A couple of weeks ago just after that glorious weather we encountered, we decided to head to the coast on a windy, blustery day. Normally we’d head somewhere like Whitstable because we know it and enjoy the fresh seafood- in particular the oysters.
But I’d recently found out that Colchester is also habouring a little oyster love too. In fact they produce some of the very best seafood in the UK, and distance wise it’s not any further depending on where you’re driving from in London.
Obviously being pregnant oysters were off the menu for me irrelevant, but it did allow me to scope out a new place to visit.
Mersea Island is a small island just off the coast of Essex that is reached by driving across the strood. A feat only possible at the correct tide times.
It’s a place of rustic coastal charm.
Because the warm sunshine had long disappeared and typical windy Britain had returned, I decided to book a little beach hut with The Little Beach Hut Company.
Being pregnant and with a toddler, I felt like we needed a base. Somewhere we could relax and chill out, and a beach hut by this company sounded ideal.
Not only are they done up beautifully inside and outside (err.. hello pretty Instagram pictures), but they have all the amenities you could want for a day at the beach in Britain. They have you covered from sun, rain to snow probably!
With windbreakers, kids beach toys, deck chairs, blankets, hot water bottles, books, games, a stove top kettle, cooking facilities as well as public toilets and a carpark near by there was nothing we needed.
Well some hot sun would have been nice, but I guess that can’t be pre booked!
Immediately Little London was outside our hut on the sand playing with the new toys he’d discovered hiding under one of the benches.
If truth be told we could have stayed at the beach hut the entire day, but we really wanted the chance to explore Mersea Island and see what it had on offer.
We decided to walk/jump past the rows of beautiful beach huts, stopping to admire the bright vibrant colours and read the cute little names on the front of them.
Our destination was to reach the West Mersea Oyster Bar. This was one of two recommended places to eat on the island, the other being The Company Shed.
We chose the former because they apparently do the best fish and chips ever, and with a toddler we knew that would go down well.
Supposedly they often have queues of people trying to order their fish and chips and as tables can be reserved it can be hard to get into the restaurant. Seeing as we were visiting mid-week during quiet season we thought we’d experience it in case we couldn’t next time.
Plus it was slightly closer to our hut, and we thought The Company Shed would be a great place to go post pregnancy because you can bring your own wine there and also your own bread to eat with their seafood selection.
The West Mersea Oyster Bar is a totally unassuming restaurant. There are absolutely no frills with it. It’s simple and basic in its design but they deliver on their food. And that is exactly what we wanted. A place that could give us some great seafood. No airs, no graces.
As Little London tucked into his heavenly fish and chips, we ordered a seafood platter for two and a trio of Colchester native oysters for Mr London Mum to taunt me with.
It was a great lunch all around and certainly lived up to our expectations. I just wish I didn’t have gestational diabetes so I could have tucked into all the fresh bread too, and those oysters would have gone down a treat too had I not been pregnant!
Before walking back to our beach hut we decided to head towards the West Mersea Pier. A great crabbing place supposedly.
Being total novices to crabbing we headed into a little cafe just opposite the pier and picked up our crabbing necessities. A bucket, a crabbing net and some bacon to use as bait.
Plus we treated the little one to some ice-cream while we were there. Jealousy doesn’t even cut it!
With our legs dangling off the pier we tested our crabbing abilities. My god does that bacon work a treat!
It was so much fun, and being competitive we tried to catch as many as we could.
It was all going great until one crab decided to drop off the net and scuttle under Little London’s leg- something he still tells people about today.
As an activity though I highly recommend it whether you have children or not, it’s cheap and really quite thrilling 😉
With Little London now scared of crabs though, we decided to hop on a boat at the end of the pier for a little jaunt around the Mersea coast. It’s only a short boat ride, maybe 20 minutes and it costs £3.00 per person, so it’s perfect for little ones who’ll enjoy the thrill but won’t get restless from being on a boat for too long.
With thoughts starting to return to our little beach hut, we wandered back down the beach to return to the comfort of ‘Bertie’ for the remainder of our time on Mersea island before heading back home.
For us Mersea Island provided us with the escape of the British seaside without the trappings of it being over commercialised. It’s just a shame we couldn’t have stayed longer.