A Local’s Guide To 3 Days In Maldon, Essex 

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This is a guest post from Abigail Dalton.

Maldon is a quaint riverside town in Essex, the county that borders London to the east. It’s a fascinating place with a history going back hundreds of years, and it’s the site of the first-ever recorded battle in England, The Battle Of Maldon. This three days in Maldon Itinerary will be perfect to absorb the town’s ancient history and old maritime charm. 

Maldon is not only a fun and impressive place to visit but it is also interesting and educational. It has two areas: the historic centre and Hythe Quay. The latter was once its own village but has since merged with Maldon.

In this 3-day Maldon Itinerary, you will visit both areas and explore Maldon’s heritage. You will have the opportunity to visit museums, walk along the seawall and walk in the footsteps of the original Vikings at their landing site of The Battle Of Maldon!

Another thing Maldon is famous for is the attractively restored Thames Barges that line up along the quay. In this itinerary you will also have the chance to take a boat trip along the river on one of these barges.

3 Days In Maldon: Day 1 

For your first full day in Maldon, we explore the Hythe Quay and the old Promenade Park. The park is over a hundred years old and it is a beautiful place to enjoy the views over the River Blackwater. This day is your best opportunity to go on a Thames Barge boat trip.

Quayside with sign saying Promenade Park. A barge beside the quayside has tall masts and lifebelts
Thames Barges at Hythe Quay (photo copyright Abigail Dalton)

Morning 

Activity: Mrs Sailsbury’s Famous Tea Rooms & Hythe Quay; estimated time 3 hours; cost: lunch around £15.00 p/p

A great place to start your itinerary is at Mrs Sailsbury’s for breakfast. The tea room is a much-loved dining spot in Maldon and has a certain old-age British charm with many different rooms, all of which are uniquely decorated. 

Afterwards, why not head down to the popular quay area? Hythe Quay, the location of the Thames Barges, is a wonderful place to start your trip. You can walk down the High Street, admiring the old buildings before taking a left turn at Church Street. Before you reach the quay, you will pass St Mary’s Church on the right. This is a pretty church and one of the oldest in Maldon. A little further down is the quay. There are two pubs here, the Queen’s Head and Fish On The Quay – both are good.

High street with several historic buildings, including one with a bell tower and old clock
Moot Hall on the High Street – note the old bell tower and historic clock (photo copyright Abigail Dalton)

Afternoon

Activity: Thames Barge Boat Trip & Promenade Park; estimated time 4 hours; cost: around £40.00 for boat trip

It’s possible to take a boat trip on the Thames Barges down the river. You might want to arrange this before your visit, but it can also be done at the quay. Topsail Charters offer a range of excursions, from breakfast trips to brunch, afternoon tea and dinner. They even hold trips for special occasions such as birthdays and Mother’s Day.

Small dinghy in a large expanse of sky and water
A small dinghy in the River Blackwater by the Maldon Promenade (photo copyright Abigail Dalton)

Depending on timings, you can take a nice stroll through the Promenade Park before or after your boat trip. This is an Edwardian park with a lovely walk along the river. The river path goes all the way to the tip of Maldon ending at the Byrhtnoth Statue (Byrhtnoth was an Ealdorman who died at the Battle of Maldon). You will also pass the volunteer-run Maldon Museum in the Park. This is a nice, small museum which details Maldon’s past and important historical events.

Evening

Activity: dinner at Driftwood Bistro; estimated time 2 hours; cost: around £36.50 p/p (including 1 glass of wine)

Driftwood Bistro is a great coffee shop in Maldon but they also open on Friday and Saturday evenings, with a delectable Evening Bistro Menu. A coastal-inspired restaurant tucked down a side street just off Maldon High Street, this is a local gem and a true treasure. 

3 Days In Maldon: Day 2 

On your second day in Maldon, it’s nice to explore the historic centre and take a self-guided heritage trail. Did you know that Maldon is home to one of Essex’s steepest hills? Market Hill can be a challenge to climb but it’s a very pretty walk lined with colourful cottages.

Morning 

Activity: Historic Centre, Market Hill & Chandler’s Quay; estimated time 3 hours; cost: free

On your second day it is time to get acquainted with the local area. Although Maldon is small it has an interesting historic centre to wander around, with a few sites to explore. A suggested trail starts at the top of the High Street where you can visit All Saints’ Church. Opposite is Moot Hall, a Grade II listed building and the original courthouse of Maldon. 

Street scene with old blue painted buildings on the left and a church on the right
Maldon High Street and All Saints’ Church (photo copyright Abigail Dalton)

Down a side road by All Saints’ Church, you will find the Blue Boar Inn, one of the oldest buildings in Maldon. It is a pretty yellow-brick timber-framed architectural gem. Next door to Moot Hall is a nice cafe called The Gnome Café – nip in there for your freshly ground morning coffee!

Afterwards, head back down the High Street to St Peter’s Church at the top of Market Hill. Your 3 days in Maldon wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Maeldune Heritage Centre and Thomas Plume Library. Located at St Peter’s Church, the Heritage Centre displays a 42ft embroidery representing the town’s history. 

From the top of Market Hill, it’s time to begin your descent. Take in the beautiful cottages, stop halfway at Market Hill Gardens, and at the bottom you’ll reach Fullbridge and Chandler’s Quay. Turn right at Fullbridge and explore the quay. Here you’ll find a working boatyard, houseboats and colourful flower displays in the summer. On the other side of the bridge, there is a nice pub called the Sunny Sailor. Stop there for lunch for views over the river.

