Healthy hot spots
Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, getting active or simply a spa break to ease yourself into 2024, Essex has plenty for mind and body
January is the perfect time to set some health goals. Luckily, Essex is blessed with top spas, leading golf courses, beautiful natural surrounds for walks, plus adrenaline-fuelled action for all ages. Visit Essex suggest five top tips on how to get fit and look after your mind, body and spirit in 2024.
Tee off and take up a new hobby
Stoke-by-Nayland resort on the Essex/Suffolk borders is the perfect spot to brush up on your golf skills. Its 18-hole golf course is the perfect place to unwind and refine your golf skills. The venue also boasts an 80-bed hotel, so why not treat yourself to a golfing weekend?
Golfers will also love Braxted Park Golf Club, located in an area of outstanding beauty within the walled grounds of one of the county’s finest private estates. The nine-hole course is beautifully landscaped and offers undulating tree-lined vistas, where golfers may also glimpse the estate’s resident deer.
For a more static experience and to practice your technique, head to the driving range at Golf World near Stansted, where golfers of all abilities can tee off and play for fun. There’s also a three-hole beginner course and a picturesque nine-hole golf course for the more ambitious.
Become an outdoor warrior
Billed as the ‘hottest new adventure in Essex’, adrenaline junkies will love to take to the treetops at Go Ape in Chelmsford. Set in the beautiful grounds of Hylands Estate, visitors can traverse across the Tarzan swings, soar through the air on high-speed ziplines and tackle intricate crossings. Children can also join the treetop adventures and take a slightly less demanding course.
Also, why not challenge yourself to get muddy. Test your fitness and skill in the great outdoors at Nuclear Races in Brentwood. With a 20-foot free-fall deathslide, 120 metre permanent steel gorilla bars and a four-storey deep underground Secret Nuclear Bunker, there’s plenty to do to put your fitness to the test, if you dare!
Find your inner ninja
For those who prefer to stay warm and get fit indoors, the county has much to offer. Head to Essex’s largest indoor climbing centre, the Lock Climbing Wall in Harlow. Whether you are a seasoned climber or a newbie who’d like to give it a go, there are great climbing experiences for everyone.
Or head out for some family fun at a trampoline park. Flip Out Lakeside offers a jump-tastic experience for fun-loving athletes of all ages. The attraction boasts the UK’s longest traverse wall, plus a ninja wipeout podium, ninja tag games and a stunt zone where experienced jumpers can leap from raised boxes.
For an even mightier challenge, fitness fanatics can test their physical strength and agility at the new Ninja Warrior UK in Chelmsford. Inspired by the much-loved TV show, visitors can conquer the famous warped wall, balance on beams or bounce across inflatables.
Power walk through stunning countryside
Make a new year’s resolution to explore your local area and power walk through country parks, woodlands and paths by the coast.
Explore Epping Forest with its 8,000 acres of woodland with over 284km of paths. The forest has ten waymarked circular trails, most of which start and end near car parks or train stations. With 55,000 ancient trees, including oaks, beech and hornbeam, it’s a beautiful place to get out and walk off some calories this New Year.
Essex is also home to a wide range of country parks, such as Cudmore Grove on Mersea Island, which offers wide-open landscapes to the sea. There’s also the wooded country parks of Thorndon Country Park, which is home to the Gruffalo Trail, and Weald Country Park where you can follow the adventures of the Stick Man, both near Brentwood.
If you love walking by the riverside, make a date to power walk the Wivenhoe trail. The path starts at Wivenhoe train station and is a 2.5-mile meander through the Colne estuary to the historic city of Colchester. Wivenhoe itself is a quaint, bohemian estuary town that is well worth looking round for its independent shops before heading off along the Colne. The estuary is part of a nature reserve and is a great place to spot wildfowl on its salty marshes. The walk also takes in woodland and goes past the University of Essex. You can end your walk at Colchester Hythe station or follow the route a little further into Colchester’s Castle Park.
Indulge in a spa experience
De-stress mind and body with a relaxing visit to one of the county’s leading spas to look after your wellbeing. The spa at Potters Resorts Five Lakes, near Maldon, offers 12 treatment rooms, heated pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room and relaxation room. It’s the perfect place to unwind within 320-acres of glorious Essex countryside.
Or immerse yourself in a variety of treatments at the stunning Down Hall on the Essex/Herts border. The hotel is equipped with a wonderful wet spa, which includes hydrotherapy pool, steam room, and sauna. Their Eden Spa is a wonderful place to relax the body and soothe the soul in one of its stylish treatment rooms.
Stoke-by-Nayland resort near Colchester also offers a range of cleansing, nourishing and relaxing treatments to help you look and feel your best. The spa boasts an 18-metre swimming pool, sanarium, steam room, jacuzzi and a concept shower. All guests are treated to complimentary towels, robes and flip flops. The spa also offers a Rasul mud therapy experience. Rasul is the traditional Arabian cleansing ritual for two to four people. Cover yourself and your partner with mud and enjoy some clean fun!
To discover more fun and healthy things to do, see visitessex.com