Maldon Promenade Park, Queen’s Head Inn, Blue Boar Inn

For a final bit of exercise on this last day of the festive break we headed to Maldon. It’s been a favourite of ours since we first moved to Essex almost 30 years ago, when we lived briefly in Danbury, and Maldon was the nearest town.

Promenade Park is a good place to start, and we parked there, and walked to the furthest point of the park, where we were rewarded by seeing for the first time the statue of Byrhtnoth, the ‘Earldorman of Essex’ who was 68 when he faced up to the Vikings at the Battle of Maldon in the closing years of the 10th Century (Battle of Maldon website).

The park has had a lot of work done on it in recent years, including a large pirate ship to clamber about on, although you can’t paddle any longer on the inland beach! Walking towards the town you get some beatiful views over the Blackwater estuary.

There are a number of cafes, but we headed up past the sailing barges and headed into The Queen’s Head Inn, which had an excellent range of beers, and was heaving with people having lunch. There’s plenty of room inside and out – definitely one to pencil in for a summer al fresco meal.

We walked up the hill from the Queen’s Head, up Church Street, which comes out onto Mill Road, which leads on to the High Street. We had a moment of quiet reflection for the bookshop that we always made a beeline for on our family outings when the children were much younger. The shops gradually get more genteel the further you walk up Mill Road/High Street. There’s a pie and mash cafe, and the usual high street suspects further up the road, but enough smaller independendent shops to give the street some individuality.

We headed up past the churches and Moot Hall, to find The Blue Boar, and weren’t disappointed. The hotel/restaurant has a bar in the 15th century part of the building, which is the brewery tap for Farmers Ales (website), whose brewery is at the back of the building.
Several casks of beer lined up in the bar, in a very atmospheric setting! Again, the menu looked inviting, but we limited ourselves to a quick drink, and, as the Farmers Xmas Stout was sold out, I tried another local brew – the Wibblers Crafty Stoat stout, which was excellent.