Essex Things to Do

  • A circular garden with benches circling it
    A circular garden with benches circling...
    by Durfun
  • Things to Do
    by marsistanbul
  • Things to Do
    by marsistanbul

Essex Things to Do

  • Stansted

    Stansted Mountfitchet, or Stansted as it is more commonly known, is one of the largest parishes in Essex, the town however is better known for the nearby airport. Stansted Airport is a hub for a number of major European low-cost carriers and is the fourth busiest airport in the United Kingdom. Must see sights include: the House on the Hill Toy...

    more
  • Southend-on-Sea

    Southend-on-Sea (mostly referred to as just Southend - or 'Sowfend') is a colourful, some would say brash, Essex town. I think Southend's reputation is a little unfairly applied. On a good day there's a positive vibe and vitality about the place that makes it a great place to wander around. The seafront attractions seem to expand every year I...

    more
  • Stroll though an English country garden.

    In 2013, on my last day in England before the long flight back to New Zealand, I visited Hyde Hall, an RHS garden in Essex. Our visit there coincided with a big flower show and the place was buzzing with activity. The Hyde Hall gardens are lovely to walk through on a sunny summer's day. I was impressed with the healthy banana palms outside, but the...

    more
  • Village sightseeing in Essex.

    If you have access to a car (and I was kindly lent one by my cousins), a drive through Essex's picturesque countryside is a must. The further north one goes, the more idyllic the scenery becomes. Have a look at my Essex Villages Travelogue for more pictures from a couple of trips I did.

    more
  • Tiptree Jam Factory

    This must see place includes a tea room, shop and museum. Please see the information listed under my Tiptree location.

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Colchester (4)

    As a city destination for a history vulture, a day trip or weekener to Colchester is worth investigating. It has the longest recorded history of any town in England. Even the historian Tacitus makes mention of it (he would have been great as a VT member). Roman remains therefore abound, although the most important 'must see' is the Norman Castle....

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Northern towns ! (5)

    It's the south of the county that fulfill the sterotype of Essex. Brash ex-londoners, the men in their tatoos, Ford Escorts and knocked off Rolex watches chasing mini-skirted, white stilletoed bimbos with mouths like sewers and the morals of polecats.Essex is however has something of a bi-polar disorder. The North of the county (basically north of...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Audley end (2)

    A junction or two up the M11 towards Cambridge stands a rather impressive stately home that was originally bought by Charles II from the Suffolk family.It was certainly useful for the horse racing at nearby Newmarket, but the Mortgage payments built up so much (seems rather odd that a King had to have a mortgage like the rest of us plebs) that...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Hadleigh castle & area...

    The ruined castle at Hadleigh looks out over the Thames estuary. Built in the 1230's it is an important example of it's type. It is also only a shortwalk from the small town centre, or a reasonable one from the train station that is down in the valley.The ruined remains are grade one listed, but you can wander about for free. John Constable took...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Lakeside (10)

    Down amongst the wilds of Essex's 'deep south' lies Thurrock, the location for the 'Lakeside shopping centre'. I think it could reasonably called the first 'mega-mall' in the U.K with over 300 shops and various retail parks (including an IKEA store).It therefore attracts shoppers from all over and causes terrible traffic congestion in the lead up...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Secret Nuclear Bunker (3)

    Although in Essex it's not far outside London.This relic of the cold war is fascinating and very good value at 6.50 for entry. You need to get to Epping (it's on the central line if you are coming from central london) and bus/taxi about 7 miles. Could the de-commissioning of this place have anything to do with the underground line to Ongar being...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Tilbury (8)

    Tilbury is pretty much a god-forsaken dump, but it does have a couple of attractions that might interest the more adventurous traveller.Foremost is the Tilbury fort. It has traditionally been the fort that defended London's Eastern approaches. Despite being built in the 16th century by Cahrles II and being in constant use through to the end of...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Finchingfield (6)

    If you were looking for the sterotypical ideal of an English village then there is no real need to lok beyond the village of Finchingfield located deep in the lanes of northern Essex, If you have this image of elderly spinsters cycling home from choir practice in the lengthening shadows of a summer evening past old duffers peering into their pints...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Constable, John (9)

    I always find it surprising that the landscapes which are seen as 'typically english' in the painting of John Constable come (in part) from a county that is not renowned for it's scenic beauty. Not for John the wilds of the Lake District, the desolate mores of Yorkshire of the twee delights of the Cotswolds. His most famous painting is probably...

    more
  • ESSEX TOP 10 - Southend Pier (1)

    The one thing that the world knows about Southend-on-Sea is it's pier.It sticks out into the Thames estuary for well over a mile. If you don't want to walk it then the pier railway will happily take you one way, or indeed both.The boast about it being the world's longest pleasure pier is in fact a little misleading as one of the main reasons for...

