Mersea Island

A Slice of Island Life

Follow the River Colne down to Mersea Island, home to the Colchester native oyster, and the ideal place to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Go for a peaceful paddle on the beach, bird-watch in Cudmore Grove Country Park, take a boat trip out into the estuary, or simply for a walk across the tranquil island. You can walk around the entire island on a mixture of footpaths and public beaches, however some planning is required to avoid high tides.

Easily accessible by car or public transport from Colchester City Centre, Mersea Island is ideal for a peaceful day out surrounded by breath-taking scenery. Mersea Island is also a great place to discover local produce - a platter of fresh Mersea seafood, with a glass of local wine from Mersea Island Vineyard!

Choose Your Side of the Island

Choose from East or West Mersea - the West is a small fishing town, with some sandy beaches and a selection of shops, restaurants and pubs. The East is more rural with wild natural beaches and large open spaces. The island is also perfect for dogs, which should be kept on a lead during the busy summer season.

The most populated part of Mersea Island is West Mersea, which acts as a hub for the island. In the small town centre you'll discover shops and restaurants as well as tourist attractions such as the Mersea Island Museum, and the parish church of St Peter and St Paul. The island has a fascinating history, and evidence of Roman settlement remains, most notably in the Mersea Barrow - a Roman burial mound.

Head for the seafront, and the far west of the island and you'll discover an area populated by fishing boats and sailing vessels, as well as some fine seafood restaurants and one of three pubs on the island. 

As you head anticlockwise around the island you can witness the beaches turn from mud to shingle, and then into sandier fare as picturesque pastel-coloured beach huts appear. After this, you'll near the holiday camps and more traditionally touristy side of the island that bustles with activity during the peak season.

The Eastern side of Mersea Island is primarily rural farming-land but significantly also includes the island's only country park, Cudmore Grove.

Outdoor Activities in Mersea 

Cudmore Grove is a fantastic nature reserve, with walks that provide stunning views over the estuary towards Brightlingsea. Wild beaches, bird hides and nature trails contribute to the visitor experience, and a large impressive children's play area combined with an old WWII pill box that is ripe for exploring make it a great day out for young children too.

East Mersea is also home to Essex Outdoors activity centre, which is perfect for adventurous members of the family. To sample some of the local delights, make your way to the Mersea Island Vineyard.

It's never been easier to make your way around the island, thanks to the Mersea E-Bikes. With a 72km charge range, you'll be able to do five whole laps of the island without batting an eyelid. They also offer suggested routes and itinerary recommendations.

Understanding High Tide

It's important to note that at High Tide, the causeway on and off the island floods which can leave you stranded! Don't get stuck, and check the tide times at the bottom of this page.

The only way on and off Mersea Island (unless you have a boat) is via the Strood Causeway. At very high tides the Strood can become impassable and crossing is not advised. The water depth can be deceptive and local emergency services do not look kindly upon rescuing cars attempting to cross!

Tide times can only be acurately predicted a few days in advance and flooding over the Strood causeway is likely if the water level is above 5m, or 4.5m if it is windy and the water is rough. We generally advise to leave an hour either side of such a high tide before attempting to cross, although on occasion the road can be flooded for longer.


Great Things to do on Mersea Island