Take a look below for loads of fantastic things to do with kids in Essex for you to browse easily & quickly. If you know of any other great family days out not listed below, please get in contact
Things To Do & Days Out in Essex
Colchester Zoo One of the finest zoos in Europe with over 260 species of animals set in 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes. Includes the unique chance to help feed the elephants and giraffes yourself, plus the new Butterfly Glade exhibit for 2015!
Sealife Adventure From sharks to seahorses, starfish to stingrays, it’s all here in a family friendly environment with fascinating talks and presentations by their knowledgeable aquarists throughout the day.
Tropical Wings World of Wildlife All weather fun for the whole family, within acres of attractive gardens with one of the UK's finest tropical butterfly houses. Lively programme of animal encounters, animal feeds and fun activities, plus Monkey Run and Meerkat Lookout!
Seaquarium at Clacton Pier An informative, educational, fun learning opportunity to appreciate from an up close perspective some of the intriguing creatures surrounding our coastal areas.
Belfairs Nature Reserve and Woodland Get away from it all at this nature reserve and woodland centre and enjoy the wildlife and scenery. Lots of plants and animals to see, plus exhibits and displays in the woodland centre.
Lee Valley Park Farms With lots of different farm animals to meet and others you wouldn't expect to meet: charming meerkats, cheeky marmosets, reptiles and llamas! If you want to get the kids out of the house and are looking for something that is fun, interesting and educational, Lee Valley has all of this and more!
Barleylands Farm Park Get ready for all weather free range family fun. Say hello to cuddly farmyard friends, join in animal activities, meet birds of prey, visit the reptile house, run wild in the indoor play or jump aboard the tractor and trailer ride.
Boydells Dairy Farm Provides a fun-packed and educational visit for children and adults alike. Try your hand at milking a cow or sheep, feeding hens, riding a donkey cart or outstaring a llama!
Hopefield Animal Sanctuary is a child friendly sanctuary provides a safe haven to animals that need it. They include horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, chinchillas and Max the bull, who loves nothing more than being tickled between his horns!
Ada Cole Rescue Stables Get up nose to nose with more than 70 wonderful rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules and find out more about these amazing creatures!
Clacton Zoo a children's petting zoo with animals you can feed, stroke and interact with. We have many different friendly animals that the children can learn about including alpacas, goats, micro pigs and various birds. 80 metres from Clacton sea front and 200 metres from Clacton pier.
Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park Meet all your farmyard friends, Tractor and Trailer Rides, Indoor and Outdoor Play, Animal Interactions, Pesky Pet Show, Birds of Prey, Pet Barn, Milking Demonstrations and much more!
Colchester Castle Museum Lots of hands on exhibits of appeal to children and adults alike. Displays on castle prisons, medieval and Norman Colchester, lots going on.
The House on the Hill Toy Museum This is the largest privately owned toy museum in Europe with over 80,000 individual items of mixed antiquity toys on display. Plus Palaeontology House and Haunted Manor for older types!
Hollytrees Museum Examine 200 years of clocks, study a dolls house replicating the house you're standing in, interact with the hands on exhibits like period dress up and see if you can spot a live costumed character to talk to!
Natural History Museum Colchester Find out about wildlife habitats and climate change in a family friendly environment full of hands on activities, all of which are free! Best bits: crawling through a super sized badger sett and using their microscope!
Saffron Walden Museum We are a family friendly museum where you can have fun exploring ancient history, natural history, local history and world cultures. We have an archaeological sandpit, where you can come and excavate, animals to stroke, microscopes to peep through, fossils, quizzes and much, much more.
Battlesbridge Antiques Centre Over 80 dealers housed in a variety of old buildings and courtyards, and a vintage motorcycle museum. Great for quieter kids who'll just love all the mysterious stuff!
The Cater Museum A series of accurately set up Victorian rooms which is great to help kids studying the period visualise it better. They also host displays on local history and have a World War II exhibition room and Victorian garden.
Castle Point Transport Museum Home to over thirty old and rare buses and coaches alongside vintage commercials, military and emergency vehicles. Great for kids into all things 'vroom'!
