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 Maldon…
What to see
A trip to Maldon – famed for its annual mud race and sea salt – makes for a great day out. Once upon a time, it was a thriving port town but today, one of its most popular land-based attractions is Promenade Park, on the banks of the River Blackwater. Here, you’ll find children’s playgrounds, a splash park and even a petting zoo, which is dog-friendly. Look out for the statue of Byrhthnoth, a Saxon leader killed in the Battle of Maldon in 991. Do keep your dog on a lead at all times though or when the tide’s out, they’ll make a break for the mud – just like Ernie!
A walk up the High Street to the crest of the town will take you past many medieval buildings, such as the 15th Century Moot Hall. Don’t miss a trip to dog boutique Woof & Co, which has a great selection of treats, toys, attire – and even doggy pick ‘n’ mix.
If you fancy taking to the water in a nod to Maldon’s maritime past, sign up for one of the town’s river cruises – many of which allow well-behaved dogs. One such company is Viking Saga, which offers a 40-minute trip out towards Osea Island for just £6 per adult. Alternatively, take a trip on a traditional Essex barge from Maldon’s Hythe Quay. The Thames Sailing Barge Trust has a range of full and half-day sailings and dogs are welcome onboard. Be sure to book in advance though, as the small group cruises can only carry 12 people at a time.
Where to eat
Dogs will be in for a treat at The Black Rabbit, which boasts the biggest beer garden in town and always has biscuits on the bar. The Queen’s Head on the quay is also popular with pet owners, along with The Jolly Sailor in Heybridge Basin.
For a cuppa and a cake, check out Driftwood Coffee House, where dogs are welcome both inside and out and can enjoy complimentary biscuits, water and beds. The Barge Tearooms, aboard a historic boat, is also worth visiting just for the cakes – as is the famous Mrs Salisbury’s, where dogs are allowed in the courtyard.
If craft beer is more your thing, head to the Mighty Oak Tap Room, where you can sample locally-brewed ale from the Mighty Oak Brewing Company. Alternatively, check out the dinky Farmer’s Yard micropub and bottle shop.
While you’re in the area
Be sure to visit New Hall Vineyard in nearby Purleigh. Not only is it one of the largest vineyards in England but it is one of the oldest, having been producing wine since 1969. Dogs on leads are welcome to explore the 92-acre site. There’s a lovely Vineyard Trail you can follow, as well as a shop that is open all year round.