One of the best things about Essex is that there are so many unique places to visit. The area is full of beautiful villages and towns, much like Maldon, but also full of history, architecture, and captivating outdoor places to visit.
Maldon is a true gem which sits nestled on the River Blackwater. It’s got stunning scenic views over the river, an ancient past, and a bustling high street. The only thing is, it’s pretty far out of the way. So, is Maldon worth visiting?
This post will discuss whether Maldon in Essex is worth visiting. We will also discuss other topics including things to do in Maldon, why Maldon is so unique, the best time to visit, and make suggestions on where to stay.
Maldon is a special town that has a long history. Did you know that the Battle of Maldon (c.991 AD) took place on the island of Northey which can be seen from Hythe Quay, a popular spot in Maldon?
In fact, Maldon is a town that attracts a lot of people, mainly due to its location. It’s perfect for riverside walks, nature walks, bird watching, and canal cruising. The historic center, located in the middle of the high street is full of old architecture, listed buildings, and colorful cottages.
But the thing that really makes Maldon worth visiting is that this little town has a certain charm. It’s true that it’s bursting with independent boutiques, delicious places to eat, and old-world buildings but its charm is unbeatable. It’s got pizzazz and is truly a pleasure to visit.
Maldon is full of exciting attractions and things to do, below is a summary of these activities. For a fully detailed and comprehensive list, check out the best things to do in Maldon here.
Promenade Park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike and has been around since the Victorian era. It’s a fantastic place to visit for a family picnic while enjoying the views over the river.
It’s also where you’ll find the popular Prom Walk, a pathway that follows the river to the very tip of the estuary. Hailed by a large bronze statue, it’s one of the first places you should head to when you visit Maldon.
One thing the Brits are good for is tea, and there’s no point visiting a town like Maldon and not experiencing a good ol’ afternoon tea at one of Essex’s best-rated tea rooms.
Mrs Sailsbury’s Famous Tea Rooms is a special place in Maldon serving scrumptious afternoon tea, cakes, breakfasts, and lunches (the ploughman is great). You’ll have to make a reservation, so be sure to plan ahead.
Since Maldon is an old-world kind of place it’s only natural that it should have a bunch of traditional pubs. Like many things in Maldon, the pub culture has survived and is in truth thriving in this little town.
There are numerous options from pubs by the quay to pubs in town to old pubs set in historic buildings to pubs down by the river. Even the small connected village of Heybridge Basin has a couple of well-placed nice looking pubs.
Pub crawl anyone?
Unlike many larger towns in Essex, Maldon’s high street is buzzing, which is lovely to see, with eateries and boutique shops. There is only one high-street branded clothing shop in the town while the rest are independently owned.
You will still find brands like Superdry, Barbour, and Joules. But, with a flurry of accessories, hand-made creations, and unique local products it’s a fantastic place to go shopping.
Maldon is a haven for independent coffee shops and has a great coffee culture. You can enjoy a freshly roasted brew at some really quirky locations dotted around the historic center to the quayside. In fact, you’re going to need a coffee break after all that shopping! You can find the best coffee shops in Maldon here.
As already mentioned, Maldon has a rich history going back more than a millennium starting from the Iron Age. There is a lot of pride in the town which you will notice as you explore the historic center and quayside in the shape of museums and heritage trails organized by the Maldon council.
Opposite the town hall is the Maeldune Heritage Centre where you’ll find the Maldon Embroidery, a magnificent 42ft embroidered display revealing the story of Maldon featuring the Battle of Maldon and Maldon History.
Aside from the Maeldune Heritage Centre noted above Maldon has a handful of other museums including the Maldon Museum in the Park, the Combined Military Services Museum, and the Museum of Power.
Due to its location on the estuary, Maldon is one of the best places in Essex for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers. You’ll have a multitude of choices from exploring the promenade, salt marshes, and sea walls to endless canal walks. RHS Hyde Hall Gardens are also great to visit during the warmer months when it comes alive with spring colors.
Northey Island is the first-ever recorded battlefield in Britain (the Battle of Maldon mentioned above) although nowadays it’s a much more peaceful place. To visit you’ll have to arrange a permit by emailing the National Trust but it’s a place filled with wildlife and home to an important coastal ecosystem.
