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Summer Fun in Essex: Top Activities, Attractions and Hidden Gems For a Memorable Summer

Let's dive into our ultimate guide for an unforgettable summer in Essex!

Whether you're a local resident or planning a visit to the vibrant county of Essex this summer, we've curated a list of must-try activities and attractions to make the most of the sunny season.

From exciting outdoor adventures to cultural festivities, Essex has something for everyone. Get ready to explore and create lifelong memories.

Clacton on sea 2

Explore Sun-Kissed Beaches in Essex: Unwind and Soak Up the Summer Vibes

With its pristine sandy shores and picturesque seaside towns, Essex offers the perfect destination to unwind, soak up the sun and create cherished memories.

In this section, we'll introduce you to some of the must-visit beaches in Essex, including Southend-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea, and Clacton-on-Sea.

Get ready to embrace the coastal beauty, experience the joy of beachside activities and discover the enticing amenities and attractions that await you.

Southend on sea

Southend-on-Sea: A Coastal Haven for Fun and Relaxation

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Southend-on-Sea, known for its lively promenade and iconic Southend Pier, the longest pleasure pier in the world!

Delight in long stretches of sandy beaches, perfect for leisurely walks and sunbathing, or dive into the crystal clear waters for a refreshing swim. And if you're feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at some water sports?

At Southend-on-Sea you'll find a wide range of beachfront amenities, including cafes, restaurants and shops offering all your beach essentials.

Frinton on sea

Frinton-on-Sea: Tranquil Beauty and Serenity by the Coast

Unwind in the tranquil atmosphere of Frinton-on-Sea this summer, renowned for its peaceful and unspoiled beaches.

Take a dip in the inviting waters or stroll along the picturesque shoreline, discovering the charming beach huts which add a touch of nostalgia and beauty to the surroundings.

Explore nearby attractions, including Frinton-on-Sea Cricket Club and the charming town centre with its boutique shops and cafes.

Clacton on sea

Clacton-on-Sea: Family-Friendly Beach Fun and Entertainment

Immerse yourself in the vibrant seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea, a popular destination for families, with wide sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing, beach volleyball and building sandcastles.

Don't miss the bustling Clacton Pier with amusement rides, arcades and entertainment for all ages.

And be sure to indulge in the variety of beachfront amenities, including ice cream vendors, fish and chip shops and seaside cafes.

Things2doessex out

Immerse Yourself in Nature: Discover the Best Outdoor Escapes in Essex

Are you ready to reconnect with nature and embark on thrilling outdoor adventures? Look no further than the stunning landscapes of Essex.

With its lush greenery, scenic trails and abundant wildlife, Essex offers a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Let's take a look at the best nature escapes in Essex, highlighting the picturesque hiking and cycling trails in Epping Forest, Thorndon Country Park and Hadleigh Park. Get ready to immerse yourself in nature, encounter fascinating wildlife, discover serene picnicking spots and capture breath taking photos in these natural wonders.

Epping forest 3

Epping Forest: A Forest Wonderland for Hikers and Cyclists

Explore the majestic beauty of Epping Forest, one of the largest and most ancient forests in England. Epping Forest is home to a diverse range of wildlife, from deer and birds to rare plant species. Here you're never far from an ideal picnicking spot to relax and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.

Discover popular hiking trails such as the Forest Way and the Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge Trail, offering diverse landscapes and tranquil surroundings.

Or if you're looking for scenic cycling routes, High Beach Circular and Connaught Water Circular are must-sees, catering to both beginners and experienced cyclists.

Tatton park knutsford

Thorndon Country Park: A Scenic Playground for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Thorndon Country Park is a picturesque destination offering a blend of woodlands, meadows, and lakes, with scenic hiking trails such as the Thorndon North Circular and the Gruffalo Trail, perfect for family adventures and nature exploration.

The park features designated cycling routes which are perfect for cyclists of all skill levels to enjoy.

If you're an avid bird watcher or you're hoping for the chance to spot some woodland creatures like squirrels and rabbits, you won't be disappointed with Thorndon Country Park's abundance of wildlife.

Grosvenor park

Hadleigh Park: Thrilling Outdoor Adventures with Scenic Backdrops

Hadleigh Park is a former Olympic mountain biking venue, boasting stunning landscapes and adrenaline pumping trails.

Here you'll find mountain biking trails suitable for all levels of expertise, including the Olympic Circuit and the Family Cycle Trail.

