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Claire Danes hits the county, Frinton-on-Sea bags best beach and Banksy comes to Brentwood: here's all the hot Essex goss you can handle right now

The Essex Serpent

Claire Danes is officially an honorary Essex girl

It’s not too often that we get to welcome A-list royalty to the county but, thanks to The Essex Serpent – a novel written by author Sarah Perry – Claire Danes of Homeland and Stardust fame is hitting our shores this month. Keira Knightley had been set to star as the title’s protagonist Cora Seaborne in the upcoming six-part Apple TV+ series, but sadly had to pull out at the last minute due to COVID 19. So, the lovely Claire D has stepped in as the perfect replacement – and is rumoured to already be filming scenes in the picturesque town of Alresford. Located near Wivenhoe, Colchester, this quiet, coastal corner has been selected as the on-screen version of Perry’s fictional village of Aldwinter – and we can’t wait to see Essex on the small screen once filming wraps.

Banksy

Banksy comes to Brentwood

Art lovers, listen up: a Banksy mural created in Nottingham has been snapped up by Brandler Galleries in Brentwood for a six-figure sum. Featuring a girl hula-hooping with a bicycle tyre, the artwork has been confirmed as legit by the artist himself and is now making its way to the gallery in Coptfold Road – which also houses other iconic pieces by Banksy, including Girl With Balloon and Heart Boy. That’s your post-COVID culture spot sorted, then…

Frinton-on-Sea bags best Essex beach award

With its nostalgic take on family fun, Frinton-on-Sea has always been a hotspot for sand seekers who want to get away from it all. And this historic north Essex resort’s distinct lack of arcade games and beachside snack shacks seems to have paid off – because Frinton-on-Sea has just been voted the county’s best seaside town, according to a study conducted by Which?. Beating off stiff competition from the likes of Southend and Clacton, Frinton-on-Sea was named the UK’s 20th best seaside town in the countrywide poll, with nearby Southwold in Suffolk coming in 3rd and St Mawes in Cornwall nabbing the top spot. 

Why the long face?

Chelmsford City Racecourse has announced a series of race days next month to kick off the season – and all bets are officially ON! Due to on-going restrictions, races will still be held behind closed doors, but you’ll be able to follow the action online and get involved via the site’s racingtv.com/ link. The next event takes place on Thursday 4 March, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. ‘See’ you there.

best places to live Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden gives good shopping 

The pandemic has forced many of us to start shopping closer to home than ever before and, as a result, pollsters have started to compile data on which towns are hitting the sartorial sweet spot and emerging as high street heroes. Step forward, Saffron Walden. According to a new study by Harper Dennis Hobbs, this historic market town is now one of the country’s most popular spots for retail and its independent boutiques, including Blue and Ruby Room, are big draws. In fact, out of 1,000 popular shopping locations polled, this Essex gem ranked 50th. Sellers of Saffron Walden, we salute you!

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