Essex's fantastic attractions, restaurants, and beaches have proved a real draw to celebrities in recent years.

An impressive array of stars call the county their home and some own holiday homes here.

Stars often share their visits to locations across Essex, and some celebs, who are ambassadors for Visit Essex, often come to their favourite parts of the county.

So, here we look at some of the places you might spot a star. 

Sealife Adventure Southend

Football star Rio Ferdinand and his reality TV wife Katie popped into the seafront attraction to meet and feed the penguins back in 2020.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Football star Rio Ferdinand and his reality TV wife Katie. Picture: Sealife AdventureFootball star Rio Ferdinand and his reality TV wife Katie. Picture: Sealife Adventure

A spokesman for Sealife Adventure said: "Our penguins definitely enjoyed having their lunch served by some very special guests today. Thanks for coming down Rio and Katie Ferdinand."

Marsh Farm

Celebrity couple Jacqueline Jossa and Dan Osborne enjoyed family time with their children at the popular attraction.

I'm A Celeb winner Jacqueline shared a picture with her 2.9 million Instagram followers with the caption "Family trip to the farm today! SUCH FUN! Switch off and spending time with the family is so lovely and well needed! I feel brand new after a little fun today."

Chelmsford Weekly News: Jacquline Jossa, Dan Osbourne with their children (Image: Instagram: danosborneofficial)Jacquline Jossa, Dan Osbourne with their children (Image: Instagram: danosborneofficial)

Former TOWIE star Dan also posted a picture saying, "Lovely day at the farm today with the gang".

The shots showed their daughters Ella and Mia and Dan's son Teddy enjoying their time at the farm.

Tea at the George, Colchester

Located at the revamped George Hotel, in High Street, Strictly star Katya enjoyed an afternoon tea visit with her friend actress Sasha Latoya.

The pair dined on sandwiches, cakes, tea, and champagne from the venue's Christmas menu.

Sharing an image of the day on Instagram Katya said: “If my wrinkles are from laughing, I’m down with it. Please remember to have a laugh today! And actually every day.”

Sasha, tagged the venue in her post, adding: “It is beginning to look a lot like afternoon tea with my bestie @katyajones – a well needed catch up! Love laughs and champagne! What a Sunday.”

Strictly star Katya partnered Olympian Adam Peaty in last year’s competition finishing 9th.

The dancer has previously won the competition back in 2017 with Holby City actor Joe McFadden.

Benfleet/Colchester

Best-selling novelist, Martina Cole, grew up in Essex and has spent most of her life living alongside the Thames estuary.

Famed for her crime novels, she also has a love of history and the area she calls home.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Martina Cole is pictured at St Peter's Chapel on the Wall, Bradwell. Picture: Visit Essex/BigWavePRMartina Cole is pictured at St Peter's Chapel on the Wall, Bradwell. Picture: Visit Essex/BigWavePR

She said: “I lived in Benfleet for a long time, I’m a Benfleet girl, I always loved the castle there and I always loved the history, there’s so much history in Essex, especially Colchester and its castle.”

Southend

The seaside resort of Southend is a much-loved place to go for Michelin star chef, Chris Galvin, co-founder of the Galvin Brothers.

Chris co-owns The Green Man in Great Waltham, with his brother Jeff.

Chelmsford Weekly News: The Galvin Brothers are pictured at their Green Man pub in Great Waltham, near Chelmsford. Picture: VisitEssex/BigWavePRThe Galvin Brothers are pictured at their Green Man pub in Great Waltham, near Chelmsford. Picture: VisitEssex/BigWavePR

He said: “Southend-on-Sea has to be my favourite place, we come from a big family, and we used to take a big convoy from Romford.

"We’d take a big pitch on the beach and always take sandwiches, my nan would cook for 20 of us and we’d spend the day there until it was almost dark, it still holds a lot of special memories for me.”

Leisure World, Colchester

TV and singing superstar Stacey Solomon said she had “the best evening” after renting a popular swimming pool in Colchester before the birth of her daughter

Taking to her Instagram story, Stacey shared a string of images and videos appearing in good spirits.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Stacey Solomon and son Rex at Leisure World in Colchester. Picture: Stacey Solomon/InstagramStacey Solomon and son Rex at Leisure World in Colchester. Picture: Stacey Solomon/Instagram

She wrote: “Aw we had the best evening.

“The boys love swimming so so much, so me and my family and a few of the boys’ friends all chipped in and hired the pool for the night to try and do something different for the holidays.”

Galvin Green Man

The Galvin Green Man in Chelmsford was recently named the best pub in the country in the National Pub and Bar Awards 2021. 

The Howe Street restaurant and pub had already come out top for the county in the 2021 awards, which celebrates the best watering holes in the country. 

The restaurant has the backing of Fred Sirieix, Maitre D at Channel 4’s First Dates restaurant.

Fred was spotted at the launch back in 2016. At the time he was general manager at Galvin Windows, the brothers’ restaurant in London’s Mayfair.

He has also shared posts on Instagram about him enjoying a roast dinner there. 

