15 of the greatest Essex coastal walks

Essex is a county blessed with a stunning coastline, offering many opportunities for holidaygoers to explore its natural beauty on their Essex UK breaks. From serene beaches to winding trails along estuaries and through nature reserves, the greatest Essex coastal walks are just waiting for you to explore them.


You'll find a vast range of coastal walks in Essex which cater to all levels of experience and interest. For instance, you may want a relaxing and tranquil stroll along a beach or an adventurous trip to some towering cliffs.

Whether it's a walk through Brightlingsea or a stroll through the Colchester Orbital walking and cycling route, you're sure to find the correct route for you and your family's preferences.

Join us as we embark on a journey through 15 of the greatest Essex coastal walks, where you can immerse yourself in the region's diverse landscapes, rich history, and breathtaking vistas.

Cudmore Grove image

Cudmore Grove

Let's begin with one of the best Essex coastal walks at Cudmore Grove. Nestled in the Blackwater Estuary, this nature lover's paradise takes you through a picturesque country park. You can meander along the seawall, enjoying views of the estuary and its birdlife. The trail also leads to Mersea Island, accessible via a causeway during low tide.

Distance: 3.5 miles

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Brightlingsea image


The Brightlingsea walk is another of the best coastal walks in Essex since it takes you through the charming coastal town renowned for its maritime heritage. Walk briskly along the promenade, you'll find panoramic views of the Colne Estuary and the iconic Bateman's Tower. If you want an adventurous trek, explore the nearby Saltmarsh Coast Nature Reserve.

Distance: 7 miles

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Frinton-on-Sea to Walton-on-the-Naze image

Frinton-on-Sea to Walton-on-the-Naze

Frinton-on-Sea to Walton-on-the-Naze is a quintessential coastal walk in Essex if you want to explore fantastic seaside towns. With miles of golden sandy beaches and a picturesque promenade, Frinton-on-Sea will have you spending time soaking up the sun on the coast. As you stroll to Walton-on-the-Naze, you can stop and observe the iconic Naze Tower.

Distance: 2 miles

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Jaywick to Brightlingsea image

Jaywick to Brightlingsea

A walk more suited to seasoned hikers, the Jaywick to Brightlingsea journey is a must-try if you want an active break in Essex. Although a longer route, this fantastic walk will show you many landscapes along the Essex coast. This is a unique and fascinating Essex coastal walk that shows you the quirky seaside village of Jaywick, St Osyth, Brightlingsea.

Distance: 16 miles

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Tollesbury Wick circular image

Tollesbury Wick circular

Tollesbury Wick is a nature reserve that showcases the best of Essex's coastal landscapes, and this coastal walk takes you through a diverse array of habitats. Get ready to explore salt marshes, mudflats, grazing marshes, and more along your trail. The reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, with various species, such as avocets, redshanks, and oystercatchers.

Distance: 5.7 miles

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Wrabness to Manningtree image

Wrabness to Manningtree

Another one of the best Essex coastal walks is from Wrabness to Manningtree, and it's a true hidden gem. This picturesque route follows the Stour Estuary, offering stunning views of the Essex and Suffolk coastlines. You'll pass through quaint villages, such as Wrabness and Bradfieldwhy not grab some delicious seafood at The Mistley Thorn.

Distance: 8 miles

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Burnham-on-Crouch image


The Burnham-on-Crouch circular route takes you around the delightful coastal town, which has a rich maritime history and many picturesque views. This popular route takes you along the River Crouch and the nearby marshlands. But for a real highlight, keep an eye out for the iconic Burnham Yacht Harbour, where you can watch the boats come and go.

Distance: 5.5 miles

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Around Althorne image

Around Althorne

Another top coastal walk in Essex takes you around Althorne, the scenic village along the Blackwater Estuary. The route takes you through the Althorne Marshes Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, so you can connect with the outdoors in a relaxing atmosphere. You'll pass by historic landmarks, such as the Althorne and the Church.

