Essex: a county in southeast England that’s known for its Roman ruins, medieval market towns and The Only Way is Essex.
And being an hour’s drive from London, it has such a good vibe about it. Plus, you have the option to head into the Big Smoke if you wish.
That said, if you’re short on time and just want experience the delights of the county without going too far, I’ve got you covered.
Read on for how to spend a weekend in Essex.
First things first, if you’re an avid TOWIE viewer like myself and you’re wondering how to spend a weekend in Essex, you’re going to want to visit Brentwood.
Why? Well, it’s where most of the action happens.
A lot of the original cast members lived and worked in Brentwood, you see, so the production has always been based there.
On Brentwood high street you’ll find a number of shops/bars belonging to previous (and current) cast members, such as:
And the good news is that all these businesses are within walking distance from each other.
In fact, Brentwood itself is such a cute country town, which makes it well worth exploring!
My sister and I actually stayed in this area and spotted several of the cast members just roaming around the streets or driving around in their cars during the course of the weekend.
It was SO. MUCH. FUN.
As well as roaming around Brentwood, make sure you book a table at Sheesh in Chigwell while you’re in Essex.
Why? Well, it’s not to be missed, which is why they have a lot of celebrity diners.
Never heard of it? Allow me to explain…
Sheesh is a Turkish restaurant located seven miles outside London city centre. It does the most amazing food in the most incredible old English pub-style building. And it’s also pretty unique in the sense that it has a bar and live music upstairs that you’re only allowed to go to if you’ve booked a table at the restaurant.
Sure, the food and drink is a little on the pricey side, but it’s worth it.
In fact, we had one of the best nights out we’d had in ages! Just try it for yourself.
Another must-do when it comes to how to spend a weekend in Essex is head to the The Shepherd & Dog pub in Romford.
(Romford is technically based in London and not Essex, but it’s the go-to pub of the TOWIE cast so I just had to include it.)
Not only is this charming pub absolutely HUGE indoors (I’m talking the BIGGEST I’ve ever been in), but it also has a large and pretty beer garden area in the back. And this serves as the perfect place to have a few cheeky bevvies in the sunshine on a summery afternoon.
Last but not least, if you want to party during your time in Essex, then look no further than Faces Club and Lounge in Ilford.
Again, Faces is technically in the borough of London and not Essex, but it’s a famous celebrity hotspot that you can Uber to from Essex and it’s got a really good atmosphere.
Well-known for its VIP areas, futuristically-styled decor, six bars and two dancefloors, Faces also does bottomless Prosecco on a Saturday night for a flat fee of £20 per person. (And how can you possibly say no to that?)
The bottom line: Essex is a fun, friendly place with lots to do and see (and great food!).
And for TOWIE fans in particular, it’s a must-visit!
Even if your time there is short, it will be undeniably sweet. Just like mine was.
Have you ever been to any of these places in or around Essex? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!