Five Essex Things
BBC Essex presenter Jodie Halford picks her five favourite things
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN ESSEX
For me it’s the sheer variety of places to go and things to do. I spent my childhood visiting the penny arcades on Southend seafront, the beach at Walton on the Naze and the mudflats at Maldon, and feel very lucky that I had such interesting and entertaining places on my doorstep. I can’t wait to get to know even more areas of the county as part of my new BBC Essex show, Your Essex, which will visit a different village, hamlet or town each weeknight from 7pm until 10pm. We’ll tell the stories of the people who live there and explore history, culture and other interesting bits and pieces about each location.
MY FAVOURITE ESSEX RESTAURANT
I recently discovered the Maldon Smokehouse. It’s only been open for three years or so, but already has many loyal customers, which is no surprise given the amazing food and setting. Looking out across the River Blackwater, you can enjoy delicately smoked fish and meat dishes served with great salads and big chunks of bread. And you can bring your own wine and beer along, although they do sell soft drinks (as well as products to take away). It couldn’t be more up my street if it tried.
MY FAVOURITE ESSEX PLACE TO SHOP
It’s got to be Lathcoats Farm Shop, just outside Chelmsford. Their offering has gone from strength to strength in the last few years, with all manner of delicious deli treats available alongside their home-grown fruit and veg, not to mention my all-time favourite apple juice. You can sample most of their wares at the annual Apple Day in October. That’s where I’ve discovered some of my favourite bits and pieces they sell in the shop.
MY FAVOURITE ESSEX PLACE TO VISIT?
I’ve fallen in love with Brightlingsea. This summer I’ve been to the newly-reopened lido several times and I think it’s just the most fantastic facility run by local people for everyone to enjoy. Plus there’s the seafront itself with its colourful beach huts and large, open green spaces. It also tends to be much less busy than other seaside areas, so you can always find somewhere to park!
MY FAVOURITE WALK
During the winter, I love going to Tollesbury. You can do a circular walk around the marshes, spotting a huge variety of birds in the nature reserve on the way, while being blown about by the sea air. My other favourite place is Swan Woods in Stock, where I’ve spent many a happy hour with my family on dog walks over the years. The bluebells there in spring are a sight to be seen.