Essex (including Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, Tendring, Thurrock and Uttlesford.) is in the East of England. It has a population of around 1,725,000 and covers approximately 367,000 hectares. Here is a list of nearby or neighbouring counties: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, London, Middlesex, Suffolk.
Dating back to the Anglo Saxon period, Essex is among the oldest counties in Britain and with little locally available stone, many of the counties older buildings were constructed using timber or bricks. The county town of Essex is Chelmsford, where visitors to the local museum can see exhibits reflecting the areas history and heritage, as well as pieces of pottery and glass work. Colchester is considered to be the oldest recorded town in the country, pre-dating the Roman conquest, when it had the Celtic name Camulodunon. In Colchester you can visit Hollytrees Museum, which is located in a Georgian house and runs arts and crafts workshops, events relating to local history and has exhibits including costumes, clocks and watches. Performing arts venues in Essex include the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea, the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch, Colchester Arts Centre, the Palace Theatre in Southend-on-Sea and the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford.
Ingatestone Hall is a Tudor house built during the 16th century and decorated with furnishings reflecting its history, such as paintings, tapestries and wood panelled walls. Coggeshall Grange Barn dates back to the 13th century, making it one of the earliest remaining timber framed buildings in Europe and exhibited within it are a number of old farming machines and tools. Visitors to the popular coastal resort of Southend-on-Sea can walk along the longest pleasure pier in the world, which is 1.34 miles long and stretches out into the Thames Estuary. Eastbury Manor House is an Elizabethan merchants house in Barking built during the 16th century and extensively restored during the 20th century. The house is owned by the National Trust, though managed by the local borough council and is used as a community heritage resource. Other attractions in Essex include Chelmsford Cathedral, Dedham Art and Craft Centre, Mountfitchet Castle, The Saffron Walden Gallery, Castle Park in Colchester and Thorndon Country Park in Brentwood.