Chelmsford Museum Set in a park with an adventure play area, the museum offers a nice variety of exhibits, from a fine collection of fossils, a living beehive and British wildlife galleries, to the history of the Essex Regiment and the Essex Yeomanry.
North Weald Airfield and Museum Still a very active airfield and on most summer weekends visitors can see some of the veteran and classic aircraft based on the airfield in action. The museum focuses on local service personnel and civilian histories.
The Museum of Harlow Four galleries focusing on local history within major time frames, plus temporary exhibit gallery. Time Detectives kids' history and archaeology workshops at weekends, plus a walled garden to explore with picnic area.
Thurrock Museum Learn about 250,000 years of Thurrock's past through their fascinating displays and extensive ranges of locally discovered artefacts.
Central Museum Houses the collections of local and natural history and archaeology, and tells the story of Southend’s growth as a major seaside destination. Free to explore!
Southend Pier Museum boasts an exciting range of vintage train and tram carriages plus pictorial memorabilia, penny slot machines and period costumes.
Essex Police Museum Find out about the police and what they do in this fab little museum that is free to visit. Get your fingerprints taken and check out the recreation of a police cell.
Essex Fire Museum A fascinating look into the history of Essex Fire Service with historic engines, uniforms, equipment and photos. Try on different helmets, have a go on the water hose and if you are lucky, climb aboard an engine!
Colchester Leisure World 16 family fun features including two thrilling flumes, river rapids, crazy river, waves, geysers, still more slides and family spa pools! Also has standard swimming facilities.
Blackwater Leisure Centre - boasts a superb leisure pool, incorporating the challenging Jungle River ride, a fun flume ride, lazy river ride, a safe swimming area for children and novelty bubble pool! Plus separate Baby Pool for our youngest visitors and lane swimming provided.
Brightlingsea Open Air Pool Offering 2 pools, one a 15m paddling pool, and the second a 50m main pool. The season runs from the end of May through to the beginning of September.
Woodup Pool A very basic salt water bathing pool with an area of sand at one end. Open May to September. It should be noted they do not have lifeguards. Free to use!
Braintree Swimming Centre Facility includes a great family fun orientated pool, with slide and interactive equipment. Children must be under 8 years to use this pool and acompanied by a parent or an adult.
Crazy Kids Adventure Play A massive, air conditioned, modern warehouse fitted out for high adventure and excitement on the multi level activity areas in a controlled environment. This is children's playtime entertainment at its very best and safest.
Go Bananas Indoor Soft Play Centre Enormous play zone with terrific design and atmospheric play features on top of the usual fare, including vertical drop waterfall slide, bouncy Aztec Ruins and a spooky cavern with smoke machines and light effects! Plus a bigger than implied Tiny Town for the under 4s too. Awesome!
Kids Kingdom Under new management this year and boasting 8,000 square feet of play including huge vertical drop slide and crazy 14 foot JELLY MOUNTAIN as well as obstacle course style fun and other activities besides.
Small Monsters For under 6s: bouncy castle, ball pools, soft play equipment and fine motor skill activities, plus musical crash mat and soft toys in the Baby Corner.
Creepy Crawlies Play Centre We are a fun and exciting place for children under 8 to come and use up all their energy. We have a suitable soft play area for toddlers all on one level. Another softplay section on two levels for toddlers and youngters. Also a baby section with mats, baby gyms and toys.
Monkey Madness Play Centre is a children's indoor adventure soft play centre for babies through to big kids, packed full of fun features to entertain energetic kids! Scramble, hide, climb and slide your way to exhaustion!
Monkey Puzzle at Madison Heights There is an amazing giant play frame that is over 6 meters high with a series of exciting climbing structures and educational toys and packed with slides, fun areas to explore and loads more!
Wild n Wacky A fantastic jungle themed indoor play and party centre for 0 to 12 year olds offering play, parties, private hire and freshly prepared food and beverages. Facilities include: state of the art three tier play frame, 150 seater air conditioned cafe, free wifi internet access, leather sofas and free customer...
