Essex has a 350-mile coastline, second to only Cornwall for its length, but did you know Essex has more islands along its coast than any other English county?

Visit Essex, the county's tourism body is on a mission to highlight the 'Isle of Essex' in a bid to encourage people to explore the coastline.

Chair of the body, councillor Mark Durham said the islands have so much to offer.

Here's a list of all the islands and why you should visit them:


Probably the most well-known of the Islands, Mersea is just a few miles outside of Colchester.

Gazette: Picture by Fiona MalbyPicture by Fiona Malby

Famed for its oysters, which are landed daily before heading to top restaurants in London and Paris.

Mersea is renowned for its coloured beach huts, golden beaches and country parks, we as well as the beach-side seafood restaurants.

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Canvey Island

In the south of Essex lies Canvey, the fourth most populated island in the UK.

In the 70s the island became known as the home to the sounds of ‘The Essex Delta’ when local bands Dr Feelgood and Eddie and The Hotrods hit the charts.

These bands are still celebrated around the island with murals and plaques on bars, hotels, and seawalls.

History pours through Canvey’s soul, the much-loved 17th century Lobster Smack pub, was the inspiration for the pub in Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’.

Foulness Island

North of Southend is the largest island on the Essex coast, but only 160 residents.

Owned by the Ministry of Defence, Foulness has an extensive military history including weaponary for the D-Day landings tested on the island.

But the island is also known as a haven for birdlife as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Gazette: The island is kept under the close eyes of Ministry of Defence bosses,The island is kept under the close eyes of Ministry of Defence bosses,

Horsey Island

The calm backwaters of Hamford Water near Walton-on-the-Naze, are home to Horsey Island.

The island is linked to the mainland from Kirby-le-Soken by a 0.6-mile-long path known as ‘The Wade’, which can be walked across at low tide.

Managed by Natural England and Essex Wildlife Trust, it is a paradise for nature with many bird species and both harbour and grey seals calling the island home and permission is required to visit.

Osea Island

This island in the Blackwater Estuary near Maldon, has long been the getaway destination for the rich and famous, Pete Townshend of The Who enjoyed family holidays here, whilst from 2005 to 2010 it became home to an addiction clinic, which helped many celebrities.

Currently owned by music producer Nigel Frieda, in 2019 Rihanna hired the island’s Miloco Studios to record an album whilst living on the isle.

Gazette: Jude Law spotted on Osea IslandJude Law spotted on Osea Island

Most recently the island features as the backdrop for Sky's series 'The Third Day' starring Jude Law.

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Two Tree Island

Another paradis for wildlife, reclaimed from the sea in the 18th century when a sea wall was constructed to enclose the land.

Now the island is a nature reserve run by the Essex Wildlife Trust.

Northey Island

Owned by the National Trust you have to apply for permission to visit to take in the island known as as ‘the Wuthering Heights of Essex’.

Northey was once the scene for a fight between the Vikings and Anglo Saxons in AD 991 and there are monuments to the oldest recorded battle in Britain on the Isle.