    more
  • Castle Hedingham

    As the name suggests, there is a castle at Castle Hedingham and it is one well worth visiting. This imposing Norman keep was built by Aubrey de Vere in 1140 and - incredibly - remains in the same family to this very day. It has a rich history and in 1561 Queen Elizabeth stayed here, as her father King Henry VIII had before her. It makes for a...

    more
  • East and West Mersea

    Mersea is a small island (about 12 miles all the way around) just off the Essex coast accessed via a causeway known as the Strood. During high tides the Strood is underwater so if you're planning on visiting Mersea island it pays to check out the tides here.The island is divided into 2 main settlements - East and West Mersea.West Mersea is most...

    more
  • Greensted-Juxta-Ongar

    St Andrews church at Greensted-Juxta-Ongar is believed to be the oldest timber buillding in Europe. I can't tell you how much time I've spent in this church and it's grounds - I've been visiting for years and was in fact married here. There are mixed opinions on the age of the timbers, but they have been dated anywhere between the 9th and 11th...

    more
  • Finchingfield

    Finchingfield lies approximately 8 miles from the busy town of Braintree, surrounded by farmland between the villages of Weathersfield and Great Bardfield. It is generally regarded as being the prettiest of the county's villages with a large duckpond, the River Pant flowing beneath an old brick bridge and a village green edged with cottages that...

    more
  • Cressing Temple Barns

    My parents live just a few minutes from the incredibly old Cressing Temple Barns, and for years I drove past them more or less daily without ever visiting. I first went along on a trip home a few years back and was genuinely awed by what I had known was there but never really seen - so when I took my Kiwi partner home for his first trip to England...

    more
  • Thaxted

    Thaxted is a new favourite of mine - I only really got to explore it properly on my last visit to England.I recommend parking near the church and starting your tour of Thaxted from there. You can't miss the church - it has been described as having cathedral-like proportions and it's 180 foot high spire dominates the local scene. Building began in...

    more
  • Braintree

    OK, admittedly Braintree probably doesn't top many lists for the UK's Top Tourist Destinations, but it's a nice old market town, with lots of history. It's probably best as a base from which to explore the many pretty villages which can be found roundabouts, but don't miss out on the town itself. Braintree, along with neighbouring Bocking, used to...

    more
  • Rayne

    Rayne is a village on the outskirts of Braintree that most visitors won't even pass through. There isn't much to see here, but it is on the way to some of the prettier surrounding villages, and there is some history here too. The village sits on part of the old A120, a Roman road, and there are several ancient buildings here. There is a pub - the...

    more
  • Coggeshall

    Coggeshall is such a pretty and interesting market town, I can't recommend it to visitors enough. It feels very much a village - it's an ancient technicality that makes it a town, having been granted a charter to hold a market.There are many good reasons to visit, not least of which is simply the opportunity to explore Coggeshall on foot and admire...

    more
  • Audley End House & Gardens

    Now in the care of English Heritage, Audley End was first built in the early years of the 17th century. It was conceived as a 'prodigy house' which means it was built with the express purpose of welcoming a visiting monarch, and as such was built on a very grand scale. However, the house we see today, although still graceful and very impressive, is...

    more
  • Great Bardfield

    Great Bardfield is just lovely, and a favourite of mine to visit. I have family connections here and a real soft spot for this typical North Essex village. It has a very different, sleepier feel to it than the neighbouring Finchingfield.Apart from simply strolling round the village and admiring the many fine period properties, there are two 'must...

    more
  • Stisted village

    Sisted is a small, sleepy village near Braintree, famous locally for its prestigious golf and country club. Often mis-pronounced, it is 'Sty-sted' not 'Stiss-ted'. A lot of the old cottages are built with flint stone and several have ornate brick chimney-stacks. There is one pub, the Onley Arms, which I have never been in (a rarity for me amongst...

    more
  • Frinton On Sea

    This photo was taken at Frinton on Sea on a visit to England in June 2003 - I went there for the day with my cousin and aunt and we had a great day, lazing in the sun, walking along the beach and enjoying good old fish and chips with ice cream to follow from a great chip shop up in the town! Frinton is a lovely place to visit - it's quaint and...

    more
  • Audley End House

    Located south of Cambridge at Saffron Walden, Audley End House is a very interesting and impressive building! One of Britains premier historical mansions, this plot of land was originally the site of a monastary built in 1136. However, following King Henry VIII's battles with the Catholic church, he disolved all religious institutions in England...

    more
  • Colchester Castle

    Visit Colchester castle, and learn about Britain's oldest recorded town, the early years of the Romans in Britain, and Colchester's part in the English Civil War.See my Colchester page for more information on Colchester and its history, and for lots more about the castle, the museum and displays inside.