Distance: 5 miles

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Wivenhoe Trail from image

Wivenhoe Trail from

The Wivenhoe Trail from Colchester is a delightful coastal walk in Essex that connects the historic town of Colchester to Wivenhoe. This route follows the River Colne, offering stunning views of the estuary and the surrounding countryside while allowing you to spotmarine wildlife, you'll pass through University of Essex and Wivenhoe Marshes Nature Reserve.

Distance: 5 miles

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Colchester Orbital Walking and cycling image

Colchester Orbital Walking and cycling

The Colchester Orbital walking and cycling route is a unique Essex coastal walk combining urban exploration and stunning natural landscapes. This circular route takes you through Colchester, past ancient Roman ruins, and along the River Colne. The walk is fairly long compared to other Essex coastal walks, so you could divide it into different sections.

Distance: 15 miles

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Marks Tey to Chappel image

Marks Tey to Chappel

This Essex coastal walk is a delight for railway enthusiasts and nature lovers. The route follows the Essex and South Suffolk Railway, a heritage railway line that offers a nostalgic and calming journey through the countryside. Along the way, you'll pass through picturesque villages, such as Marks Tey and Chappel.

Distance: 5 miles

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Essex Way Stage 4 Terling to Coggeshall image

Essex Way Stage 4 Terling to Coggeshall

Another more adventurous choice among the Essex coastal walks, the Essex Way is an 82-mile long-distance footpath that traverses the county, offering a variety of Essex coastal walks. There is a specific stage (4) in that walk, from Terling to Coggeshall. This is a scenic stretch, taking you through the rolling countryside villages, and Blackwater River.

Distance: 12 miles

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Saffron Trail Stage 4 Great Waltham image

Saffron Trail Stage 4 Great Waltham

Another long trail for Essex coastal walks is the Saffron Trail, but once again, we're choosing a small section of this walk from Great Waltham to Chelmer Village. This delightful Essex coastal walk takes you along the River Chelmer. It offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, with the chance to spot various bird species.

Distance: 9 miles

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Holland Haven Marshes image

Holland Haven Marshes

The Holland Haven Marshes are a true hidden gem for Essex coastal walks, and exploring this nature reserve is one of the nicest things to do on your break away. Being a haven for birdwatchers, you'll be able to spot a diverse array of species, including harriers, avocets, and redshanks. The coastal path here takes you through marshes and Blackwater Estuary.

Distance: 3 miles

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The Thames Estuary Path image

The Thames Estuary Path

The Thames Estuary Path is a long-distance coastal path that stretches along the Essex coastline for around 29 miles. The walk sections occur between multiple stations, such as Tilbury Station, Stanford-le-Hope Station, Benfleet Station. Along the way, you'll encounter historic landmarks, such as Tilbury and Coalhouse Fort.

Distance: 29 miles

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Studland and Ballard Down image

Studland and Ballard Down

This circular coastal walk-in Dorset combines the beauty of the Studland Peninsula with the stunning vistas of Ballard Down. The trail takes you through diverse landscapes, including sandy beaches, chalk downs, and rolling hills of the Dorset countryside. Many of the areas in this walk are protected by the National Trust, so you can explore new wildlife.

Distance: 4.5 miles

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Essex Coastal Walks FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Essex coastal walks:

How long is the Essex coastal Path?

The Essex coastal path, also known as the Essex Way, is approximately 82 miles long. It stretches from Epping in the west to Harwich in the east.

How many miles of coast does Essex have?

Essex has approximately 350 miles of coastline, including estuaries, rivers, and the North Sea.

Is there a footpath around Mersea Island?

Yes, there is a footpath that circumnavigates Mersea Island. The path is approximately 13 miles long and offers stunning views of the Blackwater Estuary and the surrounding marshlands.

Where does the Essex Way start?

The Essex Way starts in Epping, a town in the west of Essex, and finishes in the coastal town of Harwich in the east.

Discover beautiful Essex coastal walks today...

The diverse coastline of Essex offers endless chances for exploring the great outdoors on your next break away. From serene nature reserves to historic coastal towns, these Essex coastal walks cater to all interests, abilities, and ages in your family. Whether you're seeking a stroll along the promenade or a challenging long-distance trek, Essex has something to offer everyone. So, with our fantastic list ready, where will you explore on your next Essex coast holiday?

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