Mersea Island, Britain’s most easterly inhabited island, doesn’t really feel particularly islandy.
9 miles south of Colchester, it’s barely separated from the mainland by a slender, shallow channel and is reached by a highway which could be underwater at excessive tide. It has the air of a sleepy, barely eccentric backwater.
The White Hart Inn, appropriately sufficient on the coronary heart of West Mersea village, stood derelict for nearly a decade however reopened this summer season after a serious refurbishment. It now boasts a superb restaurant and 6 very snug, individually designed double bedrooms.
Neil Armstrong checked into The White Hart Inn (pictured) on Essex’s Mersea Island, Britain’s most easterly inhabited island
The pub is ready within the coronary heart of West Mersea (pictured) on Mersea Island. Picture courtesy of Inventive Commons
Mersea Island is an isle that has ‘the air of a sleepy, barely eccentric backwater’
The big eating room is mild and ethereal because of French doorways alongside one aspect opening on to an out of doors terrace – a pleasant spot for an early night drink.
The meals menu modifications frequently however I began with the watercress soup and smoked eel (£8).
One other diner jokingly admonished me for taking the final soup earlier than he had had an opportunity to order. It transpired that he and his spouse have been sampling the White Hart as a result of they’re followers of the house owners’ different institutions: the Solar Inn in Dedham and the Church Avenue Tavern in Colchester. Their loyalty was not misplaced.
The pub with rooms stood derelict for nearly a decade however reopened this summer season after a serious refurbishment
The inn boasts six ‘vibrantly adorned’ visitor rooms, every of which has a reputation of native significance. Above is Strood, named after the highway that hyperlinks Mersea Island to the mainland
Above is Neil’s visitor room, Little Ditch, named after one of many many marshy waterways within the space
The bedrooms have luxurious king-size beds and enormous walk-in showers, Neil reveals. Pictured is the lavatory within the Strood visitor room
The big eating room is mild and ethereal because of French doorways alongside one aspect opening on to an out of doors terrace
Above is a tasty seafood dish on the inn
The soup was lushly savoury and the primary course – roast cod, summer season girolles and olive oil mashed potatoes (£20.50) – was spectacular: the fish pearly white and meltingly good, and the mash wealthy and creamy.
For pudding, the Bakewell tart with star anise ice cream (£8.50) was beautiful.
The bedrooms have luxurious king-size beds and enormous walk-in showers, with vibrant decor defying the present pattern for a extra muted inside palette.
The rooms all have names with native significance. I used to be in Little Ditch, named after one of many many marshy waterways within the space, whereas Mehalah, for instance, is called after the Mersean heroine of a novel by Sabine Baring-Gould, one-time rector of East Mersea and famous werewolf knowledgeable (I’m not making this up).
The pub’s outside terrace, pictured above, is a ‘good spot for an early night drink’
Properly price a go to is Mersea Island’s Cudmore Grove Nation Park, pictured, a nature reserve with low, crumbling cliffs which have given up 300,000-year-old fossils
For breakfast, I went wholesome with fruit compote (poached in Earl Gray with cinnamon and orange) with pure yogurt, adopted by avocado toast and poached eggs. Scrumptious although it was, I regretted not ordering the fry-up the second hove into view.
The close by Monkey Seaside seems out in the direction of a decommissioned nuclear energy station on the opposite aspect of the Blackwater Estuary and doesn’t have a lot to detain a customer, however from right here you’ll be able to stroll to the opposite aspect of the island.
East Mersea is wilder and fewer populated.
Properly price a go to is Cudmore Grove Nation Park, a nature reserve used as one of many places within the latest display adaptation of Sarah Perry’s bestseller The Essex Serpent starring Claire Danes as a Victorian widow fascinated by fossils. Cudmore Grove has low, crumbling cliffs which have given up 300,000-year-old relics.
Actually, Mersea has an extended historical past of human habitation and visitation.
Timbers discovered within the mud flats off East Mersea fashioned a part of a wood walkway dated to about 950 BC. The Romans of Camulodunum (Colchester) used to vacation right here. And low tides reveal the posts of Saxon fish traps.
The revitalised White Hart is solely the newest chapter in an extended island story.