Tumble Downs Children and adults will love this new centre - there is lots to keep the children amused whilst the parents relax in the Tumble Downs cafe area with comfortable sofas. One of the many fun family places to visit if you're looking for things to do with children in Essex
Monkey Bizzness Traverse climbing wall, 4 Lane waterfall Astra slide, Canon soft ball shootout guns, 5 a side football and basketball court, separate under 5's area with mini cars, ball juggler, educational key panels etc.
Rayleigh Megazone Home of Megazone Laser Tag, MegaPlay Soft Play, Music Rooms, Theatre and S-Kape Youth Centre.
Wam Bam Boomerang Indoor play and party centre, offering dedicated toddler area and much excitement and craziness for the bigger ones.
Cheeky Monkeez Family run children's soft play centre for children aged 0 to 7 years, with a separate baby area for non walkers. Strong emphasis on imaginative play. We also have a cafe area for 40.
Jungle Adventure Huge jungle themed indoor adventure play offering terrific features like aerial glides, ball pools it rains in, cannons, trampolines, assault course and more. In the toddler sensory zone everything apparently comes to life, including a talking tree!
The Firehouse Playcentre A fantastic fire station themed soft play facility across three levels of fun, with separate toddler adventure area, inflatable slides and more!
Wacky Warehouse Queen B offer a plentiful multi level multi color adventure play frame plus dedicated toddler area. Family restaurant on ground floor, play zone on first floor with lift access available.
Stay and Play is a ball pool and adventure play centre with sliding, climbing, sports court, trampolining and adventure maze, plus dedicated toddler area! Rainy day: saved!
Space Kingdom Top notch space themed adventure facility with multi level play frame, go karts, sports arena, drop and spiral slides, Toddlers' Milky Way Centre and very much more! Awesome decor too.
Partyman World Basildon is an indoor play centre which provides lots of fun and play for everyone on the huge themed play structures, football area, fantastic slides and the UK’s only indoor climbable volcano! There is also a specially designed toddler area for little guests who are under 3 years!
Partyman World Lakeside is an indoor play centre which provides lots of fun and play for everyone on the huge themed play structures, football area, fantastic slides and much more! There is also a specially designed toddler area for little guests who are under 3 years!
Fun Factory Rochford 7m high 5 level play structure, kiddie quads track, rock climbing wall plus a synthetic ice arena with penguin skate aids.
Timbuk2 Indoor play centre for children with a baby area, an under 3s area, an over 3s area and a football and basketball area.
Robbie Rascal Party and Play Centre is an inside soft play area for children from crawlers up to 13 years old. Plus outdoor play area, Quasar parties and family restaurant.
Rockys Fun House Billericay is an indoor soft play centre with two separate play structures for children up to age 10. Also available for private hire exclusive parties at the weekends.
Rockys Fun House Brentwood is an indoor soft play centre specialising in great service, a clean venue and maximum fun for your children. Also available for private hire parties at the weekends.
Rockys Fun House Chelmsford is the newest addition to Rocky's Fun Houses indoor soft play with two fun filled play structures for children from toddlers up to age 10 to enjoy. Also available for private hire at the weekends.
Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker Come and witness the three lives of the bunker starting with its role as an RAF ROTOR Station, then a brief period as a civil defence centre through to its most recent life as a Regional Government HQ. Designed for up to 600 military and civilian personnel, possibly even the Prime Minister!
Audley End House and Park Charming historical house and estate with Natural History Collection, Victorian Nursery, Coal Gallery, costumed servants demonstrating vintage techniques, huge Organic Kitchen Garden, plus adventure playground, picnicking and play space. Lovely!
Mountfitchet Castle Travel back to Norman England and experience life as it was in 1066, so explore the castle and Norman Village, plus the Toy Museum, Paleontology House, and Haunted Manor!
The Cressing Temple Barns Learn about the Knights Templar; explore the knot, nosegay, medicinal and kitchen gardens; cross the moat (repeatedly if you wish, making clip clop noises) and enjoy a picnic. Classic day out material!
