It may be due to snobbery that Maldon is so underrated as a coastal resort, compared to Southwold or Heacham. Folk from Cambridge, let alone North London, rarely make the much shorter journey south-east, compared to the slog along the A143 or A10. You’ll know what I think of estuary Essex.
Maldon is very popular with urban Essex though, and always busy on my annual mid-week visits, even on a grey February Friday. This is what people come to see;
Most pensioners dawdle round the restored boats and barges by the Hythe, one of the most interesting stretches of English coastline. Plenty for the model railway and Wimpy enthusiast too.
And while you wouldn’t swim in the sea, Promenade Park is one of the best free fun parks in the country (if your idea of fun is getting soaked).
A long attractive and often weatherboarded High Street seems to have more coffee shops on each visit, but still resists the chain domination you see in much of East Anglia. There’s even a pie and mash shop Stonch hasn’t visited yet.
There are some distinctive reminders of which county you’re visiting in the charity shops;
Because Essex folk like unpretentious but high quality pubs, there’s some corkers around town, seven in the GBG over the years. Plenty of beer from Maldon, Adnams, Sheps, and even (thanks to the new Spoons) Sharps.
The new Mighty Oak Tap Room looked inviting, and no doubt I’ll be back in September for that. This year the new GBG entry is Maldon Brewing’s Tap. There’s a trend here.
I’d walked past the Farmer’s Yard twice before spotting it, obviously distracted by the charity shop or something. It’s a mini-micro-pub, only a dozen seats putting it firmly in “Nutshell” territory. Twelve proper seats with beer mats, mind.
February is turning into a great month for travel and pubs; this will be one of the best. The Maldon Matthew was cool, pale and hoppy (whatever that means) straight out of the barrel. A few local beers, plus Siren and Bruges Zot (in its own glass) is an interesting combination.
Very hard to avoid conversation here, and luckily the locals are very friendly, it being Essex. Most of the banter revolved around the impending quiz, which should be a cosy affair. No doubt regular reader Tom will be able to read the screen, but if you can’t I can tell you that one of the answers is “Poul Nyrup Rasmussen”. You’re welcome.
OK, five points for guessing the question.