Family caravan holidays and camping in Essex

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Our area guide to explore the best of Mersea Island and the Essex coast

You will find Mersea Island in northeastern corner of the county of Essex – at the point where the River Blackwater joins the River Colne, ten miles south of Colchester (Britain’s earliest Roman Town). The island measures five miles by two and is joined to the mainland by a causeway called The Strood. Twice a day, at Spring Tides, we become a real island.

Check out some of the wide range of family attractions available within a short drive of Waldegraves Family Holiday Park!


West Mersea Hard

West Mersea hard is the heart of West Mersea’s sailing and boating scene and the base for the local commercial fishermen. There is a pay & display car park adjacent to the causeway.



There are specific sections of the causeway where crabbing is allowed. All you need is a crabbing line, our tip is to make your own with a ball of string and a weight,  a bucket and some bait (we recommend bacon!) and you are ready to go! You can purchase these from the shop opposite the jetty, The Blackwater Pearl. After crabbing, why not treat yourselves to an ice cream from the cafe.


RNLI Lifeboat Station

Along to the West of the causeway is the West Mersea Lifeboat Station. During School holidays, weekends and Bank Holidays, volunteers supporting the RNLI open the lifeboat station to visitors. You can learn about the history of the lifeboat station and the local people who make up it’s crew as well as seeing the Lifeboat itself up close and see how it is launched. There is also a souvenir shop with plenty of pocket money toys.


Lady Grace Boat Trips

ALL Lady Grace Boat Trips must be booked and paid for in advance to secure your trip. You can find out more information here.




Cudmore Grove Country Park, East Mersea

Open daily from 8am-dusk. Customers are encouraged to pay online for car parking using MiPermit. Further information can be found here.
At the eastern end of Mersea Island, at Cudmore Grove you’ll find a sandy beach, impressive views, grassland, meadows for relaxation and walks that will take you past interesting historical sites and an abundance of wildlife. The park is popular on hot summer days, with its sandy beach and cooling sea breeze. Winter brings wading birds and wildfowl, including flocks of brent geese.
The area is rich in historic features, including WWII pillboxes and gun emplacements, the remains of a 16th century blockhouse fort and a cliff that has produced 300,000-year-old fossils, such as monkey, bear and bison. A children’s play area provides opportunity for little ones to climb, and soar.


East Mersea– St Osyth– Brightlingsea Foot Ferry

In peak times during the summer, a regular foot ferry runs from East Mersea point, accessed on foot via Cudmore Grove Country Park. The ferry goes across to the local seaside towns of St Osyth and Brightlingsea, both great days out in themselves!! Check Brightlingsea Harbour website for updates and for information on trips to and from local events, regattas and festivals.



Mersea Boating Lake

Mersea Boating Lake is a 6-acre man-made saltwater lake, situated in the beautiful countryside of East Mersea, located by the sea with its own private beach access. It is a family-friendly lake, offering water sports activities for all ages and abilities. In our fun but safe environment, you can try paddle boarding for the very first time or maybe sharpen your skills sailing across the lake.

With the lake only being 1.5m deep and no current, or tide it gives you confidence on the water and access all day every day. Your safety is important to us, no one can use the lake without a buoyancy aid.

Getting yourself out on the water is the perfect way to relax and de stress whilst being outdoors in a fun environment. No experience is required for any of the activities and they are suitable for all ages. You can make a day out at our beautiful lake, with scenic walks and our own private beach or enjoy a spot of pond dipping with your little ones. There is also an onsite cafe serving cold drinks and other refreshments.


Mersea Museum, West Mersea

Mersea Museum is in the village centre. The nearest car park is behind the library and is pay and display. Look for St Peter & St Paul’s Church, to the right as you walk out of the car park and the entrance to the museum is to the left. The museum occupies a purpose built building and has been independently run by local people since 1976. Local trades including fishing and boat building are represented throughout the museum as well as natural and marine history and the past lives of local Mersea families. Mersea Museum has a small gift shop and resource centre and, during the summer months holds regular history walks around the local area. While visiting Mersea Museum, why not explore the rest of what West Mersea village has to offer with its cafes, gift shops and antique shops along with a selection of other small local businesses.


Mersea Farm Shop, Bower Hall Lane, West Mersea

For those of you who like the outdoor life, visit Mersea Farm Shop, just around the corner. Selling a range of locally grown produce and pet supplies.




Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre, Layer De La Haye

Abberton Reservoir is a centre of international importance for wildfowl. Up to 40,000 ducks, swans & geese visit each year. Discover excellent bird watching opportunities, a beautiful wooden play area and a brambly hedge trail. The visitor centre has a gift shop and there are facilities for those less able guests including routes that are suitable for wheelchair users. Unfortunately, due to nesting birds, dogs are not permitted.


Castle groundsWyvernwood

Meet fairies, dragons, wizards and other mystical creatures at Wyvernwood! Fun for all the family in a beautiful setting.  Adventures, quests and puzzles for brave adventurers. 5* reviews. Visit



Proud of Mersea

See more of the Island whilst helping the environment! Please visit to join in with scheduled litter picks on and around the Island. Equipment and refreshments provided. Prize draw for litter pickers. Look for the numbered stars. Mystery prizes! Any changes to venue or time will be notified nearer the time.