This Secret Island Near London Is a Celebrity Hot Spot — and You Can Only Drive There When the Tide Goes Out
Osea is a star-studded private island, replete with charming cottages, sandy shores and, when the time is right, warehouse dance parties. Although it may sound like a Caribbean getaway or a secret enclave in the Indian Ocean, Osea Island is located just a 20-minute helicopter ride from London.
The 380-acre island off the coast of Essex is gaining notoriety not just for its famous guests but its surprising location. Osea Island is connected to the rest of England via an ancient causeway that was built by the Romans. But the causeway is only accessible twice a day, when the tide goes out. (If you drive out from London, the journey is less than two hours.)
Advertised activities on the island are charmingly wholesome; visitors can pick blackberries, explore sand dunes, ride bikes, and play croquet. But behind the sandcastles and the free bike rentals, the idyllic locale has a much deeper history.
In the early 20th century, a man named Frederick Nicholas Charrington purchased the island to create a rehabilitation program for those overcoming addictions to drugs or alcohol. Osea's mission remained the same for more than 100 years, even accepting major celebrity clients like Amy Winehouse. But it was shut down in 2010 for operating without proper registration.
In its new life, Osea has become a mecca for the entertainment industry. The island surged in popularity in 2020 as the horror-fueled setting of HBO's The Third Day. And in 2012, Daniel Radcliffe filmed "Woman in Black" there. The island also hosts a studio where Rihanna, Charli XCX, and Labrinth (the composer for Euphoria) have all recorded music.
Today, it's known as an equally suitable destination for either a lavish event or a quiet weekend away in nature. (Visit in the off-season and there's a good chance you'll feel like you have the island all to yourself.)