The White Hart Inn

UK England East Anglia Essex Mersea Island

01206 583 212   1 High Street, West Mersea, Essex CO5 8QD

  • 6 Guest Rooms
  • Contemporary Pub with Rooms
A welcoming gastropub with cracking food and luxurious guestrooms on Essex's heavenly Mersea Island

Looking for a stay at the seaside around an hour and a bit from London? Well, look no further than Mersea Island. Situated at the mouth of the Blackwater Estuary, it is the most easterly inhabited island in the British Isles, and one of South East England’s under-discovered gems. We say that, because it’s only accessible via The Strood – a skinny Saxon causeway that floods twice daily – giving it a relative isolation that means it's remained unspoiled and refreshingly free from the candyfloss and ‘kiss-me-quick’ amusements of other towns on the Essex coast.

Instead, its dramatic landscape offers an altogether more elemental escape – with myriad surrounding creeks and salt marshes giving it a remote and desolate beauty. The shingly shores of West Mersea Beach are dotted with colourful beach huts, while down at the marina, locals and tourists alike flock to the celebrated Company Shed to sample Mersea’s famous oysters. So far, so idyllic – and bang in the centre of this enticing scene, opposite a 7th-century church, you’ll find The White Hart Inn.

Incredibly, the original 15th-century pub had sat derelict and downtrodden for the best part of a decade before being acquired and revived in late 2021. Today’s incarnation is a welcoming gastropub that blends chic decor, a mouthwatering menu of inventive, seasonal plates, and six quality guest rooms. From the outside, the weatherboard cladding exudes coastal charm. And yet inside, the renovation is a masterful study in contemporary cool. The spacious, airy restaurant is fringed with leather banquettes and cosy booths, with parquet flooring, rattan light shades and William Morris chairs adding to the stylishly laid-back vibe. There’s a snug lounge with comfy velvet sofas – a tailor-made setting for a post-dinner cocktail – and the outside terrace is a real suntrap.

Like its sister pub, The Sun Inn in Dedham Vale, the bar is well stocked with a range of East Anglian ales and an extensive wine list that draws from Essex, Sussex other British varieties. The food menu lands on modern British, with a pleasing blend of creative ‘casual’ dishes (cuttlefish cavatelli pasta) alongside fancier mains, including giant ribeye for two and of course those famous Mersea oysters.

For those staying over, the six sumptuous double guest rooms are vibrant and luxurious. Each named after local landmarks and figures, they vary between sea view and those overlooking the village green. Thoughtfully designed, with striking yet delicate colour schemes, they come equipped with all mod cons, and feature super king-size beds paired with lavish 4000 pocket sprung mattresses and Egyptian cotton linens. Freeview TVs, hairdryers, plus tea and coffee facilities come as standard, there's complimentary WIFI throughout. Three bedrooms are dog-friendly. Works by local artists adorn the walls – Mersea’s landscape provides no shortage of inspiration for painters – and the spacious bathrooms, boasting walk-in showers, are finished with trendy metro tiles.

Lots of little extra touches really elevate this place from a simple pub with rooms to the level of a boutique hotel – things like Bramley Bath products and comfy bathrobes. There’s even complimentary bikes for guests – the best way to tour the island is on two wheels, and the ever-helpful staff are happy to plot you a route. Head to East Mersea’s Cudmore Grove Country Park or take in the island from the waves, courtesy of the Lady Grace boat tours. Or just toddle 250 yards down to Monkey Beach and soak up that famous Mersea sunset.



Bed & Breakfast from £150-£175 a night for two people; Dinner, Bed & Breakfast from £235-£255. 


Contact Website  01206 583 212  The White Hart Inn, 1 High Street, West Mersea, Essex CO5 8QD

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  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Wifi
  • Beaches
  • Walking

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