An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

Mersea Island camping

Silent tidal creeks and wild saltmarsh packed with wildlife, oysters and fizz, beaches and coastal walks. Just a short journey from London camping on Mersea Island makes for a tranquil escape. Fen Farm Campsite makes a great base to explore this island or simply relax close to the beach and a small Country Park. Awarded the David Bellamy Gold Conservation Award for the onsite-conservation work expect to share your pitch with Marsh Harriers, Peregrine Falcons, Broad-billed Sandpipers, Bluethroats, Penduline tits and Glossy Ibis – as well as a few twitchers.

Location: Essex, in the Blackwater and Colne estuaries to the south-east of Colchester. Lat/long 51.7902, 0.9845

Campsite facilities: ample modern shower block (including wheelchair access and family toilet and shower room); washing up sinks;  coin operated washing machines, tumble driers and iron; freezer for ice blocks.

Dog friendly: Yes

Local facilities: The ‘Dog & Pheasant’ public house is a few minutes walk; local takeaways will deliver to the site; Cocks Butchers, Island Supermarket, The Mixing Bowl Delicatessen and The Co-op and all have local produce available.

Getting to Mersea Island: Driving south of Colchester on the B1025, make sure you check the tide times to cross road bridge The Strood, at tides greater than 5m it will be closed. Allow 1.5 hours either side of high tide to travel safely

Getting to the campsite: To reach Fen Farm, the B1025 brings you to the island (the road is liable to flood sometimes when the tide is high, but not usually for more than an hour or so). Take the left fork to East Mersea and follow the road to the ‘Dog and Pheasant’ public house. Take the first turning on the right to Fen Farm. Bus 69/69a runs from Colchester to Fen Farm.

Don’t miss: walking Mersea’s coastal walk to see all of the highlights of the island.

The full route is described in the guidebook, ‘Islandeering: adventures around the edge of Britain’s hidden islands‘.

Nearby islands: whilst you are there, there’s a lot more to explore, check them out here

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