Layer Marney Tower A great place to visit whether you are planning to exhaust the children in the play area or enjoy the tranquility of the garden. The view from the roof shows the church, outbuildings, play area, gardens, estate and wildlife walk.
Southend Planetarium Presents a range of talks about astronomy and the night sky. All presentations are live, suitable for ages 7 to adult, and you're allowed to ask questions!
Bourne Mill Set in tranquil grounds next to a bubbling stream this picturesque mill still has a rare working waterwheel. It's a short stop, but unusual and educational, and kids with a sketchpad or camera will certainly get something from it.
Coggeshall Grange Barn 13th-century monastic barn. One of Europe's oldest timber-framed buildings, it has a cathedral-like interior and is linked to a local Cistercian abbey. Inside the barn hosts an exhibition of local woodcarving, tools and a collection of agricultural carts.
Rayleigh Mount An early medieval motte and bailey castle site great for exploration, which offers sweeping views across the Crouch Valley. Make the most of your day by visiting the adjacent windmill to explore historical exhibitions.
Hedingham Castle Bring a picnic and explore the beautiful gardens and lakes then take time to explore the 110ft tall Norman Keep. Many special events are held throughout the year from jousts to outdoor theatre productions from the Globe theatre.
Hadleigh Castle Striking castle remains great for photos and sketches, overlooking some great play and picnic territory. Be warned though it's a little isolated, and there are no toilets or facilities nearby.
Rayleigh Windmill Try a charming little stop at an award-winning tourist and educational attraction which contains an accredited museum, an exhibition space and information about Rayleigh Mount.
Coalhouse Fort Victorian coastal defence fort next to the river Thames and surrounded by parkland with plenty of wildlife, plus adventure play area. Open days and events held reguarly with guided tours. Not always open, check before you visit.
Tilbury Fort Spend a great family day out here as you explore the magazine houses used to store vast quantities of gunpowder or enter the bastion magazine passages and feel what it was like for the soldiers who lived here.
Leigh Heritage Centre Interesting museum with local history artefacts, plus the new Leigh On Sea Heritage Trail starts nearby.
Naze Tower An historic 86ft (26.2m) landmark, with several floors exhibiting local artwork and interesting fossils and artefacts. Amazing views of up to 30 miles away from the top with 111 steps to reach it!
Upminster Windmill Visit a windmill that is over 200 years old and find out about how it works with free, guided tours. A great view from the top plus a number of hands on activities on the way.
Brentwood Park Ski and Snowboard Centre Overlooking 54 acres of beautiful scenic woodland, the Centre offers an exciting variety of dry skiing and snowboarding to suit all ability levels from age 4. They also incorporate other exciting facilities such as a go-Karting track, golf driving range.
Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre The latest in sound and lighting effects combine with a lively disco atmosphere in Riverside's ice rink to get some great family skating done. A variety of sessions and events.
Sk8rs at Madison Heights Family friendly roller rink and skate hire, an excellent fun and healthy activity for the whole family. Other activities available on site.
Rollacity Great venue for a classic, healthy family zip about on quad, or inline skates. Ideal for balance and skill building, good exercise, plus they offer varying session types with differing music and games.
Rollerworld Classic family friendly roller skating offering Roller Disco, plus separate sessions for Family, Over 8s and Adults Only. Plus cool laser tag arena for zero contact combat gaming!
Dovercourt Skate Rink is a family friendly outdoor roller skating rink! One of the only ones left in the UK!
Stubbers Adventure Centre Family adventure starts here, with a fantastic range including motor sports, jet ski, laser tag, bushcraft and absolutely loads more! Single session, day and even week long activity options!
Legacy XS Centre Huge facilities indoor and out, with a 6ft volcano, 90° and 45° hips, 8ft quarter pipe and loads more! Plus cool laser tag, multi use sports zone, modern dance studio with lessons.
