The county hotspots that will provide plenty of summer fun, for the younger and older generations
Essex certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to summer fun for all the family. Treat yourself to a special day out along the county’s stunning coastline, tuck into its top food and relax at a historic garden or stately home. Here’s Visit Essex’s top ten things to see and do.
Explore Essex’s 350-mile coastline and estuaries
This is the Year of the Coast, so why not explore Essex’s vast coastline. Visit the county’s top seaside resorts or head off the beaten-track and wander around the county’s estuaries. Go fossil hunting on Mersea Island or Walton-on-the-Naze and take Insta-worthy pictures of pretty beach huts.
Enjoy life above and below stairs
Take a trip to Audley End House and Gardens, near Saffron Walden, and step back in time. Wander around the grounds, experience life upstairs and downstairs and discover more about Essex’s history.
Relax in stunning gardens
The county is home to historic gardens at RHS Hyde Hall near Chelmsford, which boasts ornamental horticulture, wild woodlands and majestic meadows. Pack a picnic and relax in an English country garden. Or visit Beth Chatto’s inspirational 1960s dry garden near Colchester, which is celebrating what would have been Beth’s 100th birthday.
Visit the seaside
Southend-on-Sea is one of the UK’s latest cities and there’s plenty to do. Ride a rollercoaster at Adventure Island, catch a train to the end of the world’s longest pier, take in culture at the Focal Point Gallery and enjoy an ice cream at Rossi’s Ice Cream Parlour on the seafront.
Tuck into Essex
Essex is renowned for its seafood, so visit authentic cockle and oyster sheds along its shores and tuck into freshly caught local produce. Treat yourself to a traditional cream tea at Tiptree tearooms across the county, or head to Galvin Green Man in Chelmsford, voted the nation’s best pub.
Sail upon a Thames Sailing Barge
Hop on a traditional Thames Sailing Barge from historic Maldon and take to sea. The barges are still a familiar sight along the coastline and used to ferry goods from the county to London and further afield. Once the sails are up, you can also take in the local wildlife.
Colchester was Britain’s capital in Roman times and there’s lots of historic artefacts to explore around the city. Walk by the Roman walls that run through the city and are lit at night and take in stunning mosaics, or tour the Roman Circus visitor centre. Colchester Castle, the largest Norman Keep in Europe, is built on the grounds of a Roman temple and has many historical artefacts inside.
Visit the Zoo
A must for animal lovers and families alike, Colchester Zoo is home to 180 species across 60 acres of parkland and lakes. Children love to feed the giraffes and elephants, visit the petting zoo, ride the train to visit the ring-tailed lemurs and watch the lions roar behind their glazed enclosures.
Picturesque towns and villages
For scenic, postcard-worthy views, explore the villages of Essex. Dedham is located in the heart of Constable Country and offers independent shops, pubs and walks by the river. Finchingfield is another must visit with its picturesque duck pond. Also explore the ancient Flitch towns of Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and Thaxted, famed for their spired churches, mediaeval architecture, market squares and quaint traditions – check out the Morris dancing and flitch of bacon customs!
Cheers to Essex
Essex is also home to a growing number of vineyards, sip the best on a wine tasting tour in the Crouch Valley or north of the county for award-winning vintages.
To find out more, head to visitessex.com/things-to-do