Five Es­sex Things

Tracy Jones is a Christ­mas Day baby, and here picks her five favourite fes­tive things about Es­sex

Essex Life - - CONTENTS -

Christ­mas Day baby Tracy Jones picks her five favourite fes­tive things about Es­sex

MY FAVOURITE SEA­SONAL SE­CRET

The devel­op­ment of Lon­don Southend Air­port over the last few years has been ab­so­lutely bril­liant for a cheeky, quick and easy week­end get­away and we are tak­ing full ad­van­tage of it this Christ­mas – it would be rude not to when they have 30 des­ti­na­tions to pick from. We live just 10-min­utes away, so it’s park up, five min­utes to go through se­cu­rity (hon­est, re­ally!), an­other five-minute walk (no train or bus trans­fer) and you are on the plane. About an hour later you are ex­plor­ing a great Eu­ro­pean city. We just got back from a three-day jaunt to An­twerp for some Christ­mas shop­ping, cul­ture and beer and it was much faster get­ting there from home, than it would have been to get to North Lon­don!?

MY FAVOURITE PLACE TO BUY THE TURKEY

I live in Bar­ling Magna, which de­spite its Miss Marple name is just 10 min­utes out­side Southend. We have one of the hid­den trea­sures of Es­sex – an amaz­ing ‘meat em­po­rium’ at Bur­ton’s Farm, presided over by the leg­endary butcher Philip Splett. He is the in­ven­tor of what I firmly be­lieve is the world’s best sausage, The Bar­ling Beauty. It’s from here I will be get­ting my turkey this year, and lots of other Christ­mas good­ies too.

MY FAVOURITE CHRIST­MAS DAY WALK WITH THE DOGS

Peo­ple tend to for­get that Es­sex has one of the long­est coast­lines in the UK, and so our county is a nir­vana for dog walk­ers, with miles of open spa­ces and lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get muddy and wet – hope­fully the dogs, not the own­ers! One of my favourite walks with my cocker spaniels Flashy and Rusty is along the sea wall in Bar­ling, look­ing out over the salt­marsh and watch­ing the amaz­ing wildlife go about its busi­ness.

MY MOST MEM­O­RABLE CHRIST­MAS GIFT

I first dis­cov­ered the magic of Mist­ley a few years back when I was given a Si­cil­ian Cook­ery Course as a Christ­mas present, and I have been back many times since. The Mist­ley Kitchen – un­der my culi­nary guru, chef Sherri Sin­gle­ton – is a friendly, fun and re­laxed way to learn more about all types of cook­ing. And the shop is amaz­ing! I like to make a week­end of it by stay­ing the night af­ter­wards in her pub just up the road, The Mist­ley Thorn, which was once owned by Witchfinder Gen­eral Matthew Hop­kins. The lo­cal seafood is sim­ply stun­ning.

MY FAVOURITE THE­ATRE FOR A CHRIST­MAS SHOW

We are so lucky to have a re­ally great the­atre in Southend, as it gets the big Lon­don shows be­fore or just after the West End, while top co­me­di­ans and mu­sic acts of­ten pass through – so you can get to see top notch en­ter­tain­ment close to home with­out the City prices. Of course, the high­light of the year is the panto! This year it is Ash­ley Banjo and Di­ver­sity star­ring in Al­addin and I know it will be a great night out for all the fam­ily.

The Mist­ley Thorn

Lon­don Southend Air­port

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