Southend Marine Activities Centre Nationally recognised watersports courses, including introductory courses in Sailing, Canoeing, Windsurfing, Powerboat Driving and Jetskiing. They also offer a wide range of beach based activities.
Push Kiting Kite boarding, kite buggying, kite flying and kitesurfing lessons can be taken up by all ages from 8 to 80 years, so if you're interested in a great outdoor sport then come and have a go.
Grangewater Outdoor Education Centre Wet or dry or a combination of both just let them know what kind of activities you would like to try and they will put them together for you. It certainly beats shopping!
Jump Street is an indoor trampoline park with 90 +trampolines, dodgeball courts, basketball hoops, The Bag, The Wall, party rooms and a cafe with free wifi.
Jump Giants Boasts 28,000 sq ft of seamless trampolines, huge foam pit, epic dodgeball court and slam dunk basketball lanes! With open jumps, smalls session, teen party nights and adults only options, literally everyone can get a bounce back in their step!
Dropzone Fantastic interconnected trampoline park plus super bounce dodgeball and hero slum dunk features! As a massive bonus there's also a huge adventure play area for 1s through to 13s! Get in!
Barking Sporthouse Offers a huge skatepark broken into beginner, street and bowl zones; plus the Climb Zone features 10 crazy climbing challenges in cool themes and a parabolic drop slide! Serious fun!
Gravity Force Basildon is the Ultimate Trampoline park in Essex and can be enjoyed by everyone. With many sessions catering for all; it's a great place to get fit and have fun.
Basildon Bowl and Quasar 20 modern tenpin bowling lanes, fully sanctioned by the BTBA and a Quasar Elite Arena, all with a great family atmosphere.
Walton Pier Bowl Set beside the pier's funfair and amusements, this family friendly bowling centre is a refreshing break out of the sun and a great excuse for a few games!
Tenpin Chelmsford is a bowling centre located in Widford Industrial Estate. We have 36 modern fully computerised lanes, American and English Pool tables, Amusement Arcades all catered towards families and kids. There is also the Beach Road Cafe Bar for some delicious meal and snack options.
Tenpin Colchester is a bowling centre located in Cowdray avenue, Colchester. We have 24 modern fully computerised lanes, American and English Pool tables, Amusement Arcades all catered towards families and kids. There is also the Beach Road Cafe Bar for some delicious meal and snack options.
Hollywood Bowl Basildon As well as 26 lanes of tenpin you can also find redemption and video arcades here, plus pool tables and the cool Pink Pin Friday sessions where strikes with pink pins in win prizes!
CJs Bowling 12 tenpin bowling lanes with free entry kiddie soft play area also on site. Cafe plus pro shop.
Madison Lanes Tenpin bowling in their Air Conditioned environment with 22 fully computerised Tenpin bowling lanes, in two fun areas.
Namco Funscape Braintree Kids love bowling, and if they are under 6 they can use a ramp and gutter guards. Great family fun!
Lakeside Karting Passengers can be taken as young as two, and kids can drive from as young as eight. Karting is a thrilling activity for kids, especially here where you can take tiny passengers.
Brentwood Karting This is an outdoor circuit, 825m in length, with plenty of options for the younger karter from Bambino School to Junior Raceway.
Rayleigh Indoor Karting Stadium Suitable from age 10, the Arrive and Drive sessions provide a great introduction to karting and a chance to compete with the whole family plus there's a new feature for 2016!
F1K Karting East London 8+ only. Karting race events, training and parties. Race up to 40mph in their 200cc biz karts. Their track is 400m long with 100m main straight.
The Chelmsford Mystery Treasure Trail Discover the delights of Chelmsford and its waterways on this self guided treasure hunt themed Treasure Trail. Solve the clues as you follow the route to reveal where the long lost treasure is buried!
Southend on Sea Treasure Hunt Trail Get the whole family out and about exploring in the fresh air as you solve the clues on this treasure hunt themed self-guided adventure! Follow the Trail and solve the clues!
Colne Valley Railway Sample the atmosphere and take a ride on an award winning period country railway. A pretty line, relocated station buildings, signal boxes and bridges all lovingly restored and rebuilt.
