Visit Essex Summer 2022
Tourist attractions are back up and running this summer, and with the school holidays now in full swing, Visit Essex, the county’s tourism body, has put together the top ten things to see and do in Essex this summer.
Get the adrenaline going
Adrenaline junkies will love Essex Outdoors the perfect place to push limits. The Harlow High Ropes and Climbing Wall Adventures are new for 2022, and there’s something for everyone, with children over the age of 6 able to enjoy a session. There are 12 challenges to be conquered on the incredible new Hexagon, or friends and family can race each other to the top of the new climbing wall.
Take part in water sports
There are lots of places to try new activities. You could learn stand up paddle boarding on the stunning Blackwater Estuary with Frangipani SUP or take a family kayaking lesson with Mersea Island Watersports, their sheltered position makes 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!
Don’t miss out on quirky events
Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, visit Audley End House and Gardens to see a spectacular show of Victorian equestrian skill. There will be demonstrations of the art of riding side saddle, a display of Victorian cavalry skills and you can chat to groomers, saddlers and wheelwrights as they go about their jobs.
Visit Southend Central Museum for an intriguing look at the evolution and appeal of museums at the Wunderkammer exhibition. Dubbed the Cabinet of Curiosity, the exhibition celebrates humanity’s desire to build ancient collections, and you can view a mummified cat and a full-length replica of the Bayeaux Tapestry.
Roller skate on a rainy day
If the clouds gather and it’s raining outside, take a trip to Rollerworld in Colchester. The rink is named Europe’s Finest Roller-Skating Rink, and the activity doesn’t stop at skating. You’ll also be able to battle each other in a game of laser quest or belt out your favourite songs in a karaoke suite. If you don’t want to choose, the rink puts on Rollaoke Night on the first Thursday of every month, where all ages are welcome to skate and sing from a selection of 80,000 songs!
Have some farmyard fun
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. There are plenty of rides to keep everyone busy, from the Doggy Dog Roller Coaster to the Gigantic Snake Slide!
Or, at Marsh Farm in Chelmsford, see traditional farmyard animals, and even play a round of crazy golf! This summer, the Bubble ‘n’ Bop Children’s Festival is on, from 21st July to 2nd September, and with a sand pit, Glastokids and Circus Showtime, you won’t want to miss out on this fun, family-friendly day out.
Walk with alpacas
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!
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.
Visit a country park
Country parks are the perfect setting to enjoy acres of wildlife-rich woodland, stunning gardens and peaceful meadows, and Essex has plenty to choose from. Walk down Danbury Country Park’s tranquil lakeside path, watching the ducks and swans swim past, or bask in the rolling countryside views as you settle in for a picnic at Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park.
On the ten-year anniversary of the UK hosting the 2012 Olympics, why not visit the mountain bike trails at Hadleigh Country Park, the home of mountain biking during the Games? It’s the perfect landscape for cycling and extra trails have been added so that anyone can try mountain biking!
Relax on 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 bringing in their fresh catch of the day.
Hunt for fossils
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.
Councillor Mark Durham, Chairman of Visit Essex, is championing residents to support local tourist attractions this summer.
He says: “This summer everywhere has fully opened up and it’s time to enjoy ourselves! Get the kids away from their screens and try something new this summer. There are plenty of things to do to have fun, keep their minds busy and expand their knowledge; they won’t even realise they’re learning!”
He continues: “Now, more than ever, it’s important to support our local tourist attractions and enjoy what’s on our doorstep. It saves costs on travel and is great for the environment too.”
To discover more about things to do this summer in Essex, go to https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do.
There are four locations across the county, Bradwell, Danbury, Harlow and Mersea. Bradwell leads on sailing and powerboat activities; at Danbury there is multi-activity programmes, technical courses and exploring the local environment up for grabs; Harlow hosts the High Ropes course and The Lock Climbing Wall, alongside a range of activities; and Mersea is the largest centre, set on the edge of the River Blackwater. You can take courses as a family and prices start at £10 but vary depending on the activity.