With diverse wildlife, serene spots and breath taking views of the Thames Estuary, Hadleigh Park offers a picturesque backdrop for all outdoor enthusiasts.


Create Lasting Memories: Discover Family-Friendly Fun in Essex

From wildlife encounters to thrilling rides and interactive exhibits, Essex offers something for everyone regardless of age.

In this section, we will share the top family-friendly destinations in Essex, including Paradise Wildlife Park, Lee Valley Park Farms, Epping Ongar Railway, Audley End Miniature Railway, Lee Valley White Water Centre and Rye House Karting. Get ready for a holiday filled with non stop fun and adventure that will leave the whole family smiling.

Chester zoo tiger

Paradise Wildlife Park: A Haven for Animal Lovers

Paradise Wildlife Park is a popular family-run zoo and charity in Hertfordshire, offering unique wildlife experiences and encounters with exotic animals, interactive exhibits like the Big Cat Treetops Walkway and the World of Dinosaurs, and daily shows such as the Amazing Animal Presentations and the Safari Adventure Golf.

You'll also find a great choice of family friendly amenities including playgrounds, picnic areas and restaurants.

Summer Evening Verticle Ad

Looking for some wild summer fun? Look no further than Summer Evenings at The Zoo!

Mark your calendars because every Friday and Saturday from 21st July to 19th August, Paradise Wildlife Park is transforming into an unforgettable evening experience. Get ready for a night filled with fantastic live acoustic music, wildlife stilt walkers, drummers, mouthwatering food trucks and so much more, all just a 20 minute drive from Roydon Marina Village.

Starting from 6:30pm until 9:30pm, you'll have plenty of time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and explore the park. So bring your friends and family for an evening you'll never forget! For Paradise Wildlife Park members it's just £15 per ticket, and general admission is only £18. Plus, kids under 2 get in for free!

Find out more and book your tickets

Petting zoo farm

Lee Valley Animal Adventure Park: Fun-filled Farm Adventures

Lee Valley Animal Adventure Park is an exciting, interactive and educational farm experience for all ages, with hands-on activities like animal feeding, tractor rides and pony grooming.

You'll have the opportunity to meet all your favourite farm animals including sheep, pigs, cows and chickens, then blow off some steam on the adventure play areas, indoor soft play and nature trails for the whole family.

Steam train railway

Train Adventures: Epping Ongar Railway and Audley End Miniature Railway

Epping Ongar Railway offers an exciting opportunity for heritage train rides and vintage experiences. With scenic journeys through the Essex countryside, passing charming stations and picturesque landscapes, the whole family will enjoy this unique and magical adventure.

Audley End Miniature Railway features miniature steam trains and a delightful ride through enchanting woodlands, with an interactive play area, picnic spots and gift shop for a complete family day out.


Lee Valley White Water Centre: Thrilling Water Sports and Adventure

Lee Valley White Water Centre is a hub for water sports enthusiasts and adventure seekers, just less than 10 miles from Roydon Marina Village. Here you can try out exciting water sports such as white water rafting, canoeing, paddleboarding and open water swimming, suitable for older children and teenagers.

Lee Valley White Water Centre also offers family-friendly rafting experiences, offering a tamer ride suitable for younger children, and you'll also find an on site café, picnic areas and spectator spots to relax and unwind.

Go karting

Rye House Karting: High-Speed Thrills for the Whole Family

Rye House Kart Raceway offers an adrenaline pumping karting experience suitable for all skill levels, with family karting sessions allowing parents and children to enjoy the thrill of racing together.

Rye House boasts a well maintained track with safety measures and professional staff on hand for a safe and enjoyable experience, and when you decide to take a break from all the excitement, you can play a great choice of arcade games or enjoy some light refreshments.


Immerse Yourself in Culture: Discover the Vibrant Arts and Heritage Scene in Essex

From exciting festivals to captivating theatre performances, this county is brimming with artistic expression and rich heritage.

Here we'll showcase the top cultural delights that Essex has to offer during the summer. Discover the lively festivals, outdoor concerts and theatre performances taking place in various towns and cities across the county, or immerse yourself in the history of Essex by exploring its historical landmarks, museums and art galleries.

Get ready to embark on a journey of artistic discovery and enriching experiences.

Deer shed festival

Festivals: Celebrate the Spirit of Essex

There are a great choice of lively festivals held in Essex during the summer, such as the Essex Festival of Food and Drink,the perfect place to find artisan food, local produce, street food and free workshops, and Leigh Folk Festival, filled with great music culture and community.

These family friendly festivals are great for all ages, with dedicated areas for children's entertainment and activities.

