Gina Gardiner’s 5 Favourite Essex Things

PUBLISHED: 10:11 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:11 21 October 2014





Gina Gardiner is founder of Gina Gardiner Associates and is a leading business and life coach, inspirational leader, mentor, author and international speaker. Gina now lives in Ardleigh, having spent more than 20 years in the Romford area, where she worked as a primary school head teacher, and obtained national acclaim from Ofsted. Gina’s three published ‘self-empowerment’ books include Chariots on Fire; Creating the Positive Advantage, How to Kick Start Your Career and How You Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively.

My favourite Essex garden… Beth Chatto Gardens

I never get bored of visiting the gardens of Beth Chatto, in Elmstead Market. As a keen gardener myself, I am always inspired by the changes that take place season by season. And, as a season ticket holder, I get to appreciate those changes whether that’s in the midst of winter to see the architectural gardens or in the summer when the roses are in full bloom. Some gardens don’t feel very personal, but the gardens here are well thought out with ideas that make you feel are possible to replicate. They also sell wonderful gluten-free cakes, with a nice cup of tea, which you can enjoy in the tea garden.

My favourite Essex place… the seaside between Holland on Sea and Clacton

Away from the hustle and bustle of the seaside town, I appreciate being by the sea. I enjoy the peace and quiet and the solitude. It might sound strange, but I also like to look at the wind farm, from one direction it looks like there is only one turbine and yet if you shift a little you can see there are more.

My favourite Essex restaurant… The Boathouse, Dedham

Not only does the Boathouse serve great food, but the service is super; they give you plenty of attention without being in your face. I’d go as far as to say it’s consistently good, which I think is rare these days. I especially like the fact that they cater for special dietary needs without fuss, and they know what they are talking about when it comes to the ingredients and food preparation. It also has a super atmosphere and offers lovely views across the Stour Valley.

My favourite Essex hotel… De Rougemont Manor, Brentwood

It’s a little known fact that the family-run De Rougemont Manor has a nature reserve in its grounds, which incidentally is amazing in its own right. The hotel itself is like being home from home with a bit of luxury thrown in. The service is very personal and although I’ve stayed there numerous times, I always feel the staff go that extra mile.

My favourite best kept Essex secret… Upminster Complementary Healing & Teaching Sanctuary

Nestled between Upminster and the M25 is my little oasis of tranquillity. Here, Julia Massey (my favourite Essex ‘not a celebrity but ought to be’ as she has a heart the size of a cabbage) and her team take care of my every whim. At the sanctuary, I particularly enjoy a massage and have reflexology treatments but the centre has so much more to help restore one’s ailments. The therapy rooms are beautiful and above these is a teaching room where Julia delivers workshops on complementary therapies. I don’t think the Upminster Sanctuary is particularly well known, but it really ought to be and I’m looking forward to my next visit!

Latest from the Essex Life