Essex in the Spring
The Easter holidays are also a wonderful time to explore Essex, families can take in a series of egg hunts, plus there’s spectacular bluebell walks in ancient woods to discover, and gardens are springing back to life. To make the most of it, Visit Essex, the county’s tourist organisation recommends the best places to stay and go this Easter.
Stroll amongst the bluebells and gardens
The blooming of magnificent bluebells in ancient woodlands is another reason for a visit to Essex. Set in mature woodland, Essex Wildlife Trust’s Hanningfield Nature Discovery Centre, near Chelmsford, has a beautiful carpet of bluebells and offers superb views alongside its 870-acre reservoir. It is also home to some well-loved characters from the Wind in the Willows stories.
If you’re looking to stay close by, there’s the Greenwoods Hotel & Spa, Ingatestone. This hidden gem offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The hotel is a Grade II Listed 17th Century manor house.
Spring comes into its own at gardens throughout Essex, with the award-winning Beth Chatto Garden near Colchester being a fine example. Demonstrating how beauty can be created from a piece of wasteland, it’s the perfect inspiration for gardeners to recreate their own slice of paradise.
The magnificent gardens are just a stone’s throw from the impressive Wivenhoe House Hotel, which too offers its own stunning garden set in impressive parkland.
Getting Deep in the Mud
The Maldon Mud Race takes place at Promenade Park, Maldon, on Sunday 24 April, where competitors take on the depths of the river Blackwater’s sticky racecourse. The fundraising event attracts thousands of spectators from across Europe. As well as watching those rolling in the mud, there’s also a duck race, stalls and a whole heap of fun to be had.
A great place to stay nearby is Le Bouchon Hotel, housed in a grade II listed, 300-year-old Georgian building. The hotel has undergone an extensive refurbishment programme restoring it to its former glory with luxurious bedrooms and a stylish restaurant.
Families will enjoy the self-catering facilities on offer at Warren Lodges, Woodham Walter, Maldon. The luxury lodges are set in a serene location and come complete with an outdoor hot tub!
Keep the children entertained by going on an egg hunt! The county has many hunts on offer from a Springtime experience with new-born animals at Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers to a roam around the grounds of Mountfitchet Castle, near Stanstead Mountfichet. At Mountfitchet clues are dotted around the Norman castle and toy museum. Animals roam freely throughout the 10-acre site, providing a unique insight into community life in Domesday England.
Farm stays away from the crowd
Spring is an exciting time to get close to nature and see baby animals up close. Essex offers a number of stylish farm stays to give a real taste of rural working life. Blackbrook Stud Farm, has alpacas, horses, pygmy goats, donkeys, chickens, dogs and peacocks and is the perfect retreat for families. The 23-acre farm offers self-contained accommodation in cottages, a shepherd’s hut and a mobile home. The lovely rural setting has easy access to the A12 and is on the Essex Way long-distance footpath.
A working arable farm, just outside the delightful town of Great Dunmow, Puttocks Farm, is set in a peaceful, rural location. Accommodation is in a converted barn and breakfast is served in the conservatory with lovely countryside views.
Cllr Mark Durham is Chairman, Visit Essex, is championing Essex as a great place to visit for short breaks and staycations this Easter. He says: “Essex has so much to offer from ancient woodlands with stunning bluebell displays to fun family Easter egg hunts and not forgetting the world-famous Maldon Mud Race! The county also boasts some wonderful places to stay from farm stays to luxury hotels, Essex has it all.”
To discover more places to visit and stay in Essex, visit www.visitessex.com.