Music festival concert gig

Outdoor Concerts: Music Under the Open Sky

There's a great choice of outdoor concert venues and live music events held in Essex throughout the summer.

Be sure to take a look at what's on in Essex's many exciting music venues, including Clockstock 2023 Music Festival at Chelmsford City Racecourse, Folk Music Nights and live musicals at Hedingham Castle, and the Proms Spectacular at Hylands Estate.


Theatre Performances: Captivating Productions

You'll find an eclectic mix of live theatre performances across the towns and cities across Essex.

Take a look at what's on at Mercury Theatre in Colchester, from Roald Dahl and The Imagination Seekers to Unbelievable with Derren Brown. At the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend-on-Sea you'll find a great choice of live musicals, drag shows and comedy shows with Russell Howard and Jimmy Carr.

Colchester castle

Historical Landmarks: Step into the Past

Essex has a rich history to explore, so it's well worth visiting its many historical landmarks this summer.

Don't miss iconic sights such as Colchester Castle, Audley End House and Gardens, and Layer Marney Tower, known for their architectural beauty and historical significance, offering insights into Essex's past.

You'll find guided tours and interactive exhibits at these famous landmarks that bring the history to life for visitors of all ages.

Firstsite colchester

Museums and Art Galleries: A Cultural Feast

Essex is home to a great choice of museums and art galleries, offering a diverse range of artistic and educational experiences.

Be sure to visit the Museum of Power in Langford, Firstsite Art Gallery and Cultural Centre in Colchester, and Beecroft Art Gallery in Southend-on-Sea.

You'll find a great choice of workshops, talks and guided tours for a deeper understanding of the exhibits.


Tantalise Your Taste Buds: Explore the Foodie Scene in Essex

Get ready to indulge in a gastronomic journey that will leave you craving for more.

Prepare your taste buds for a delightful adventure as we explore the vibrant foodie scene in Essex. This county is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of culinary delights to satisfy every palate.

Let's take a look at the best foodie experiences in Essex, including farmers' markets, food festivals and must-visit dining establishments.

Things to do skipton market optim

Farmers' Markets: Fresh and Local Delights

In Essex, you're never far from a great farmers' market with fresh, locally sourced produce and artisan food.

Stop by the famous Colchester Farmers' Market at the Mercury Theatre, Chelmsford Market, and Walthamstow Farmers' Market, for an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal bread, cheese, meats and homemade treats. It's also a great opportunity to interact with local producers, learn about their products and support the community.

Food festival 2

Food Festivals: A Feast for the Senses

Essex during tis the place to be for food festivals this summer, with a variety of culinary experiences available from gourmet food trucks to international cuisines.

Don't miss the Essex Festival of Food and Drink and the Brentwood Festival this summer for a full sensory foodie experience, including for live cooking demonstrations, tasting sessions and entertainment.


Boathouse Cafe Bar: A Waterside Dining Delight

The Boathouse Cafe Bar is a popular place to eat, drink, relax and watch the world go by, located in the scenic Roydon Marina Village.

Boasting a picturesque setting by the marina, a diverse menu, live music and friendly service, be sure to stop by for a hearty meal with friends or enjoy a drink or two while taking in the beautiful views.

LL GI FOOD SS23 1843

Roydon Indian: Authentic Flavors of India

Roydon Indian in Roydon Marina Village is known for its authentic flavours and warm hospitality.

You'll find an extensive menu featuring a variety of classic and contemporary Indian dishes, made with fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to create flavourful and aromatic meals. Enjoy the cosy atmosphere, attentive staff and the option to dine in or order takeaway for your convenience.


Where to Stay in Essex


Nestled in Lee Valley Park on the edge of Epping Forest, next to a secluded 32 acre lake, the luxury hot tub lodges at Roydon Marina Village are perfect for a countryside retreat with your family, friends and loved ones.

With 2-3 bedroom luxury hot tub lodges including some dog friendly lodges, there's something to suit every family. These lodges are an idyllic and stylish oasis to start and end your exciting adventures exploring everything Essex has to offer.

Book your Luxury Hot Tub Lodge this summer


Get ready to make the most of your summer in Essex with these exciting activities and attractions. Whether you're seeking beachside relaxation, outdoor adventures, family-friendly fun, cultural experiences or culinary delights, Essex has it all!

Embrace the sunshine, create cherished memories, and savour the best that this vibrant county has to offer. Don't miss out on the summer fun in Essex.

Book your Luxury Hot Tub Lodge

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