Audley End Miniature Railway A delightful 1.5 mile ride on Lord Braybrooke's private 10 and a quarter inch gauge railway through Estate woodland. The children all enjoy looking out for the teddies that live in the woods!
East Anglian Railway Museum Go back in time and come and explore the museum. Learn about railways and the people who worked and traveled on them. Have rides on our Mini Rail during the school holidays. Museum and Event days throughout the year.
Chelmer Cruises Take a leisurely hour long cruise on Caffel, or hire a rowboat or open canoe and explore the canal yourselves! Public tours and private hire. Free for kids under 12months!
Epping Ongar Railway The longest heritage railway in Essex, and closest to London: running mainline steam and diesel trains and a heritage bus service to Epping Underground station. Step back in time and enjoy the romance of travel with our great value ticket, offering three heritage transport experiences.
Barnards Miniature Railway - is a miniature railway that runs steam trains and diesel trains through the Essex countryside and woodlands. It has a picnic area and places for the kids to run round too!
Southend Cliff Lift Take a pleasurable journey on an iconic feature of Southend's rich heritage with fantastic views of the pier and estuary. It runs between Western Esplanade and Cliffton Terrace and will take pushchairs.
Castle Park and Gardens Features include a children's play area, crazy golf and putting green, children's boating lake, cricket ground, traditional cafe, riverside walks, and Hollytrees Museum.
Waltham Abbey Gardens Wander around the remains of what was once one of the largest Augustinian Abbeys in the country. Discover this truly magical heritage site where dragonflies flock!
Promenade Park Formal gardens, splash park, adventure playground, sandy play area for children, picnic, play and recreation areas, maze, tennis courts, shops and cafes, a large model boating lake, skateboard park and much, much more...
Great Notley Discovery Centre and Park A whole day's worth, including a sensory trail, endless play equipment suitable for multiple age groups, cycle hire centre, fishing, visitor centre and bistro, sports and educational facilities, plus an extensive events programme.
Hatfield Forest Extraordinary woodland involving trees of up to 1200 years old. Great for outdoor play, hiking and picnicking. Please note the adjacent car park has seasonally limited opening.
Cudmore Grove Country Park Tucked at the eastern tip of Mersea Island, the park includes a pleasingly sandy beach backed by a large expanse of open grassland perfect for summer games and picnics plus woodland to explore too. The information station offers maps… and parties!!
High Woods Country Park Includes 3 superb adventure play areas plus woodland, open spaces, lakeside and wildflower meadows. Great for fishing, picnicking, hiking, cycling and general exploring!
Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve Great for rambling, bird watching and nature photography; there's also a visitor centre. In the spring there is the unusual sight of Cormorants nesting in trees, one of the few places in Britain where they do this!
Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve Set in a spectacular position overlooking the Colne Estuary the visitor centre provides stunning views even on the dullest days It offers the visitor real peace and quiet. Out on the reserve you will find a picnic area, nature trails and bird hides.
Gosfield Lake Resort The activities on site are wide-ranging from the gentle relaxation of Fishing, to the excitement of Water Skiing and banana boat rides. Or Just come and enjoy our lakeside picnic area and watch. A pleasant safe environment for family fun and relaxation. Camping facilities available.
Grays Beach Riverside Park Great play equipment like their giant sand pit, adventure trail, aerial slide and the famous Grays Beach play galleon are open all year round and during the summer months there's a whole treasure trove of activities, competitions and special events.
Admirals Park Cool facilities for active families including football and cricket pitches, pitch and putt golf, bowling green, tennis courts, angling, canoeing and play areas!
Baddow Hall Park Popular with families and dog walkers this area offers plenty of open space for games and picnics and a great children's adventure play area too!
Bedfords Park Visitor Centre A great place to find out about the wildlife within the 215 acre park, which includes many valuable species rich habitats. So take your magnifying glass and sketchbook or camera for the kids to identify mini beasts!
Chelmer Park An adventure play area, outdoor gym equipment, football pitches, netball and tennis courts, plus oodles of green open space to play and picnic in so take your frisbees, bats and balls!
