At a loss what to do with the family this summer? Here, Visit Essex offer up ideas for fun days to enjoy in the county
With historic Norman castles, exhilarating activities and relaxing beaches, Essex is the ideal destination for a family daytrip. Visit Essex, the county’s tourism body, gives us the lowdown on the best days out this summer.
Get up close and have a fun day out on a farm. Visit Old Macdonald’s farm in Brentwood, where you can see a variety of animals, from cows and pigs, to reindeer, otters and meerkats. Or take a trip to Marsh Farm, Chelmsford, to see traditional farmyard animals, and even play a round of crazy golf.
If you love alpacas, treat your teenager to an alpaca trek experience in Braintree. Children aged 14+ can share an alpaca with an accompanying adult and walk around the farm, alongside the stunning River Blackwater. Once the walk is finished, visit the farm’s pygmy goats, which you can hand feed and cuddle.
Love of the outdoors
Take a walk on the wild side and explore marshland and reedbeds at Ingrebourne Nature Discovery Centre in Hornchurch. You can go birdwatching for a variety of species or see if you can spot a Water Vole dashing into the water.
For those looking for adventure, Great Notley Country Park, Braintree, is home to Essex’s longest play trail and Sky Ropes.
Explore Essex heritage
Essex is full of rich heritage and culture, and to learn more about it, visit Colchester Castle. When Colchester was the first capital of Britain, the Normans built Colchester Castle on the remains of the Roman Temple of Claudius, and this summer, you could spot costumed characters walking around every Friday in August. They’ll tell you about life, magic, superstitions and medicines from Roman and Medieval times.
If you’d prefer relaxing scenery, take a picnic and enjoy the beautiful surrounds of Hedingham Castle. Or put your knowledge to the test and see if you and the family can solve the clues and find a way out of Hedingham’s immersive escape room experience.
Fun-filled family activities
There are lots of places to try new activities. You could learn how to stand up on a paddleboard at the stunning Blackwater Estuary with Frangipani SUP or take a family kayaking lesson with Mersea Island Watersports, their sheltered position making learning easy for all. For lots of family fun, head over to Curve Water Sports at St Osyth, where you can take on an inflatable obstacle course.
Head out for a magical journey of exploration and discovery deep in the enchanted woods at Audley End Miniature Railway. This spectacular summer-long adventure is jam-packed with activities and entertainment, mythical creatures and magical surprises, ensuring a memorable day out in the great outdoors for the whole family.
Their resident explorer will set young adventurers on their way from the platform, boarding a miniature train to take a captivating woodland journey where they will spot enchanted creatures along the route. The train passes through the ancient mine where rumour has it, the fire breathing dragons live, guarding the precious ancient crystals. Then adventurers will journey back to our fairy and elf friends who are ready and waiting to welcome visitors to their tiny woodland homes. A truly memorable occasion.
Hit the beach
We all love a day on the beach at Clacton, Southend or Walton, but head off the beaten track and see what else you can find along Essex’s 350-mile coastline. On the beautiful Bell Wharf Beach, you will be near Old Leigh’s renowned cockle sheds, where you can find working fishing boats that will be bringing in their fresh catch of the day.
Unleash your inner geologist and head to Walton-on-the-Naze, where the eroding cliffs regularly expose a wide range of fossils along the shoreline. Remember to only visit at low tide and not to stand too close to the tumbling cliffs. The visitor’s centre on top of the cliffs is a treasure trove of finds and information.
Rainy days are fun days
If the clouds gather and it’s raining outside, take a trip to Rollerworld in Colchester. You’ll be able to race around the skating rink, battle each other in a game of laser quest, or belt out your favourite songs in a karaoke suite.
Whatever the weather, there are lots of fun days out to be had in Essex this summer. To find out more, see visitessex.com