What’s the vibe? A classy, historic hangout with winding ancient streets and a forward-thinking foodie scene.
Why go? Manningtree is thought to be the smallest town in England, but don’t let its size fool you. Steeped in history, its Georgian high streets have hardly changed since they were built and, even further back, it's famous for its links to gruesome witch hunts. Nowadays, the time-worn streets are peppered with independent shops and eateries, like Townsends bookshop, Italian bistro Lucca Enoteca, and record and natural wine shop Winyl, as well as arty spots like North House Gallery.
Don’t miss Sprawled over 60 acres, Wrabness Nature Reserve is a charming patch of green with stunning views over the Stour Estuary. Follow the coastline through the reserve and up to Wrabness where you’ll find Grayson Perry’s ‘House for Essex’.
Get there One hour by train from Liverpool Street station; two hours by car.