Clacton-on-Sea: Seaside resort, Sunshine Coast of Essex, family-friendly, family-fun, these are its fond titles. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else and is ever popular with holidaymakers and day-trippers from London. A new home here will have all the fun of the fair and the Blue Flag beaches, as well as plenty of local facilities, easy access to Colchester, Braintree, Chelmsford, Harwich, and Ipswich. North Essex has also got some lovely countryside and the Hamford Water National Nature Reserve is a short drive up the coast via the area’s other coastal towns – Holland-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea, and Walton-on-the-Naze.
The A12 is Essex’s main cross-country route out of Greater London, and just after Colchester, the A120 and the A133 will take you into Clacton. The A120 continues on its way to the port of Harwich which is on the very tip of Essex. For commuters, Colchester and Harwich are both about 18 miles away, Chelmsford is just over 40 miles away, and Ipswich is about 30 miles away. Train services from Clacton to Colchester take around half an hour, making it a good alternative to driving. The average journey time by train to London Liverpool Street is an hour and a half, via Colchester and Chelmsford. For overseas travel, Stansted Airport is 50 miles to the west, a drive-time of around an hour. There are several operators covering bus travel around town, including National Express services to London.
Shops and services
Clacton-on-Sea offers a wide range of day-to-day facilities alongside the fun of seasonal seaside shopping. The Waterglade Retail Park is the most central, with the Brook Retail Park and the Clacton Shopping Village on the northern edges of the town. For supermarket shopping there’s a Tesco Superstore, Asda, ALDI, Lidl, and Morrisons, as well as several smaller supermarkets and convenience stores. The Pavilion and the Pier become the focal point for leisure and entertainment in the summer, but this is an all-year round town too with the blockbusters at the Century Cinema, sport at the Leisure Centre, and live events and music at the West Cliff Theatre. To follow on from the primary schools, Clacton has two high schools – Clacton County High and Clacton Coastal Academy. The Colchester Institute has a campus in Clacton, for further education and vocational courses.
Colchester is the town to head for, for a great mix of shops and sights, with an historic market town twist. It’s ideal for a day trip, especially out of season when you won’t have the summertime temptation of Martello Bay and West Beach. Between Colchester and Ipswich there’s a wonderful area of protected countryside, the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Crossing the border, it leads you into the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In the other direction, Brightlingsea’s Waterside Marina is a haven for yachts and sailing events, and you don’t have to be a sailor to enjoy the sights.