HURRY! Ballot Opens for Stays in A House for Essex

A House for Essex by Grayson Perry Where to Stay in Essex

Think of a self-catering place in Essex and you might imagine a Tudor-beamed old pile with character. Although A House for Essex has bucketloads of character, it is also a living artwork complete with specially created pieces that explore the particular qualities of Essex.

Designed by Turner-prize-winning artist Grayson Perry in collaboration with Charles Holland of the now-disbanded FAT Architecture, and set in the village of Wrabness, a few miles inland from Harwich, the church-like design blends exquisitely coloured bottle green tiles and brass with tapestries and ceramics. The artist's intention to build a secular church is clear for all to see and Perry calls the building 'a Taj Mahal on the River Stour.' 

Which brings us to the story behind it: Chelmsford-born Perry (Holland is also an Essex boy, both pictured below) created a fictional, but very local persona in the form of Julie, a woman born in Canvey Island in the 1950s and killed in 2014 by a curry delivery driver. Her story is detailed in the Ballad of Julie Cope, which all guests receive a copy of.

Her life is depicted in the fixtures and fittings within and without, appearing as the pregnant figure on the tiles, with the building itself her second husband's shrine to his dead wife. In turn, Perry and Holland created a beautiful homage to all aspects of Essex, from bold and brassy stereotypes to the bucolic landscapes that surround the house. 

Part art exhibition, part holiday home, A House for Essex is so popular that every quarter, a ballot is held with a computer-generated selection made. The ballot is now open for dates from December 2017 to February 2018. The house sleeps up to four people, including up to two children aged 10 upwards and prices range from £785 to £1850 for two or three nights, depending on the dates. The closing date for entries is midnight on 31 October 2017.

* To enter the ballot visit

artist grayson perry and charles holland