When growing up, there are certain things you experience that form you into the person that you become.
They are different for everyone, but there are some rites of passage that everyone from Essex will have done or experienced at some point in their lives.
Whether it’s the school trips we went on, or the things we say to each other, there are a number of things that make us quintessentially Essex.
If you were born and bred in Essex, these are the things that most of us would have gone through.
Not everyone is from Towie
“Yes I’m from Essex. I know I haven’t got a fake tan”.
These words, or words to these effect, will have undoubtedly been spoken by many of us to those who don’t live in our county.
Having to explain to others that not everyone who lives in Essex is like those seen on Towie can get annoying.
We aren’t all known for being covered in fake tan and we a lot of us certainly don’t know anyone who talks like that.
When anyone from outside of Essex asks us about it, we really can’t tell them much as it isn’t normal life for us.
Having people comment on your accent
“You really sound like you’re from Essex,” is like a punch in the face.
It’s usually said in a derogatory way and is not the most flattering thing anyone from Essex have been told.
Our accent is the way it is because of our proximity to London. Many eastenders moved from the capital to Essex, meaning our accent is a mix of ‘cockney’ and other ‘estuary’ dialects.
While some may think it makes us sound thick, you can still be well-spoken with the accent.
Some even find the accent sexy – it was named the sexiest UK accent in 2019.
Geography trips to Walton-On-The-Naze and Wat Tyler Country Park
If you took GCSE geography, you probably would have taken a trip to the seaside town of Walton-on-the-Naze.
While there, you would have climbed the tower, measured the levels of erosion, and most importantly, had a blinder of a time on the coach.
Wat Tyler Country Park in Basildon is also a common destination for primary school and secondary school geography trips.
Constantly quoting lines from Gavin and Stacey
We all remember our first time watching Gavin and Stacey.
From their crackin’ jokes to heartwarming story lines, we all love Gavin and Stacey here in Essex, especially The Shipmans from Billericay.
Pam, Mick and Gavin as a family never fail to make us smile, and so much of what they do and say surprisingly reflects many of our lives in Essex.
Taking a trip to Lakeside
Love it or hate it, Lakeside has helped put Essex on the map.
It was Europe’s largest shopping centre when it first opened in the 1990s.
It remains to this day one of the best centres for selection of shops, restaurants, and cinema.
The A12, A127 and A13 are some of the most infamous roads we have.
If there isn’t some sort of crash or incident, there’s undoubtedly a driver that will make you shout, or a crater-sized pothole that makes you worry about your tyres.
And let’s not forget about the diversions and traffic. After a long, hard day the roads are chock-a-block and you’re stuck in a sea of cars.
The way we shorten the names of our towns and city
Bas and Chelmo are among a few towns that we shorten. Not to mention the emphasis on ‘ay’ in Billericay. It’s just one of the quirky things we do.
People never believe that we have beautiful countrysides
Lots of people are unaware of the rural beauty of Essex, even people who are from here.
People think our county is all big towns and cities full of nightlife and fake tan when in reality there is so much more.
We have beautiful parks, rivers and nature reserves which people really need to know about.
We’re still confused about that Basildon sign
The first time we saw the Basildon sign we all gasped in horror.
It achieved international acclaim thanks to its similarity to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.
10 years later, it’s become a part of the furniture, though it still confuses us as to why it was put up in the first place.
Telling people you’re from London
We’ve all done it. It saves a lot of time and explanation just to tell someone you’re from London, or “just east of London” – especially when you’re abroad.
When talking to anyone who doesn’t know the UK too well, if you tell them you’re from Essex, nine times out of 10 you’ll just get a blank stare.
It’s so much easier just to say “near London.”
“Going out” and “going out out”
We can all relate to Micky Flanagan’s hilarious routine on the difference between “going out” and “going out out”.
Going out out means you’re getting dressed up to go ‘out out’, whereas going out is just a little trip to the shops or to a friend’s house.
Our other sayings
We have so many ‘Essexisms’ that we use daily.
Saying “no offence” when you clearly mean to be offensive, but you think it’ll lighten the blow.
“I’m not being funny” when starting or coming back from an argument.
Overusing “literally” or “actually” is another slang favourite for the people of Essex. Normally, we use it as a filler or agreement.
As soon as the sun starts to shine, every single family clogs up the A127 to make their way down to Southend beach with a Rossi’s ice cream or a famous doughnut.
Not to mention a stroll down Southend Pier, the world’s longest leisure pier – and we won’t let you forget about that!