    more
  • Visit Tilbury Fort

    Built to protect London from marauding foreigners, this fort is a great palce to spend a couple of hours. Read all about it on my Tilbury Fort page

    more
  • Go see Audley End House

    Audley End House was built around about 1610 and is now owned by English Heritage. If you are interested in architecture and antiques, along with gardens and grounds, then this should be on your itinery. For more pictures and info, please go to my VT page by clicking here

    more
  • Layer Marney Tower

    Layer Marney Tower has stood now for over 4 centuries. In my opinion, it is Essex's most striking landmark. It was built by Sir Henry Marney as a gatehouse to a home he intended to build, but he died (in 1523) before that happened. Sir Henry is buried in the neighbouring church, where the tombs of his ancestors date back to the 14th century.The...

    more
  • National Award Winner Page 2

    Continuing from above, here's a few personal observations:The Swan is open all day, 7 days a week, but if you plan to visit in the afternoon do not have too heavy a lunch elsewhere just in case the landlord is in his "let's have some nibbles" mode - on one particular visit a trio of us popped in for a pint on the way back from lunch at Fat Phil's...

    more
  • Visit a Double National Award Winner

    Let me pour my.self a beer and then I'll get started (Morning Wood Wheat Beer from Pug Ryan's Brewery in Dillon, Colorado - now's there's a little bit of name dropping!), "slurp, glug, glug.........ah, that's better!" I do find typing very thirsty work, especially typing about pubs.If you enjoy a beer and happen to find yourself in Essex then The...

    more
  • Visit the towns & countryside

    I visited few towns and some of the countryside in Essex, I like them all and I enjoyed it very much.Here is example of a nice lake on my way.

    more
  • Hyde hall gardens

    Hyde Hall is a delightful hilltop garden owned by the Royal Horticultural Society. Early in the year the garden has a spectacular display of spring bulbs. Features in the summer include an extensive colour themed herbaceous border and a marvellous collection of roses of all kinds. Hyde Hall Garden has a great variety of ornamental trees and shrubs...

    more
  • Audley End House and Gardens

    Audley End is a great example of a large English country mansion, or "stately home". It's full of history (the house originally dates from about 1620), and the gardens are lovely. It's been rebuilt a few times over the centuries, so there's a mix of styles on view once you go inside for a look. It's a great place to spend half a day (or a whole...

    more
  • Buildings of Saffron Walden

    As with almost all of the villages, towns and cities that we passed through, the care with which the buildings were maintained was a pleasure behold. Each place had its own characteristics of construction and style. Saffron Walden was no exception, with this typical street scene from the centre of the town. One problem in England is finding a place...

    more
  • Impressive Mansion

    This photo shows another view of Audley End House, taken from a stone bridge on the highway just outside its extensive grounds.

    more
  • Harwich

    If you want to find out why this light house appears to be sitting inland on the edge of a town, please go and have a look at my Harwich, Essex page.

    more
  • Spend a day at Colchester Zoo.

    Colchester Zoo, is the main one in the county and displays animals from around the world. The white tiger is magnificent and there is excellent viewing. When it came up to the glass window I wondered how strong the glass really was! I was intrigued by the wolves because I have never seen live ones before. They have evil looking eyes!

    more
  • Explore 'Constable Country'.

    Flatford Mill and the lower reaches of the Stour River are known as 'Constable Country' after the great English landscape painter of the 19th century. You can cross the river (into Suffolk) and get good views back at the buildings around Flatford Mill from a track along the banks. There is a diverting museum in the old barn and even a B&B (in the...

    more
  • Castle Hedingham.

    This striking keep was built in 1140 and has been caringly restored inside by its owners, to make an interesting and authentic castle experience. There is an amazing stone archway inside, that is reputedly one of the largest in England. According to the brochure I picked up, jousting tournaments are held here in the warmer months... that would be...

    more
  • Colchester Castle.

    Colchester is the gem in Essex's historical attractions. It has the distinction of being England's first city and in effect it's first administrative capital. It dates back to before Roman times and you can see traces of Roman structures in the town today. The "castle" is built on the site of a Roman temple and was once a Norman stronghold. The...

    more

Essex Hotels

See all 190 Hotels in Essex

Top Essex Hotels

Harwich Hotels
68 Reviews - 145 Photos
Colchester Hotels
79 Reviews - 227 Photos
Southend-on-Sea Hotels
121 Reviews - 183 Photos
Romford Hotels
4 Hotels
Stansted Hotels
71 Reviews - 141 Photos
Clacton-on-Sea Hotels
44 Reviews - 54 Photos
Maldon Hotels
4 Reviews - 17 Photos
Brentwood Hotels
28 Reviews - 24 Photos
Basildon Hotels
13 Reviews - 21 Photos
Harlow Hotels
17 Reviews - 41 Photos
Tilbury Hotels
3 Reviews - 2 Photos
Walton-on-the-Naze Hotels
19 Reviews - 53 Photos
Tollesbury Hotels
See nearby hotels
Thaxted Hotels
4 Reviews - 10 Photos
Takeley Hotels
2 Reviews - 6 Photos

Instant Answers: Essex

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

84 travelers online now

Comments

Essex Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Essex things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Essex sightseeing.
Map of Essex