It is odd that Mersea, Britain’s most easterly inhabited island, is not more of a household name, given the reputation of its oysters. Cultivated in these Essex creeks since Roman times, Colchester oysters make their way into the kitchens of everyone from Gordon Ramsay to The Ritz, though they are best eaten fresh here.
Mudflats, bleakly beautiful in a certain light, cling to the island, which sits in the estuary of the Colne and Blackwater rivers. There’s a dark blonde beach backed by a strip of pastel huts, good spots to swim and a windsurfing club. More beaches can be found in the Cudmore Grove country park.
Each August, more than 200 boats take part in a regatta, which includes watersports in the afternoon, fireworks at night and the Cobmarsh marathon rowing races.
Where to stay:
Waldegraves Holiday Park offers camping, caravan pitches and mobile homes, and has a heated outdoor pool, a restaurant and entertainment (waldegraves.co.uk
; from £299 for four nights in a gold standard mobile home in summer). If camping isn’t your thing, try the Victory at Mersea (victoryatmersea.co.uk
; from £79 B&B), a smart Edwardian pub which has recently been revamped and now offers a clutch of modern breezy rooms. Eat at the West Mersea Oyster Bar (01206 381600