Ask someone to sum up Essex and their thoughts will probably go first to fake tan and the ugly sprawl of new towns such as Harlow. But drive out of town and you’ll get an entirely different picture.
Finchingfield is one of the better known villages in Essex; it is chocolate-box-perfect. The village pond is surrounded by a manicured green, with pastel-coloured houses with terracotta tiles and earthy-toned thatch. Atop the hill is a beautiful church and a striking, white windmill.
This little place has a long history; it was known as Phincingfelda during the time of William the Conqueror and there is archaeological evidence of a Roman villa just metres from the village church.
It is situated in north-west Essex, but at only around 50 miles from London, a tour of this area makes for a great escape into the English countryside. And if you’re looking for a bit of literary interest, Dodie Smith, the author of 101 Dalmatians, lived here. If you pop to neighbouring Sible Hedingham, you can still see Greys Hall, the 18th century house that she used as the model for the spooky lair of Cruella de Vil.
Linked to Which Way?, Scenic Weekends, Friday Postcards and Travel Photo Mondays.