Countyfile: Essex - From art trails to vapour trails in the East of England
Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (www.lbbcreative.co.uk), which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.
Sunday 08 July 2012
There's still time to get creative at Thurrock's first dedicated art trail (07977 017240; entrance free), which runs until next Sunday. Photography, sculpture, textiles and fine art are currently on display in galleries and spaces at Grays, Purfleet, Tilbury, Stanford-le-Hope and Horndon-on-the-Hill.
Also making its debut, the Barleylands Art Trail (01268 522973; art-trail-barleylands.com; entrance free), 3 August to 3 September, will transform the outlets at Barleylands Farm Park & Craft Village (01268 532253; barleylands.co.uk; entrance free) into open studios. And the new Billericay Art Trail (01277 630760; billericayarttrail.co.uk; entrance free) will turn the town into an exhibition space, with the work of local artists on display in shops, cafés, and churches (31 August to 9 September). These are just three of 20 art trails taking place across 450 venues in the county as part of Essex Summer of Art (visitessex.com).
Catch the Dunmow Flitch Trials (dunmowflitchtrials.co.uk; tickets from £5) in Great Dunmow on Saturday 14 July. At this quirky little event, which takes place every four years, married couples elect to appear at a specially convened court to argue why they should be awarded a flitch, or side, of bacon, a tradition stretching back to the 12th century.
Take a different kind of journey to yesteryear on the train from Ongar to Epping Forest (01277 365200; eorailway.co.uk; adult fares from £12.50). Following four years of restoration work, steam and diesel trains started running again on the Epping-Ongar Railway in May. The track follows a route of almost six miles, halting short of Epping station, where work to the track continues. Passengers can take a look around Ongar and North Weald stations en route. Services run every weekend and bank holiday, and daily during the Olympics.
Roll up for a Punch and Judy show on Southend Pier, 3-5 August. The seaside town is joining in The Big Grin (01702 618747; visitsouthend.co.uk; entrance free, pier admission £3.60), a national celebration of Mr Punch's 350th birthday. Take a look, too, at the pier's new Cultural Centre, which will open with the first Wave Comedy Festival (01702 618747; southend.gov.uk; prices to be confirmed), 19-22 July, closely followed by a jazz concert, Nocturnes and Seascapes (contacts as above; tickets £22), on 28 July.
And look to the skies as the Clacton Air Show (01255 686633; clactonairshow.com), 23-24 August, celebrates its 21st birthday. As well as aerobatic displays, there'll be exhibitions of vintage aircraft and lots of family-friendly fun to enjoy.
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