You can take the Northey Island Circular Walk (around 2.8 miles) which starts at Maldon Prom and follows the sea wall to Northey Island crossing at the causeway (the only way on and off the island).
Read also: UK’s 15 National Parks
There’s no denying that Maldon is a dream for nature lovers and the outdoorsy type but it’s also one of the best places in Essex for dining! The town is teeming with eateries from the coffee shops and tea rooms noted above to international cuisines and high-end dining to banging fish and chip shops. There’s no shortage of choice, you can find the best places to eat in Maldon here.
Since Maldon has a very famous and aptly named salt brand – Maldon Sea Salt – it’s likely you’ve heard of Maldon and not realized it, having sprinkled the coarse grains over your meals.
Fame aside, Maldon is special because it was once a busy port serving as a gateway for trade in and out of Essex and Greater London. The old maritime and market town brought in influential aristocrats who invested in Maldon. Today, we can admire these lucrative times showcased throughout the buildings, gardens, and quayside.
The historic center, high street, and Hythe Quay are all wonderful places to visit in Maldon. Alongside the surrounding nature parks and wildlife trails, Maldon is a great place to visit for any outdoor and heritage enthusiast.
Insider Tip: Make sure to visit Maldon during the annual Mud Race which is held in May. It’s a fantastic affair with live music attracting large crowds and just a fun day out for everyone!
Unfortunately, Maldon Sea Salt is not open to the public but you can purchase their salt from their website and most supermarkets including Tescos, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons.
Maldon district is not really the place to visit for beach fun. There are a few pockets of sandy shingle areas in the surrounding villages and towns however if you’re asking “does Maldon have a beach” the answer is no.
If you’re looking for a beach destination in Essex I would suggest the Naze at Walton-on-the-Naze, Mersea Island, or Frinton-on-Sea.
In my opinion, Maldon is a very nice area. It has a lot to offer its visitors including activities for young families through to old-age pensioners. It’s somewhere regularly visited by couples for romantic date nights and home to a wonderful history.
It’s a place full of stories from bygone days and interesting architecture, with its cobbled streets and stone buildings its charm is captivating. Maldon is a nice place to visit.
Maldon can be visited all year round especially if you’re heading to the town center to wander the shops, admire the architecture, and grab a bite to eat. That being said, England does experience seasons and the cold weather from November to March can make visits to the quay area unpleasant.
The best time to visit Maldon to really appreciate its beauty (without feeling the chill) is during spring and summer. Promenade Park, Hythe Quay, and the majority of the nature trails, riverside, and inland walks are much more enjoyable at this time.
Maldon is busy during the summer months and although it fills with local tourists it’s still a fun place to visit. If you do want fewer crowds springtime and early autumn are best. Try to avoid bank holidays and weekends.
Since Maldon is quite a popular spot there is a good selection of places to stay which will suit most budgets. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of budget accommodation, like hostels, but there are camping sites! So, it’s more likely you’ll be staying in Bed & Breakfasts, Pub Inns and Hotels during your visit.
The Blue Boar Hotel
Located in a historic building the Blue Boar Hotel has a selection of beautifully decorated rooms in keeping with modern standards. The decor throughout the venue has a shabby chic flair and the staff have always been friendly making it one of our top picks.
Fish On The Quay
A fantastic bed & breakfast with quayside views, the rooms at Fish On The Quay were refurbished only a few years ago and offer their customers the opportunity to stay on the river right in front of the famous Thames Barges. Not only that, but if you’re visiting the Maldon Mud Race, this is the best location in Maldon.
The Swan Hotel Bar & Grill
The Swan Hotel is smack-bang in the middle of Maldon high street with good access to the historic center, shops, and restaurants. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a central location with comfortable accommodation and friendly staff.
With all the above in mind, it’s certainly fair to say that Maldon is worth visiting and is somewhere which should be considered, especially if you are heading into Essex.
The town has a lot to offer in terms of cultural experiences, education, and history and all with a fun, entertaining side. The promenade park and Hythe Quay alone make it a great place to visit but with the high street offering a superb shopping experience the whole town is a great option for a weekend away in Essex.
Abigail Dalton runs Igoa Adventure.
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