Our new favourite place

. . .no, really.

I’ve been waiting for a place like Rainham Hall to open since I moved to Redbridge nearly 10 years ago. If you’re a fan of charming old houses, then you’ll love it as well. This National Trust property comprises a lovingly restored 19th century merchant’s home, shown with the family history, a three-acre garden that’s wonderful for an afternoon’s fun, a cafe and loads of local places to eat nearby. Friendly volunteers will be happy to show you around the house or the garden.

It’s really perfectly suited for a family visit with activities and sights for children and adults of all ages and stripes. Best of all, it’s just next to Redbridge, in Rainham, RM13.

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One of many new treasures made for the garden play area.

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Lots of space to run and play in the garden. Only guide dogs allowed.

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Rainham Hall and stable, home to the new cafe

Street parking is easily available on Sundays. Rainham rail station is just across the road.

For more information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/rainham-hall/

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Late Summer beach fun

As a former resident of Miami Beach and, before that, a beautiful Caribbean island known for its lovely beaches, I readily admit haven’t taken to the British seaside so much. Well, except for the most amazing chips I had that time at Littlehampton beach. . .

girls at the beach

Yesterday, a beautiful sunny day broke the monotony of the past week’s steady diet of grey grey grey. And we were caught without a plan! Having been exploring the coasts of the Netherlands just last week (more on that later), we had a taste for some further seaside adventures. I broke out the National Trust guide book and decided that our late start would rule any of those out. My daughter suggested Frinton Beach, where she went by coach trip with her school in July. Great idea!

Frinton is a tidy little town; the beach is accessible by traversing some steep-ish steps. Bring lunch, snacks, and water as there are “no frills” here–no vendors, no snack huts–probably why the town and beach remain tidy. . . . Public toilets are free and some have a .20p charge.

The sand is fine and not very pebbly. The water temperature, according to my internal shivermonitor, was too cold for an actual swim, although that didn’t stop lots of other people from swimming. . . I sat on a blanket and watched my girls play in the sand and run back and forth into the shallow surf. A pretty relaxing way to spend an afternoon in all.

Where: Postcode CO13 in your Sat Nav, or straight down the A12 from Redbridge. Parking is very easy and free on the Esplanade, or on neighbouring roads.

When to visit: Early. The tide comes in very quickly from 2pm, so it’s best to make this a morning trip during the summer. Check here for the latest tidal information: http://www.frinton.org/tourism/frinton-beach.php#tideinformation