Airstreams near Harwich with swimming

Discover coastline, rivers, and canals around Essex’s Sunshine Coast.

Popular camping styles for Harwich

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Airstreams near Harwich with swimming guide


Experience traditional British holidaymaking on a camping trip to Essex’s sunny seaside or travel a little further for a glimpse of the region’s wilder charms. Hipcampers in need of a quick fix can hop over the estuary to Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, where coastal campsites and rural farms provide plenty of accommodation options, while culture vultures can head into nearby Constable Country to learn more about Suffolk’s favourite son or up into The Broads to experience sailing life at its finest.

Where to go

Tendring Coast

Also known as Essex’s Sunshine Coast, this coastal peninsula is home to the traditional holiday towns of Harwich & Dovercourt, Walton-on-the-Naze, and Clacton-on-Sea. Wildlife lovers can get their fill at reserves such as Holland Haven Country Park or Hamford Water, while hikers and bikers can explore inland nature trails or take a turn around the Blue Flag beaches. Holiday parks abound, with plenty of caravan and tent spots to choose from.

Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB

Head over the border into Suffolk to discover one of Britain’s most popular nature spots. Stretching from Felixstowe to Lowestoft, this 80-km stretch boasts a biodiverse landscape of heathland, woodland, estuary, and coast, as well as seaside towns and holiday parks aplenty. Recently, the area has expanded to include the Stour estuary, just west of Harwich.

Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley

Following the River Stour west from Manningtree, this reserve is a family favourite thanks to its lowland trails and unique artistic heritage. Here, visitors can explore what is affectionately referred to as Constable Country, stopping off in Dedham and Flatford to learn more about the artist’s life and work. Riverside camping is another highlight.

The Broads

Drive north for 90 minutes and you’ll arrive at The Broads, a vast network of waterways that draw ramblers, anglers, and birdwatchers with their biodiverse banks and riverside campsites. It’s also possible to hire out boats, kayaks, or paddleboards, so you can easily take your outdoor adventure directly to the water.

When to go

Summer on the Essex and Suffolk coasts and canals can get very busy, so it’s worth booking your stay well in advance. To avoid the crowds, consider a winter visit, which also tends to afford more intimate glimpses of the region’s wildlife.

Know before you go

  • Public transport is generally convenient, though if you’re traveling further, it can be worth renting or bringing a vehicle.
  • Trail maps can often be downloaded for free on a park or local borough’s website.
  • Wild swimming is a popular activity in the region, but be sure to take all precautions.
  • Anglers must always carry a license.

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