Relatively unknown compared to neighbouring resorts such as Clacton-On-Sea, the Essex coastal town of Walton-on-the-Naze has all you need for a seaside getaway. Pier? Check? Amusements? Check. Fish and chip shops? Check, check, check. But there’s one aspect in which it’s punching above its weight. Beach huts.
Walton-on-the-Naze is home to more than 1,000 beach huts, stretching from Frinton in the south, all the way up to the pier, where they reach a pastel-coloured crescendo, stacked several high on the stepped cliff. Further Walton beach huts can be found further up the coast at Cliff Parade, and the town has been home to huts for over a century. While we can find no official figures to back up our beliefs, we suspect this may earn Walton-on-the-Naze the unofficial title of beach hut capital of the Essex (Bournemouth’s 2,000 huts prevent Walton from taking the national crown).
Beach huts have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, probably thanks to their intrinsic Instagramability, and Walton’s glorified sheds have become an attraction in their own right. We’ve spent many an hour walking up and down the promenade, ogling the varying paint shades, puntastic names and quirky decor given to the huts to make them stand out.
Visit on a summer’s day, and you’re guaranteed to see at least one beach hut being given a new lick of paint by its proud owner, and many more families sitting on their decks, watching the world go by, aware that their little slice of British seaside paradise hold a certain fascination for others.
To experience the beach huts in their full glory, we suggest starting your walk at Frinton, joining the promenade near the golf club. A single row of huts lines the front in an almost solid line from here to Walton. Things get really serious just past The Leas public toilet, where the predominantly blue and brown palette gives way to all manner of pastel shades, including a few eye-catching candy striped affairs, all raised above ground on stilts.
With beautiful sands and the sound of the sea on your right,the hits stretch as far as the eye can see, and once you round the corner onto Southcliff Promenade, they seem to multiply before you, stacked two, three, four, even five rows high close to the pier. They also take on a more uniform appearance, with identical numbered portholes above the door indicating those available for hire.
All in all, it’s a couple of miles from Frinton Golf Club to Walton Pier, but there are public toilets and ice cream huts along the route. A word of warning though — there’s very little in the way of shelter, so learn from our mistakes and try to avoid getting caught in a rainstorm.
How to get a beach hut at Walton-on-the-Naze
Fancy your own slice of paradise? You’ll need shockingly deep pockets to buy your own Walton-on-the-Naze beach hut. In 2021, the average cost of a beach hut in England is reported to be around £40,000 with some along this stretch of coastline reaching £70,000. At time of writing, four Walton-on-the-Naze beach huts are listed for sale , ranging from £30,000-£55,000. And just a reminder, these huts don’t have mains electricity, plumbing, gas or toilets, and overnight stays are not allowed.
If that’s a smidge above your budget, renting a beach hut is an option, with several companies offering huts to hire. Sure, you don’t get to paint in the colour of your choice, but nor do you have to worry about maintenance and keeping it secure in the winter months.
This year, due to uncertainty around foreign travel, beach huts are more in demand than ever, with many already completely booked out for the season. Alice Beach Huts, Daisy Beach Hut Hire, and Millie’s Beach Huts are just some of the companies operating in Walton-on-the-Naze. Prices start from around £35 per day in the low season, and go upwards of £60 per day during the peak, depending on size, location and other factors.
Other things to do in Walton-on-the-Naze
So you’ve ogled a lifetime’s worth of beach huts, played the slots on the pier, and had an ice cream on the seafront. Walton-on-the-Naze has plenty of other attractions, including a small but fascinating Maritime Museum, seal boat trips at certain times of year, and the town itself has several gift and antique shops to browse.
As for the Naze in the town’s name, it refers to the headland located to the north of the town, which juts out into the North Sea. It’s home to the Naze Tower, a visitor centre, and a small nature reserve. It’s approximately a half hour walk along the coast from Walton Pier.
Walton-on-the-Naze is a 2-2.5 hour train journey from Liverpool Street. If you’re driving, bear in mind that parking in the town is limited and can get busy in peak season.
Why not visit these other seaside towns and islands in Essex — if it's beach huts you're after, Mersea Island is well worth a visit. Take a look at our map of day trips near London for other ideas for days out.