Brentwood Country Parks

Comedian Ellie Taylor was brought up in Brentwood and although she now resides in the capital, one of her favourite places to visit is the country parks near her hometown.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Ellie Taylor (Picture: VisitEssex/BigWavePR)Ellie Taylor (Picture: VisitEssex/BigWavePR)

She says: “I love the country parks near Brentwood, Thorndon, and Wealden, which are beautiful and gorgeous to have a walk around.”

Both parks include historic woodland and open spaces; Thorndon is also home to the Gruffalo trail in the deep dark wood, so watch out for mouse, fox, snake and owl.

Caddies, Southend

Celebrities descended on Southend for a round of booze-fuelled crazy golf, as bosses unveiled a £250,000 overhaul of its handmade nine hole courses.

EastEnders and Strictly star Maisie Smith and Zack Brown, who play Tiffany Butcher and Keegan Baker, joined Love Island contestants AJ Bunker and Chloe Crowhurst at Caddies crazy golf on Southend High Street, for a night of eating, drinking, and hole-in-ones.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Maisie Smith at CaddiesMaisie Smith at Caddies

Co-owner George Bejko-Cowlbeck splashed £250,000 on a complete revamp of the second floor, just 18 months after opening a comedy club downstairs.

The revamp also saw a re-design of the second floor, with both the bar and restaurant having a whole new look and layout.

Pavilion, Colchester

The restaurant has welcomed a number of famous faces over the years. 

In 2020, Love Island winner Kem Cetinay was spotted on a night out at the venue

Chelmsford Weekly News: Love Island winner Kem Cetinay was snapped on a visit to Pavilion restaurant in Colchester. Picture: @pavilioncolchester/instagramLove Island winner Kem Cetinay was snapped on a visit to Pavilion restaurant in Colchester. Picture: @pavilioncolchester/instagram

Pavilion posted a snap of Kem at the restaurant holding a giant stuffed bear with the caption: "When Kem found love @pavilioncolchester."

Maldon Promenade

Women’s UK rally driving ace, Nabila Tejpar, spends much of her life in the fast lane, heading off to races around the world from her Essex base.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Nabila Tejpar is pictured with her rally car at the Warren Classic and Super Car Show, near Maldon. Picture: VisitEssex/BigWavePRNabila Tejpar is pictured with her rally car at the Warren Classic and Super Car Show, near Maldon. Picture: VisitEssex/BigWavePR

She loves to head over to the historic market town of Maldon for a day out.

She said: “One of my favourite places to visit is Maldon, there’s a beautiful promenade, which is lovely in the summer and there’s also some amazing coffee shops like Mrs Salisbury’s – you’ve got to try the afternoon tea if you go there.".

Mersea Beach

In the summer Denise van Outen shared her staycation on the island

The TV presenter took to Instagram to share a series of photos of her visit, capturing West Mersea's colourful beach huts. 

She also met up with fellow Essex star Lydia Bright to enjoy a seafood platter from The Company Shed. 

Chelmsford Weekly News: Denise van Outen enjoyed a staycation trip to Mersea. Picture: @vanouten_denise/InstagramDenise van Outen enjoyed a staycation trip to Mersea. Picture: @vanouten_denise/Instagram

TV and singing star Stacey Solomon also shared photos of a trip to Mersea with her children.

Stacey, who is a Loose Women panelist, shared snaps of sons Rex, two, Leighton, nine, and Zachary, 13, enjoying their day out. 

Chelmsford Weekly News: Stacey's snap of sons Rex, two, Leighton, nine, and Zachary, 13, enjoying their day out (Picture: Stacey Solomon/Instagram)Stacey's snap of sons Rex, two, Leighton, nine, and Zachary, 13, enjoying their day out (Picture: Stacey Solomon/Instagram)

The star booked a beach hut through the Little Beach Hut Company based on the island. 

PIC

Back in May the beach and iconic pastel beach huts featured in Freemans's Funshine campaign starring dancer Karen Hauer.

Barge Inn, Battlesbridge

Icon Rod Stewart enjoyed a Sunday lunch at the popular south Essex pub.

Bosses at the Barge Inn in Battlesbridge were taken aback when the rockstar arrived.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Rod Stewart at the pub. Credit: The Barge InnRod Stewart at the pub. Credit: The Barge Inn

Pub supervisor Chloe Guntrip, 25, said: "Rod and Penny were both really lovely.

"They sat down quite centrally in the pub and then everyone started to clock on to who they were."

Roslin Beach Hotel

Basildon star Denise Van Outen dropped into the plush seafront hotel for dinner back in May last year.

She sat on the terrace, which overlooks the seafront, while she enjoyed their dinner and a glass of wine.

Denise praised staff and insisted she couldn't wait to return.

Sharing their visit on Instagram, Denise said: "The most amazing evening dining al fresco on the terrace at the Roslin Beach Hotel."

Maison Talbooth, Dedham 

Popstar Michelle Heaton enjoyed a stay at the boutique hotel.

The former Liberty X star turned personal trainer shared the pictures of her stay on Instagram.

In the post she said: "So lucky to be able to have a short break somewhere so peaceful right now .. in the midst of the house being renovated!"