A traditional English seaside resort that is still very popular with day trippers from London. Holiday makers visit from far and wide to enjoy its traditional attractions, beautiful sea front gardens and award-winning beaches, which line Essex sunshine coast for several miles.

Clacton Beach and Pier Clacton Beach and Pier © Christine Matthews (CC2)

This friendly resort has a long stretch of shingle and sandy beach, with safe shallow sea bathing. As the largest town in the Tendring peninsula, it has extensive retail facilities and a number of good pubs and restaurants, including the 16th-c Ship Inn.

The seafront has a traditional British seaside feel with a Victorian pier (circa 1871), a pavilion, cliff top promenade and several beautiful gardens. The most attractive of which is the Clifftop Public Gardens. The pier, one of the widest in the UK, has a large amusement park with thrill rides and amusements.

Rising up from the pier towards the town, the main street is spanned by an iconic arched footbridge. Nearby, on Marine Parade, is the Pavilion Centre. A traditional entertainment venue with an auditorium, restaurants and a fun park for children.

Clacton also boasts two theatres, the Princes and the West Cliff; both providing shows, music and modern entertainment throughout the season.

Although the town dates back to the stone age, there is very little of architectural worth remaining, apart from a reconstructed 15th-c Grade II Moot Hall. The hall was originally located in grounds of Horstead Place, near Bury St Edmunds. It was removed, piece by piece, on horse and cart and rebuilt in Clacton in 1910.

Holland on Sea, to the northeast, is a modern development with a pleasant green. Next to this sits Holland Haven Country Park, a lovely relaxing spot to watch seabirds and other wildlife.

The area of Jaywick, a few miles southeast of the pier, is a shabby development of bungalows and prefab dwellings, most of which have seen better days, so is best avoided by tourists.

Three Martello Towers can be found along this stretch of coastline. Constructed in the early 19th-c, they were built as part of a line of 29 defensive towers, sited between St Osyth and Aldeburgh, in Suffolk. Several have been restored and converted into art galleries and museums. One tower, further west at Point Clear, houses the East Essex Aviation Museum, with an interesting collection of wartime exhibits and militaria.

The ruins of St Osyth Priory, founded by Richard de Belmeis in the 12th-c, can be visited in in the parish of St Osyth, between Clacton and Brightlingsea.

A little further north, along the coast, is Walton-on-the-Naze, a paradise for bird watchers with broad salt marshes and little Islands. Just south of Walton is Frinton-on-Sea, a more genteel resort, with excellent sands and sloping cliffs.

Map of Clacton-on-Sea


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