THE traditional pub crawl is somewhat of a rite of passage and a staple of almost every stag-do, hen party, and Christmas get together with work colleagues.

But, as pleasant as it is trawling through the chewing-gummed stained streets of town centres, as you make your way to watering hole, it is not the only way to do it.

As much as we have a wealth of pubs, bars, and restaurants in South Essex, we also have a whole host of beautiful countryside walks which can be enjoyed along the way.

Here’s a few perfectly placed pubs for those who would rather gaze at slightly more picturesque scenery instead of a busy high street.

The Bull, in Hockley, has just re-opened after a huge refit following a devastating blaze. It's a great place at the heart of its community. Read more here

The Hawk, Battlesbridge

Located off the A130 between Rayleigh and Chelmsford, the Hawk is a favourite. A modern menu and a brilliant wine list, it's worth a try. Great to sit outside whiling away the hours during the summer over a nice glass of crisp white win. Bookings are advised, particularly at the moment after Covid restrictions were lifted. 

The Plough and Sail, Paglesham
Located under 20 minutes from the centre of Southend, The Plough and Sail is a perfect destination if you fancy enjoying a tipple in the quiet countryside.

Surrounded by quaint, cute cottages, this pleasant little vintage pub sells a vast selection of thirst-quenching drinks and classic hot dishes.

A stone’s throw away from the River Rouch, The Plough and Sail is a splendid spot for a Sunday afternoon pint, before embarking on a relaxing country walk.

The Rose Inn, Great Wakering
Run by Greene King, the country’s largest retailer and brewer, The Rose Inn is at the heart of the community of Great Wakering, a small village in South Essex.

Positioned on a relatively quiet road, draped in shadowing trees, there is definitely a sense of the serene about the location of this particular watering hole.

The pub also has a nice beer garden, and the farmers fields nearby, although not accessible, to provide somewhat of a pleasant backdrop to a summer walk.

The Angel, Shoebury

While not technically a country pub, the Angel could pass for one. It is a traditional country pub, with flagstone floors.

It has a country-style bar with an open fire in the winter months, where you can enjoy a variety of real ales, Guinness, draught lagers or bottled beers.

This historic listed timber framed structure dates from circa 1650 and was formerly the North Shoebury Post Office and Blacksmith’s Shop.

The adjoining thatched Wheelwrights which eventually succumbed to the elements in the mid 1920s is now the site of the restaurant.

The Bellhouse, Leigh
There’s no better setting in which to enjoy an ice-cold brew or traditional grub than a 15th century pub, which is exactly what The Bellhouse is.

Unlike The Plough and Sail, it isn’t nestled away in tranquil green surroundings, but internally at least, it certainly gives of the same countryside-esque vibe.

Cosy open fires during the winter months also add to the charm of The Bellhouse, and the fact its meal are sourced from fresh, local produce only adds to its appeal.

Saxon King, Southend
It may be situated next to a busy road (and isn't really a country pub) but the Saxon King is also only stone’s throw away from the wonderful Priory Park, which boasts a calming and flowing lake.

So, whether you’ve headed to Saxon King for a quiet pint or two, or a hearty bacon and cheddar-stuffed burger, enjoying the wonderful park afterwards is a no-brainer.

Particularly during these summer months, there is something special about a chilled walk around a vast green space as the sun goes down following a visit to the pub.

The Hoop, Stock

Starting life as three weavers' cottages built in 1460 The Hoop was converted to an Ale House approximately 450 years ago. 

The present-day Hoop is notable for its brick fireplaces. The bar boasts the building’s original timber framework, most of which formed part of warships lying in dock at Tilbury.

Another being the raised hoops that would encircle a quart pot. In bygone times an overflowing tankard was said to be "cock-a-hoop" and the expression has since come to denote merry-making and drinking without stint. A tradition the locals still boast.

The pub is a favourite in south Essex, renowned for is fantastic food ranging from the staple fillet steak to Indonesian fish curry. A brilliant wine list, too.