Frangipani SUP is a paddleboarding school based in Maldon. Lessons are based in a variety of locations, including the Trifarm swimming lake in Boreham, Hadleigh Park reservoir in Benfleet, and the Home Water Lake in Chigborough, near Maldon. Sessions are priced from £18 per person. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/frangipani-sup-p1269601
Based on Mersea Island, Colchester, Mersea Island Watersports offers Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), Kayaking, Windsurfing, Sailing and Wing Foiling. They provide rentals, tuition, and social sessions, and prices start from £10. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/mersea-island-watersports-p1449771
Curve Water Sports specialise in wakeboarding, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. They also offer tubing and their aqua park, an inflatable course set on a lake in St Osyth. Prices start at £15. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/curve-water-sports-p1618611
The Victorian Horses of Audley End event will take place over the August bank holiday (28th and 29th August 2022). Admission to this event is in addition to the standard ticket price and starts from £12.90 for non-members and £1.50 for members. https://www.visitessex.com/whats-on/victorian-horses-of-audley-end-p1671951
The Wunderkammer exhibition is being held at Southend’s Central Museum. Entrance is free, and the museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm. https://www.visitessex.com/whats-on/wunderkammer-southends-cabinet-of-curiosity-p1510211
With a range of events and activities, from skating to laser quest and karaoke, Rollerworld has something for everyone. Skating prices start at £10, laser quest starts at £7 per person, and karaoke suite hire starts at £10. Skates and locker hire will cost extra. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/rollerworld-p1269841
Old MacDonald’s Farm and Fun Park has a number of farmyard animals and attractions. Ticket prices start at £17.50, and most rides are included in the ticket price. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/old-macdonalds-farm-p1267731
Situated in Chelmsford, Marsh Farm hosts a variety of fun family events, farm animals and rides. Standard tickets start at £1.99. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/marsh-farm-p1543641
Alpaca walking experiences
Blackwater Alpacas’ walking experience is open to children aged 14 and over, who can share an alpaca with an accompanying adult. Children aged 10-14 can attend but will not be able to lead an alpaca. Experiences start from £50. https://www.visitessex.com/whats-on/alpaca-walking-experience-with-pygmy-goats-too-p1653611
Colchester Castle offers tours that run throughout the day, interactive tablets and a museum shop, where you can buy a wide range of products, including fancy dress and replica Roman objects. Ticket Prices start from £6.25. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/colchester-castle-museum-p1269831
Hedingham Castle’s beautiful grounds are the perfect setting to explore or have a picnic, and admission prices start at £8, with children under 5 going free. The immersive escape room at Hedingham costs extra, with escape room prices starting at £18 per person. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/hedingham-castle-p1268121
Danbury Country Park is the perfect setting to go walking, with plenty of space for picnics. Entrance to the park is free, however parking prices start at £2.10. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/danbury-country-park-p1267981
There is a variety of wildlife to spot in Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park, and entrance to the park is free. The 30-space car park situated at the Eastern entrance to the park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and parking charges start from 30p and is free on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/cherry-orchard-jubilee-country-park-p1267271
Hadleigh Country Park offers stunning views, a range of wildlife and the 2012 Olympics Mountain Biking Course. Entrance to the park is free, and car parking prices start from £1.60. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/hadleigh-country-park-p1268301
Bell Wharf Beach is a great, relaxing coastal location. Near the beachfront, there is a café and a restaurant, The Boatyard. Entry to the beach is free of charge, but no dogs are allowed on the beaches between 1st May and 30th September. https://www.visitessex.com/things-to-do/bell-wharf-beach-p1325871
Exposed London Clay and Red Crag formations can be found near the small coastal village of Walton-on-the-Naze. When the tide goes out, fossils can be found on the shore. https://www.visitessex.com/explore/coastal-destinations/walton-on-the-naze
Visit Essex is the official tourism organisation and the only body specifically marketing the whole of the county to the visitor market. We work with visitor attractions, leisure/activity providers, accommodation establishments and other tourism related businesses (including the travel trade, media and wider partners), to ensure that the county remains a leading visitor destination.
Our work encompasses major marketing campaigns, high profile PR work, business support, and the management and promotion of the official Visit Essex brand. Visit Essex will ensure that the county gets the recognition it deserves as a desirable place to visit in the 21st century. We will work closely with partners to develop a sustainable tourism offering for the future, identify new markets and harness visitors at the county’s major gateways of Stansted, Harwich, Southend and Tilbury.