North Essex beauty spots have been named among the top beaches a short distance from London.

The accolades were awarded by media brand Time Out as it named ten "brilliant beaches" which would take a reasonable amount of time to reach from the capital.

The company compiled its list ahead of April 12, when a further loosening of lockdown rules will allow Brits to stay in self-contained accommodation.

And north Essex sites occupied four of the ten slots available.

First up was Mersea Island.

“Foodies beat a path to West Mersea’s various oyster bars, while fossil hunters and nature-lovers make for East Mersea’s quiet beaches backed by cliffs that have revealed shark's teeth and animal bones dating back 300,000 years,” Time Out wrote.

“There aren’t many beaches near London that involve a tide timetable, but Britain’s most easterly inhabited island does, being an estuary island reached via the Strood – an ancient Roman causeway linking it with the mainland,” adding “Wine aficionados can pick up a local souvenir at the Mersea Island Vineyard and Brewery.”

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Keith Spears caught this beautiful shot of Walton beachKeith Spears caught this beautiful shot of Walton beach

The site has one Mersea down as an hour by train from London Liverpool Street to Colchester, then a 45 minute bus to Mersea Island, or approximately two hours by car.

The second location listed which is on our doorstep was Walton.

Time Out wrote: “The lovely peninsular that Walton on the Naze sits on is filled with interesting things to do, including hunting for turtle and bird fossils, a climb up the 86ft shipping tower-turned art gallery for spectacular panoramic views over the Essex coast, and spotting common harbour and grey seals at the Hamford Water Nature Reserve.

“Boat trips are likely to reveal all sorts of other wildlife and plant life too in a rich area of tidal creeks, mudflats, salt marshes and grasslands. Oh, and the Blue Flag beach isn’t to be sniffed at either.”

The company has the trip via train from London Liverpool Street down at one hour 50 minutes, while a car trip would take just more than two hours.