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Relax, enjoy and discover this beautiful county near London. Essex is a wonderful holiday destination, offering green expanses, fascinating history and a wealth of activities for all the family. Just a short distance from one of the world's most vibrant cosmopolitan capitals, a break in Essex really does offer the best of Britain.

Essex is predominately rural with quiet country lanes, undulating countryside and pretty villages, ideal for gentle walks and country pubs. The county also has 350 miles of lovely coastline, which includes the coastal resorts of Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea.

Southend-on-Sea is practically synonymous with the classic idea of a British seaside holiday but it also has a few surprises - not least of which is the stunning Grade II listed pier, stretching over 2 kilometres into the Thames Estuary. If you're holidaying with the family then they may also appreciate a visit to the Great Notley Discovery Centre and Park, 100 acres of farmland with cycling and walking trails and a host of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Some impressive examples of local history are available at Colchester Castle and the small but perfectly formed cathedral at Chelmsford. Colchester was the site of an important Roman settlement and Roman foundations have also been discovered at other locations such as Chelmsford and Braintree.

Less ancient history (but no less interesting) can be found at Audley End House, one of England's grandest stately houses, dating from Victorian times or Hylands House and Estate which was built in 1730.

If you'd like to explore the greener pastures of Essex then visit RHS Garden Hyde Hall or take a stroll around Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve which is near the River Thames and an important spot for wading birds. The Beth Chatto gardens are another place that could go onto your agenda; extending over six acres these gardens were created out of an area that formerly consisted of boggy ground and poor soil.

With miles of protected green belt, some seriously impressive natural landscapes, fascinating displays of history and easy-access to London, Essex has a lot to offer.

All that remains is to find your perfect self-catering accommodation; take a look at our selection of holiday cottages in Essex.

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Sandy Ridge Ref: 29127

Outdoor swimming pool and hot tub

Located in a quiet road opposite the beach at Holland-on-Sea, a stay in Sandy Ridge provides the perfect setting for a traditional family seaside holiday. This detached, spacious house is well-furnished and has a sunny, west-facing garden with an outdoor private swimming pool and hot tub, and is approximately 100 yards from the pedestrian path to the sandy beach and promenade. The property has BT infinity wi-fi, and also close by is the Haven Country Park and the sailing club. The area is excellent for bird watchers, particularly for sighting migrants birds, and for walkers there are numerous footpaths. Set a comfortable, equidistant walk along glorious sandy beaches between the seaside towns of Clacton and Frinton, guests can choose between vibrant Clacton with its 19th-century pier or the more exclusive Frinton; Frinton’s beach is studded with Victorian-style beach huts and both towns have a good range of shops and restaurants. Every year the area hosts the Clacton Air Show on Thursday and Friday before August Bank Holiday, and it is also the base for the start/finish line of the Clacton Triathlon, which takes place on the first or second weekend in September. Further along the coast is Walton-on-the-Naze where you can try your hand at sea fishing on the country’s third-longest pier. Sandy Ridge is a perfect holiday location to enjoy the hidden delights of this part of the Essex coastline and countryside with quaint villages including Dedham and Flatford Mill (Constable Country), tranquil gardens, sandy beaches and excellent shopping. The county town of Colchester, with its zoo and castle, is an easy drive. Garden lovers might like to visit Beth Chatto’s famous garden. Shop, pub and restaurant ½ mile.

Ground floor: Living/dining room with wooden floor and patio doors. Second living room. Kitchen with breakfast area, patio doors and tiled floor. Separate toilet. First floor: 4 bedrooms: 2 double (6ft), 2 twin. Shower room with double shower and toilet.

Gas central heating included (£50per week October-April). Electricity, bed linen and towels included. Satellite TV. Three Freeview TVs. DVDs. Playstation 3. iPod dock. Electric cooker. Washing machine. Dishwasher. Fridge/freezer. Broadband. Large lawned garden with pool patio area and furniture. Juliet balcony. Ample parking. Outdoor swimming pool (10m x 5m, depth 0.9m to 2m), open 9am to 10pm everyday May-September. Hot tub. Welcome pack. No smoking. NB: 4 steps in the swimming pool.

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