Afternoon 

Activity: Maldon High Street, Friary Walled Garden & St Giles Hospital Ruins; estimated time 3 hours; cost: free

After lunch head back to the High Street where you can explore the boutique shops and old buildings. Edward’s Walk is a popular shopping arcade where you will find a coffee shop – Maldon Coffee Company – and a handful of unique shops including Willow & Fox and The Crystal Shack. At the end of Edward’s Walk, you will come out at White Horse Lane car park. Turn left and head to the Friary Walled Garden – this is only open on the first Sunday of each month so try to plan your visit accordingly! 

Ruins of a medieval building, surrounded by grass and trees
Ruins of the St Giles Leprosy Hospital (photo copyright Abigail Dalton)

For a longer walk continue down Chequers Lane to the Olympic and Paralympic Avenue, an avenue and open space commemorating the 2012 London Olympics. This is a good opportunity to head over to the ruins of St Giles Leprosy Hospital. The walk will take around 12 minutes and you’ll need to pass through a residential area. St Giles is located on Spitals Road two minutes down the road from the Queen Victoria Pub on the left-hand side. It’s a hidden treasure in Maldon and although small it’s got a nice grassed area and shrubs all around. 

Evening

Activity: dinner At Luigi’s Al Fresco; estimated time 2 hours; cost: £30.00 p/p

Luigi’s Al Fresco is an Italian & Pizzeria restaurant tucked away behind the buildings on Market Street. It’s a wonderful place to eat in Maldon and one of our favourite restaurants. The pizza is always fresh and the restaurant has a traditional, warm atmosphere. There is an extensive Italian wine list and the menu is mouth watering.

3 Days In Maldon: Day 3 

To complete your three days in Maldon a visit to the stunning Northey Island is a must. This is where the Vikings first landed. The island is separated from the mainland via a causeway which is covered during high tide so you will need to plan your visit. 

Important note: You can only visit Northey Island with a permit. You will need to contact The National Trust here to arrange this. 

Morning 

Activity: Northey Island; estimated time 3 hours; cost: £5.00 p/p

Once you’ve arranged your visit the best way to reach Northey Island is to walk from Maldon town. You will retrace your steps along the Promenade Park but just before you reach Byrhtnoth’s statue there is a turning to the right. Here you follow the WW2 Avenue of Remembrance along the field. At the end there is a turning along the seawall to the left. You’ll be able to walk along the seawall until you reach the Northey Causeway at Green Farm Lane.

Northey Island is a beautiful outdoor place to visit in Essex with a long history. It’s a nature reserve and an important coastal habitat, home to lots of wildlife and plants. The salt marshes have a unique ecosystem which helps biodiversity in the area but also protects Maldon against flooding.

Where To Stay In Maldon 

Maldon has some great accommodation options ranging from B&Bs to boutique hotels which will make your three days in Maldon perfect. Here are a few suggestions to help you plan your trip.

  • The Blue Boar Hotel. Located in the heart of the historic centre and with an interesting history, the Blue Boar Hotel has been fully renovated and is one of the nicest places to stay in Maldon. You can also get breakfast included and the Blue Boar Pub next door has a fantastic microbrewery and beer garden.
  • Fish On The Quay. If you want to stay in the quay area the Fish On The Quay pub is a nice B&B with a number of small boutique rooms. The rooms were renovated in 2019 and have a fresh and modern coastal-inspired feel.
  • The Swan Hotel. In the middle of the high street with great access to all the attractions and its own car park, the Swan Hotel Bar & Grill is a good choice for a central location. They have comfortable rooms with an in-house bar and restaurant serving good well-priced food.
Exterior of old hotel built in grey stone
The Blue Boar Hotel and pub (photo copyright Abigail Dalton)

How To Get To Maldon

Most visitors will drive to Maldon which is easy to reach since there are good roads connecting Maldon to the larger cities and towns around Essex. Most of the hotels will have their own car parks but there are also many car parks in Maldon – most use the pay-and-display schemes.

The closest railway station is in the nearby town of Witham. From here you will need to catch a connecting bus to Maldon High Street. These run frequently, and you can view bus timetables here. Witham itself is connected to the Greater Anglia National Rail train network which departs London Liverpool Street many times a day. You can view the Greater Anglia timetable here.

Tips For Your Trip To Maldon

  • Be sure to plan for your journey in advance, as a number of these activities will require bookings and reservations. Remember that the Friary Walled Garden is only open on the first Sunday of each month.
  • Depending on the time of year the walks along the seawall can get rather muddy and windswept. It’s a good idea to bring appropriate footwear and a warm overcoat. 
  • Remember to carry your reusable water bottle. There are not many bins along the seawall and if you’re going further afield than Northey Causeway (like continuing along the seawall to Maylandsea) you will need refreshments.
  • If you have additional time, another nice area to visit is Heybridge Basin, which you can reach by walking along the seawall from Maldon. A good place to eat at Heybridge Basin is The Lock Tea Rooms – an extension of the famous Tiptree Jam.
  • Just outside Maldon there are a few points of interest such as Beeleigh Falls (a weir and canal that you can walk along), The Museum of Power, and RHS Hyde Hall Gardens. You can find more unique things to do in Maldon here.
  • It’s also worth knowing that during May, Maldon hosts the annual Maldon Mud Race. This is a fun and interactive day out where the whole community unites at the Prom to watch friends and family grapple through the mud.

Conclusion: Your Maldon Itinerary

This is a fun-packed three days in Maldon itinerary full of all the best activities in Maldon. Hopefully it has inspired you to visit this historical town.

Maldon is a gem in Essex with a lovely character and old-age charm. It is also bursting with top eateries, independent shops and a wonderful history.

Author bio: Abigail is the owner and creator behind I’m Going On An Adventure. She focuses on budget travel and adventure, giving first-hand experiences to help her readers plan their perfect travel and make the best memories.

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