Essex's largest island, lies off the coast of Southend and has been under M.O.D hands since 1916.
Contrary to popular belief and stereotypes, Essex is not actually an urban wasteland. Most of the county is rural, and has some very beautiful scenery that is widely unknown to outsiders.
Obviously an English speaking county, accents tend to vary in Essex. In the northern and rural areas of the county, you are much more likely to hear the traditional East Anglian accent, which is very similar to that of the west country. But the most common heard is known as the estuary accent, some say its a cross between cockney and East Anglian.
Mountfitchet Castle is an all-weather heritage entertainment complex in Stansted Mountfitchet. Formerly an Iron Age hillfort, the castle also has a Roman, Saxon and Viking past and therefore provides an interesting and historical day out for the whole family. There is a reconstructed castle, many houses complete with all the smells of a bygone era and a toy museum. In addition, as you stroll through the grounds you will encounter plenty of rescued animals roaming freely: deer, goats, geese, peacocks, chickens as well as Jacob Sheep. There is a substantial restaurant on site.
Essex boasts several well publicised establishments
Park Inn by Radisson Thurrock Hotel, Park Inn Thurrock, High Road North, Stifford, RM16 5UE, . The Park Inn Thurrock is the perfect setting for weddings, conferences and leisure breaks. Close to Bluewater and Lakeside Shopping Centre, this refurbished Georgian Manor is set on six acres of landscaped gardens.
Contrary to popular belief, Essex actually has one of the lowest crime rates in England. However some poorer towns in the more urbanised south and west of the county should be approached with caution, especially at night.
As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can) and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected.