Essex. Is it all fake tans, stilettos, and bad behaviour?

EssexWhat do you think of when someone says they are going to Essex? Come on, be honest. You don’t really picture beautiful countryside and picturesque villages do you? Rather than dashing farmer-types in flat caps and barber jackets, like the handsome fella pictured at the end of this post, you all think of sportscar-driving loadsamoney guys and stiletto-wearing orange-skinned girls. Don’t you? The county has a really bad reputation for being a bit ……. naff. Is it as bad as you all think? Not a chance. Essex is completely underrated and here’s why.

Where is Essex?

England has 48 ceremonial counties and Essex is one of those located in the south east of the country between London and the North Sea. It is one of the Home Counties located between Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in the north, Hertfordshire in the west, and Kent to the south.

Although Colchester was once the capital city of Roman Britain the name Essex wasn’t used until Anglo-Saxon times around 527AD when as the eastern kingdom of the Saxons it was known as Eastseaxe(“East Saxons”).

Why does Essex have such a bad reputation?

It’s mostly down to TV and the stereotypical characters shown in so many popular television programmes. Just think of the shows that are based in the county. You don’t get ones showing stunning views or lovely little country villages do you? Generally they are set in depressing housing estates featuring equally depressing characters.

Think of these shows:

“Birds of a Feather”
“Gavin and Stacey”
“TOWIE – The Only Way is Essex”

What chance has Essex got with the people portrayed in those programmes? No hope at all.

Little known Essex facts

  • Colchester is Britains oldest recorded town and was the first capital city
  • Second longest county coastline in Britain at 350 miles
  • More speed cameras per mile of road than anywhere else in the world
  • Essex has more islands (35) than any other English county
  • Manningtree is the UK’s smallest town whilst Tiptree is it’s largest village
  • Essex is the UK’s wealthiest county and would qualify as the worlds 53rd largest economy if it was a country

So what does everyone think of Essex?

In the UK everybody sees the county of Essex as chav-central, where a mix of Love Island and TOWIE non-celebrities live in mock tudor mansions and drive Chelsea tractors around. Hair extensions, fake tans and white stilletos appear to be the standard dress and the county is often held up as some sort of joke place to live.

There may of course be some truth to these descriptions but surely every county has it’s dodgier areas and to label the whole of Essex this way is absolutely ridiculous. Some of Englands most beautiful countryside and picturesque villages are found here amidst a rural landscape that many people would be surprised at.

So it’s not fake tans, stilettos, and bad behaviour at all. It’s one of Englands most beautiful counties.

What Essex is really like ………

We’ve found the county to be full of charming villages and twisty-turny country lanes, with rolling hills and green fields at every turn.

In fact, we’ve spent many happy weeks housesitting and travelling around this beautiful county meeting friendly people and visiting lovely little towns and villages. If you don’t believe me just read a few of our recent Essex posts;

So let’s not hear another word about how ‘naff‘ this place is and let’s just appreciate it’s typical Englishness. It’s a beautiful part of the world that more people should visit and explore. We have been amazed at the sheer number of quaint villages and interesting towns that we have been able to see on our housesitting stays.


If you get the chance, come up and see some of Essex. You won’t regret it.

04/02 – 08/02/2020

Essex. Is it all Fake tans?


  1. I’m actually in the process of setting up a second blog all about Essex! I too have had the oh you’re from essex? TOWIE!!…and I’m just like no, no not really, TOWIE is more on the Essex/London border than the Essex that i’m used too!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Now in the employ of the Essex Tourist Board eh? Such a county of contrasts. Bazvegas v Finchingfield and Thaxted. Grays v Castle Hedingham and Burnham on Crouch. Why not give it a go indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard the Essex Girl jokes, but it’s like saying all Scots are mean – I don’t believe it. I’d rather poke my eyes out with a sharp stick than watch something like TOWIE (what do they look like?) and I think the characters in Gavin and Stacy are warm and human and thus a good advert. So I have no bad impressions of Essex to dispel and your post entirely convinced me that it’s wonderful! Bit far to visit at the moment though, but one day when we do our grand tour of the British Isles we’ll add it in. One day …

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right about everywhere having its own stereotypes. Perhaps a few people fit the profile but most are warm and friendly wherever you go I think. Much too far for you at the moment though

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Essex does have that terrible reputation, only because of Towie, I think. I’ve never been but know people from there and they are lovely people, and it does look like a beautiful county, I’m sure I’ll visit it one day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I spent a month staying with some friends of a friend in Essex right before I moved to Britain (they were nice enough to let me crash on their couch for a month whilst I applied to Master’s programmes), and though some of them certainly lived up to the stereotypes, they were also really friendly. Everyone was genuinely excited to meet an American and friendly in a way Londoners just aren’t. There is some lovely countryside there as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pleased to hear that you were welcomed with open arms Jessica. Essex is a lovely county and the people very different from London although you are right that some fit the media profile quite well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t been to that many places in Essex, but those I have been to I liked. Southend being one of them. I suppose it’s the seaside thing with me, being born and living most of my life in Brighton. You looked the part in the farmer’s gear john😊

    Liked by 1 person

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