Close this search box.


Top 10 Things to Do for Families in Essex This Summer

walton on the naze

Summer Family Days Out

Make the most of the warmer, longer days by taking advantage of everything Essex offers. With warm weather upon us, it’s the perfect time to spend time with the family. Plenty keeps you occupied in Essex this summer, from fun attractions with the children to taking your mum out for afternoon tea. Visit Essex, the county’s tourism organisation, lists the top ten things to do as a family this summer.

Enjoy a Day Out at Your Favourite Attraction

Pop to your favourite attraction with the family. Take in the sights of Southend on the City Wheel or get yourselves in a spin on the Ramba Zamba at the nearby popular Adventure Island. Or, if you prefer to see a variety of animals, head to Sealife Adventure, the UK’s first zooquarium, where you can see marine and land-based animals.

Soak Up Some Sun at the Beach

Head to the beach for some family fun. Walton-on-the-Naze is the perfect place to go for a day trip to unearth sharks’ teeth in the sand and tide line, which are millions of years old. The experts at the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Naze Nature Discovery Centre can tell you all about the creatures that used to roam there. You could also head to other popular beach destinations, such as Southend-on-Sea or Clacton-on-Sea for fun on the piers, ice cream, plus tuck into traditional fish and chips.

Get Up Close and Personal with Animals

For animal lovers, there are always plenty of things to do in Essex. There’s summer fun at Old Macdonald’s Farm, with shows and entertainment, unlimited rides, and meet and greets with the animals, including meerkats, otters, and more. Meanwhile, children could become a zookeepers for a day at Colchester Zoo and get up close and personal with the animals. For older children or those who want to treat mum to something special, head to All Things Alpaca. Lead the alpacas around the orchards in an hour-long experience and learn all about what makes alpacas tick.

Fulfil Your Sense of Adventure

nuclear high ropes

For adventurous parents and children, opt for a high ropes experience. Nuclear High Ropes in Brentwood is the perfect place to get your thrills and spills. Named the biggest high ropes course in Essex, Nuclear High Ropes has over 70 aerial obstacles plus a 40m zipwire. If climbing is more your thing, head to The Lock Climbing Wall in Chelmsford, Essex’s largest indoor climbing centre. Whether you’re an experienced climber or this is your first time, you can reach new heights. There are also Young Climbers, where the kids can get involved.

Trek Through Essex’s Variety of Landscapes

burnham on crouch

There’s an array of exciting landscapes to explore across the county, from woodland walks to ambles around the coast. Head to Shut Heath Wood, where you’ll be immersed in nature and you can walk and talk in different surroundings. Or, if you prefer to breathe in fresh sea air, treat the family to Burnham-on-Crouch’s circular walk. You’ll see the charming maritime town, plus unrivalled views across the river Crouch to Wallasea Island.

Indulge in a Delicious Afternoon Tea

audley end miniature railway

Afternoon teas are perfect to treat Mum to a lovely day out. Tiptree tearooms, owned by the world-famous Wilkin and Sons, are dotted about the county. Dive into delicious scones, sumptuous sandwiches, and yummy cakes. You can also visit the Tiptree Jam Factory and Museum to learn about the history of the famous jam. The Secret Sconery Tea Room in Dunmow is also a great place to treat Mum. As well as enjoying afternoon tea with yourselves, you can also take a workshop to learn how to make your own picture-perfect afternoon tea. Or book a private party to have the venue all to yourself.

Take Some Time Out for a Relaxing Spa Day

down hall eden spa

Sometimes, the best way to spend time with someone you love is to take them to a relaxing setting and get pampered. Historic Down Hall is set within the stunning Essex/Herts countryside, and its Eden Spa offers a tranquil escape from everyday life. From a variety of massages to mani-pedis, you can relax together in a peaceful environment, away from the hustle and bustle. For another taste of the countryside, Talbooth House & Spa also offers a calming atmosphere in which to relax. Surrounded by the pretty Dedham Vale countryside, you can relax at the poolside or get a treatment in one of their rooms.

Sample Some Award-Winning Essex Wine

saffron grange vineyard 1

Vineyards in Essex have seen a boom in recent years, and they’re perfect to get a taste of luxe in your local area. In north Essex, vines are grown on the same chalk seam as Champagne in France. Try Saffron Grange Vineyard, near Saffron Walden, which offers tours and tastings on every Thursday and Saturday and costs from £25 per person. In the Crouch Valley, near Burnham-on-Crouch, Crouch Ridge Vineyard also offers tours and tastings with experienced sommeliers, plus delicious platters of seafood, cheese, and charcuterie to pair with their still and sparkling wines—grand tour and tasting from £35 per person.

Explore the Unexpected History and Heritage of Essex

colchester castle 1

Essex is full of rich history and heritage. From Colchester Castle, a Norman keep that was constructed on the Roman Temple of Claudius, to Epping Forest, which was said to have been used by Henry VIII, there are plenty of interesting things to see and do. Explore Colchester’s Roman walls and magnificent Colchester Castle, or roam the forest and walk where the royals once did in Epping. There are lots of walking and cycling trails to help the children burn off their energy!

Immerse Yourself in Culture at an Art Gallery

firstsite gallery

Along with its history and heritage, the county is full of culture to enjoy with the family. Firstsite Gallery in Colchester hosts exciting art exhibitions, like Lunar Lullabies, which will run throughout July, inspired by Colchester’s own Jane Taylor’s timeless poem, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The gallery also includes events like their Folk & Bespoke Artisan Craft Market on 6 July, where you and the kids can enjoy a handmade shopping day. The gallery will also host a poetry reading by Imogen Wade, winner of the National Poetry Competition, on 27 July.

For more things to do with mum or the kids, see Visit Essex.

Share this Article


Picture of Xyra Speed

Xyra Speed

Must Read

You May Also Like

Did you know you can now buy or subscribe to our printed issues?


Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to find out what’s on your local area, exclusive competitions, the latest launches and much more!

Select the areas you want to hear about