easy! My girls love the beach down there and are always ecstatic when we suggest heading to the coast and grabbing fish and chips from the van that comes to the seafront. We love the atmosphere in this town and the colourful beach huts. I’ve also got my eye on playing the golf course there, but I think I will need more practice first.

My favourite activity

University of Essex Squash Club

With no time for golf yet, I’ve returned to playing squash at the University of Essex sports centre. I like to keep fit and in my line of work there is always the temptation to eat too much, so I exercise whenever I can. The squash club is very popular and the league is quite competitive, but I’ve met some fantastic people and won a game or two. Since we arrived in Essex everyone has been so friendly and welcoming to all of us and we are looking forward to exploring even further and finding some more favourite things.

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