We left home near Romford, Essex, around 5pm to start the journey to Marldon, to a small village called Heybridge Basin, the destination is the Jolly Sailor pub. The journey was about an hour as we hit traffic along the A12 but as always, I don’t mind driving in Hank Jr at about 45mph as I am still relatively new to driving such a big vehicle, so taking it nice and steady was ideal for me.
For those of you who don’t know who Hank Jr is, he is a 6 berth, 1990 Swift Kontiki and not forgetting Marvin, the little Beagle pup who keeps me company.
Once we got close to the pub, we entered some standard size streets that had plenty of room to drive around the stationary cars. Upon approaching the pub, the car park is a sharp left, which I had to do a couple of turns as there was a car parked opposite that made a nonpower steering challenge for me, but I got in. The car park is huge and flat and can fit around three motorhomes in even at 34ft. (They do not offer hook up or grey water facilitates)
Once parked and sorted, Marvin and I headed inside to say hello, we were greeted with smiles, and of course lots of fuss for Marvin which she, (yes, she) loves. Victoria, the landlady had kindly reserved me a table in the corner, so I could get the perfect view of the bar, the seating and of course the wonderful locals. The bar has a large display of drinks and snacks, and also doggy treats. Access into the pub is flat so if you’re in a wheelchair you can easily get into both sides of the pub (the bar area or the restaurant)
The price of drinks is very reasonable, I had one of the local ales, called Marldon Gold which cost £3.90 for a pint, but there were plenty of other ales, beers, lagers, and a large range of top shelve spirits and soft drinks available.
The food menu has your usual pub dishes and a wonderful selection of fish, also roast dinners, lighter bites, veggie, vegan, and kids meals. Being so close to the water I knew exactly what I was going to have, yup you guessed it, a fish platter. The fish platter serves two, but you could quite easily feed three as there is just so much, cockles, prawns, muscles, crab, shrimps, white bait, mackerel, squid, scampi, crawfish, salmon, salad, bread, chips and prosecco. The fish platter was around the £45 mark as it was on special offer that they often do a Groupon deal (always worth a look first)
Once Marvin and I had eaten we got chatting the locals, and even took part in the local prize draw that they village committee organises on a monthly basis. When I spoke with one of the members, they also explained that they have a local ladies rowing club (The basin oars) and yearly dog shows (oars and paws) that’s members of the general public can enter.
The hospitality we received from the locals was just so warm and welcoming, I felt right at home and Marvin made lots of new friends
Once we finished our drinks, the two of us headed back to Hank for bedtime, there was no noise from anything around us, and very peaceful in the morning. We got up and headed back to the pub for some breakfast, Marvin had a few sausages and I had a light breakfast from £5.95 including a tea/coffee.
Once we’d eaten, and finished our drinks, we headed out to start our walk along the Black Water Estuary, and the views were just breath taking. The sunshine was out with a bit of cloud but as the tide was out the sun sparkled and shimmered on the top of the water which glistened, it was dazzling. Walking past all the tall ships and boats made me feel so relaxed it was like looking at a painting you’d see in a gallery, just beautiful. We walked around the water and then carried our journey around the canal. We came across a garden with full size animals in it called ‘Marias Garden’ I thought what a lovely surprise for children walking past to stop and look at.
We walked back up to the pub and carried on along the side of the water. We came to sailing club and beach huts which had a café that people could sit out and look over Osea beach. Just next to that was a static caravan site, I don’t know the exact details but looking at the map I can only assume it’s Barrow Marsh Caravan Park. Its was having new kids parks fitted ready for the summer time, which looked very top of the range. We carried on our walk along the waters edge to the point we were right next to the causeway to Osea Island. The tide was out so we could have walked there but unless you have access you can’t actually go onto the island itself. So, we walked around the back of the caravan park and headed back to the pub. In all we covered around 10 miles walking that day.
On our return we noticed the outside seating area behind the pub. It has a good size decking space with BBQ facilities, which I imagine is brilliant in the summertime, or at least when the weather is warm.
We got back into Hank and made a coffee, which gave me time for reflection on my experience at Heybridge Basin. I can’t give this pub the credit it really deserves in a written blog, you really need to experience this place for yourself, it’s got everything you need, great food, great drinks and the people are incredibly hospitable and friendly. The views are just stunning, it’s an all-rounder for couples and families. The only negative thing I could possibly say about the village itself is that if you have children in pushchairs, or dogs on leads, some of the roads don’t have pavements, but people driving around the area are aware of this and take it nice and slowly when passing you. Hank, Marvin and I give this pub a 9/10 and will certainly be back again to try the BBQ and enter the dog show.