Maldon has topped the bill of best places to live in the countryside, according to a national newspaper.

The Times published the 30 best rural areas to live in the UK today - and Maldon featured at number one.

The town was picked alongside waterside town Stromness in the Orkney Islands, Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands and royal favourite Beaumaris in Anglesey.

Describing why Maldon is so special, Francesca Steele says: “Maldon salt, for a start, but the town of Maldon and villages along the Blackwater Estuary are more than just a middle-class kitchen must-have.

“Amid the dreamy wetlands beloved of bird-watchers that characterise this part of east Essex is a growing community of commuters as well as locals long familiar with the joys of fishing smacks, sailing barges and tasty fish and chips.”