86 Colchester – West Mersea

Colchester – West Mersea

This is a peaceful journey on the 86 bus route from Colchester to West Mersea, the UK's most easterly inhabited island, with attractions such as Colchester Castle Park, fresh oysters, paradisical beaches, and birdwatching.


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Travel Type:


No. of Attractions:

2 places to visit

View journey Attractions
Journey Duration:

35 minutes

Route Frequency:


Starting point:

Colchester Osborne St

How to get here

Journey fact:

Mersea is the UK's most Easterly inhabited island with a population of just under 7000.

Journey Overview

From Britain’s ‘first city’, the ever so ancient Colchester, to the peace and charm of unspoilt seaside scenery, this is a journey that is sheer unadulterated bliss! With Colchester Castle Park and its environs creating peace and tranquility, ‘getting away from it all’, isn’t necessary, but in 35 minutes, a haven of solitude and beauty is what lies at the end of the 86 bus route at West Mersea – the most easterly inhabited island in the UK.

Leaving pretty and history-seeped Colchester behind and its fascinating sights and heritage, the bus follows the tranquil and charming River Colne on its way to Mersea, with its fresh air and the home of Colchester native oyster. The bus traverses the estuary of the River Blackwater. Although, Mersea is an ‘island’ it’s connected to the mainland via a road called ‘The Strood’. For about a week every month, at high tide, the water covers the road and turns it into a genuine island twice a day. During this time, the road is blocked off for around 90 minutes.

From the bus stop at West Mersea, it’s a short walk to a paradisical beach with its cute beach huts and peaceful and picturesque marina, with simply stunning coastal views, that tell a different tale depending on the time of day or year. Birdwatchers delight here, so too crabbers and those looking to collect oysters and there’s also great coastal walks to East Mersea and the Cudmore Country Park nature reserve.

A Fab Day Out!

Start the day with a stroll round Colchester Castle Park, set in the heart of the city and involves a riverside stroll to scenic gardens with its children’s play area, putting green and boating lake, as well as tree trail or family activity trail. The Castle is well worth a visit with its amazing collection of artifacts and wonderful guided tours of the Roman Vaults, the foundations of the Temple of Claudius and a trip up the Great Stairs for an amazing view of Colchester from the Castle roof.

Then it’s on the bus for the short journey to Mersea Island which is 9 miles away.

West Mersea Beach has something for everyone with a sandy beach for the children to play on to good access to the water for watersports. When the tide goes out it do so in an impressive way and leaves many shells to collect – especially towards the West Mersea end as well as circular routes round Mersea Island. West Mersea is a small fishing town, with some sandy beaches and a selection of shops, restaurants and pubs. East Mersea is a beautiful walk away and more rural with wild natural beaches and large open spaces. There’s some fabulous cafes and seafood restaurants, on West Mersea Marine, with lovely local produces to be devoured at this idyllic location at the end of a short bus ride from the wonderful Colchester. 

Gateway to the 86

By Greater Anglia Railway to Colchester from London Liverpool Street or Norwich, Ipswich and Chelmsford among other locations in East Anglia, Suffolk, Essex and Greater London.

How to get here...

Visit the megabus website and view megabus services that will transport you to this exceptional scenic journey.

Visit megabus site
National Rail Enquiries logo

Visit the National Rail Enquiries website to discover train routes that will lead you to this magnificent scenic adventure.

Visit National Rail

Plan your route to this Great Scenic Journey

Take your scenic journey to the next level by embarking on this delightful walk, carefully curated by the expert team at Go Jauntly, the leading walking app provider.

West Mersea’s Old City Walk


Colchester Osborne Street

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