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10 Of The Best Places In Essex To Feel Happy And Healthy


Absolutely picks out our top ten healthy things to see and do in Essex

Step into a happy and healthy summer with our top ten things to do in Essex. We’ve partnered with the county’s tourist organisation, Visit Essex, to give you fresh and exciting things to do.

Summertime spas

Step into a spa this summer and get beach ready while you do it. Essex has a wide variety of spas and beauty salons to make you look and feel your best. Our favourites are Down Hall Hotel and Spa, which offers mini spa days for guests and individual treatments for visitors to the hotel. Down Hall is set on the Essex/Herts border amidst stunning countryside and is the perfect place to unwind. 

If privacy and an outdoor pool are more your thing, head over to Talbooth House and Spa in the Dedham Vale. The newly-renovated spa boasts six treatment rooms and an ultra-glam pool with luxury loungers. 

If you fancy a round of golf and a pamper with friends, visit the Stoke by Nayland Resort which offers a range of spa days and spa breaks.

Go for a walk

Essex is great walking territory with soft undulating hills. Getting out and about and visiting places on-foot is a good way to get fit and experience new places on your doorstep. 

When the sun is beating down, head to the Saltmarsh Path which snakes around the county’s estuaries from Tollesbury to Fambridge. You don’t have to take on the whole 75-mile length of the path, but it’s easily accessed in short sections. The sea breeze is cooling and don’t forget to stop and enjoy an ice cream or drink at some of the cafes and pubs along the way.

The Old Oak Colemans Farm
The Old Oak

Glamping and mindfulness

Go for a digital detox and treat the family to a glamping adventure. There’s lots of cabins, wigwams and shepherd’s huts to choose from. Lee Valley Glamping has some excellent facilities at Sewardstone and Dobbs Weir which come with all mod-cons, their cute cocoons also offer great value for money. 

If you’re looking for the ultimate in luxury on your glamping getaway, try Colemans Farm near Ongar, which has a fairytale-like tree house. Or if glamping on a floating raft floats your boat, stay at Chigborough camping and glamping near Heybridge. Their raft has its own private lake and provides the ultimate peaceful and relaxing get away from it all and was featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. 

Attend a well-being festival

Boost mind, body and soul at ‘Mersea Minds in Motion’ on Mersea Island, being held from 7-8 October. Recharge batteries at an energising weekend full of well-being sessions and outdoor activities with expert instructors by the coast. The festival is perfect for adults and young adults (age 14+) who would like to increase their wellbeing, mental health and find their fit with expert instructors in a safe and attractive environment.


Adrenaline-filled days out

Get pumped and full of adrenaline with a fun day out at one of the county’s adventure centres. Sky Ropes at Great Notley Country Park near Braintree is a great place for kids and big kids to climb high and take on two-level challenges. The country park is also a great place to play and boasts a 1.2-kilometre play trail, including a giant walk-on seesaw, slides, forts and tyre swings. 

For hardcore high ropes fans, treat yourself to a day of action at Nuclear High Ropes near Brentwood. The course has three levels, six courses and over 70 aerial obstacles and 13 zipwires which wind through extensive woodland.

Take to the water

With 350-miles of coastline, Essex has so much space for visitors to get out and enjoy a day by the water. The area is perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding or sailing. All activities are ideal for your well-being, but if you’re new to life on the water, make sure you take a course to learn the ropes. Frangipani SUP offers a range of courses from beginners to improvers at Home Lake near Chigborough, Maldon, and Trifarm Swimming Lake at Boreham near Chelmsford. 

If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at sailing, sign-up to a course at Essex Outdoors, which offers specialist instruction to adults and children on a new fleet of yachts and ribs. Their Essex Outdoors pursuits centre is based on the shores at Bradwell-on-Sea.

Eo Bradwell Aug

Make a splash  

There’s nothing better than cooling off in the sea on a hot summer’s day. Head to one of the county’s top seaside resorts and spend a day swimming in the waves at Clacton, Walton or Southend. Don’t forget to check out local beach patrol services, which run seasonally, and always ensure children are accompanied.

Vegan restaurants and healthy food

Tuck into tasty vegan food at the vast array of farmers’ markets, cafes and restaurants in Essex. If you love spice, you’ll love the vegan options on offer at Brohmon’s in Stansted Mountfitchet. The award-winning Indian restaurant serves a mix of yummy dhals, bhajees and ‘Sabzi Jalfrezi’, a soya steak in a hot spicy sauce. 

If you prefer something more traditional, check out the mouthwatering afternoon teas and vegan jams on offer at the English Cream Tea Company – delicious!

Family time

Summer is the best time to get out and about and make memories with friends and family. We’re all social creatures so get a date in the diary and meet up with your nearest and dearest for a special day out. Essex offers many parks for groups to enjoy their own picnics, as well as a wide range of top visitor attractions, such as Colchester Zoo, Adventure Island in Southend and Audley End House and Gardens near Saffron Walden.


Take a walk with your furry friend

Our furry friends not only help our well-being by reducing stress, but dog owners also benefit from increased exercise. Download the Go Jauntly app on the Visit Essex website and explore somewhere new. The app has a wide range of walks including detailed guides on circular and short/mid distance walks along the Essex coast and estuaries.

To find out more about our recommendations, head to

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Picture of Mark Kebble

Mark Kebble

Mark's career in journalism started in 2001 when he landed a role on a small lifestyle magazine in Angel, North London. Soon enough, the magazine was purchased by a larger organisation and Mark found himself promoted to editor at the tender age of 23. He later became group editor, working on magazines for Angel, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Highgate. He was also involved in a launch in Hadley Wood and a major new group website, later becoming Group Hub Editor. In 2021, Mark joined Zest Media Group and oversaw the launch of many Absolutely titles across the UK. To date, Mark has launched in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Essex, Yorkshire and Cheshire. When he does have some free time, Mark is also the Chairman of an amateur football club in Surrey and is also a fully qualified FA football coach.
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