In January 2020, I became a columnist for Essex Life magazine, writing about doggy days out in and around the county. Here is my article about Burnham-on-Crouch…
What to see
Start by exploring the Burnham’s beautiful waterfront. A path runs right alongside the River Crouch, passing yacht clubs and the town’s Riverside Park. If you’re feeling energetic, you can follow the path to Creeksea and beyond, or just enjoy Burnham itself. Don’t miss the historic red-brick clock tower in the High Street or its independent cinema. Quite a rarity these days!
As you might expect from a waterside town, sailing is a big thing here – and the Burnham Ferry is synonymous with local life. The on-demand service travels between the Town Quay, Essex Marina and Wallasea Island, which is home to a huge RSPB nature reserve. The ferry runs six days a week from Easter until the end of September. Adult tickets cost £4 each way while it’s £2 for dogs.
If you prefer trains to boats, however, Burnham has got you covered. Mangapps Railway Museum is just a short drive from the town centre and runs both steam and diesel trains on its ¾ mile-long track. The family-run museum also has lots of railway memorabilia from across East Anglia. Dogs on leads are welcome to ride the trains, which operate from March to October. Adult tickets costs £10.
Where to eat
Be sure to visit Parlour Café in Creeksea, where dogs are treated like VIPs. It’s a bit tricky to find but well worth the effort as half of the entire café is dedicated to our four-legged friends. Treats and pupcakes are readily available and there’s even a doggy photobooth. Share your picture on Instagram and you could win a £25 voucher.
In Burnham itself, there are plenty of pubs and cafes where your pooch can join you for a drink or bite to eat. The Oyster Smack Inn is one of our favourites. Not only is the food fantastic, but it also has ten en-suite rooms that are pet-friendly. The Queen’s Head also welcomes dogs, as does Ye Olde White Hart Hotel and The Star Inn on the waterfront.
The Cabin Dairy is also a great spot for breakfast or lunch. It’s incredibly popular with the bikers who flock to Burnham but if that doesn’t get you revved up, try Ground Coffee House which serves amazing cakes and hot chocolate.
While you’re in the area
Try one of the local tipples. The Crouch Valley is home to almost a dozen vineyards and you’ll pass some of them on the main road to Burnham. Wine lovers and their four-legged friends are welcome to enjoy a stroll around Clayhill Vineyard before refuelling at its lovely café (dogs are not allowed inside but there is some outdoor seating). Handily, it’s right next to the Crouch Ridge Vineyard, too.