Outstanding value for money
We really struck lucky when we booked a single night, midweek stay at this hotel set in its own extensive grounds on the edge of the village of Feering, south of Colchester. It's conveniently located just off the A12.
The receptionist had said we 'd been upgraded to the superior room and it certainly lived up to its designation. The photo shows the double room. The bathroom was big as well. There was a good range of teas and coffees in the room.
We didn't have time to explore the grounds but we tried out the swimming pool in the leisure centre adjoining the hotel. It was a 20 metre pool with separate steam room and sauna.
There is a bar and a well stocked library. The wood panelling in the reception rooms add an atmosphere of olde worlde luxuriance even though I suspect the hall itself isn't particularly old.
Breakfast offered the usual range of cereals/fruit but the best part were the fresh, locally sourced kippers. They were wonderful.
We had a meal in the restaurant which was very reasonably priced but the portions were not huge so if you're hungry you'd need three courses to make you feel full. Still our two course meal with wines came to only 41GBP which wasn't bad we thought.
All in all for the bed and breakfast the room was £75 which we thought was exceptionally reasonably priced. We would certainly return there An atmospheric English hotel at very reasonable prices.
Essex: it's coastal regions
"Two summer days in East Essex"
With no children at home ( they had gone to the Reading Festival) it meant my wife and I could go off and explore parts of England that neither of us knew very well. We particularly wanted to do some birdwatching even though August is not the best time of year to carry out that activity. No matter, we settled on the Essex Wildlife Trust's reserve at Fingringhoe Wick as our first port of call. The reserve overlooks part of the Blackwater River estuary. There were several very good bird hides and we were very pleased with our day out; nothing spectacular on the birding front, but pleasing to be reminded of the wader species that we do not see so often in Bedfordshire. The large flock of Curlew was particularly pleasing.
We also tried to visit the visit the RSPB reserve of Old Hall Marshes but found that parking was limited to permit holders and in the end we decided to turn round. Instead we enjoyed our walk around the Tollesbury saltings.
We were really pleased with our hotel, Prested Hall near Feering. It turned out to be very plush but we thought, excellent value for money. And so, after a hearty breakfast and an energising swim, we set off for the town of Maldon located at the head of the Blackwater Estuary.
As a newcomer to Maldon we were completely lost in looking for parking spaces but eventually we found the town centre parking and we managed to track down the Tourist Information centre - again another initiative test. Fortunately the assistant was very good and we went off down the estuary to Goldhangar with the knowledge that we should be back on Hythe quay by 4pm in time for the boat trip down the river.
The boat , called the Viking Saga, is wholly dependent upon the tides as it can only get down the river when the tide is in sufficiently. Unfortunately the strong winds had made the tide 'late' and so we eventually got under way about 45 minutes later. Still, it didn't matter and we could admire the Thames sailing barges whilst waiting.