Brightlingsea is a coastal town in the Tendring district of Essex, England, located between Colchester and Clacton-on-Sea, situated at the mouth of the River Colne, on Brightlingsea Creek. It has an estimated population of 8500.
Its traditional industries included fishery (with a renowned oyster fishery) and shipbuilding. With the decline of these industries, the town is largely a dormitory town for Colchester.
Brightlingsea is a limb of Sandwich, one of the Cinque Ports. The town retains an active ceremonial connection with the Cinque Ports, electing a Deputy from a guild of Freemen.
Brightlingsea was for many years twinned with French oyster fishery port Marennes, Charente-Maritime, but the relationship fell into disuse. In the mid-1990s, the port of Brightlingsea was used for the export of live animals for slaughter, leading to a protest campaign dubbed “The Battle of Brightlingsea”.
In the centre of the town is Jacob’s Hall, reputedly the oldest timber-framed building in England, built during the fourteenth century. Also in the town centre is Victoria Place, where many local businesses are based.
To the west, on the creek is Western Promenade. It has lines of beach huts, a skate park, swimming pool, boating lake, and paddling pool. It is a popular destination for tourists and Londoners. Bateman’s Tower, a local landmark by the sea, has recently been renovated by the Colne Yacht Club with help from a Lottery Fund grant.