Brook End Gardens Green Flag Awarded community play space with family assault course, formal and recreational gardens and a huge treasure sculpture in the middle. Ideal spot for kite flying!
The Gardens of Easton Lodge is a 23 acre Grade II listed historic restoration garden that welcomes families. We have children’s craft and nature activities and loads of space to run around and play.
Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens 5 acres of formal public gardens plus tennis courts and a pretty good children's play area. To make the most of the trip take bats (or rackets!) and balls, sketchpad and camera.
King Georges Playing Fields Features a unique garden for the blind with many flowering and non-flowering plants which appeal to senses other than sight. They also offer crazy golf, a skatepark, children's adventure play area and paddling pools, so there's plenty for everybody!
Thorndon Country Park This beautiful all access country park contains a diverse range of habitats and is managed both for people and for its precious wildlife. Get out your bug and bird books, binoculars and sketchbook and have a great old fashioned family nature walk!
Weald Country Park 500 acres of glorious parkland that's over 700 years old! Ranger led activities for children vary from investigating flowers and insects to kite making and Halloween walks plus see the fallow deer in the visitor centre!
Hylands House and Park 574 acres of parkland, woodland and lakes surround this sumptuously ornate building, both of which are a delight to explore. Their adventure playground is extensive and has a special focus on disability friendly equipment.
Epping Forest and Visitor Centre As well as being a popular area for recreation and enjoyment it is also of national and international conservation importance with two thirds of it being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.
Harlow Town Park A grand adventure playground plus large paddling pool (open in the summer) and a Pets’ Corner home to a variety of animals including fish, sheep, llamas and reindeer.
The Gibberd Garden Younger children will adore spotting all the little features and hidden sculptures throughout the gardens, and they'll all love the children's moated castle with drawbridge!
Parndon Wood Nature Reserve A haven for flora, fungi, birds, minibeasts, small mammals and deer, waiting for you to explore and discover. During school holidays activity sessions are run for children too!
Hockley Woods A tremendous amount of ancient trees, stunning wild flowers and local wildlife for an old fashioned family ramble. Plus playground and way marked trails.
Thames Chase Visitor Centre Set in a vast and unique community space, the visitor centre at it's heart offers three children's play areas, family rambles, plus a great range of events, workshops and other entertainments.
Wat Tyler Country Park Nature walks and wildlife, multi media and interactive educational exhibits in the 2 centres, sculpture trail and great summer activities.
Maldon Promenade Park is a local classic, with BMX ramps, splash play area, sandpits, playground, orienteering course, model boating lake and sports facilities. Woohoo!
Rainham Marshes A medieval marsh near London with loads of wildlife to look out for and a lovely eco friendly visitor centre full of interesting facts. Two hides plus several viewing platforms for bird watching.
Leigh on Sea Beach Regularly voted in the Top 100 British Beaches, a lovely sandy beach which stretches for 7 miles from Leigh to Shoeburyness, excellent for swimming, windsurfing and sailing.
Frinton on Sea Beach Good swimming with some lifeguard cover, nice sand and excellent fossil hunting territory close by. Deliberately traditional, no arcades, etc.
West Mersea Beach A sandy pebbly beach great for crabbing, windsurfing and traditional beach days, with sandier shore at the eastern end where there's also a playground and some nature footpaths.
Blake House Craft Centre A charming family afternoon's worth featuring Mini Golf, Maize Maze, Outdoor Jungle Gym and lots of specialist arts and crafts shops to browse through. Seasonal special events held too!
Ceramics on the Hop Ceramics on the Hop now also run clay workshops during the school holidays and are able offer potters wheel for older children and adults, although this is a bookable activity.
Made by You Pottery Painting Studio is a Pottery Painting and Craft Studio, where people of all ages and all abilities can paint , create and have fun, we offer parties and school holiday sessions too.
Blue Owl - is a paint your own pottery studio, coffee and gift shop. You can come in anytime and choose from a wide selection of pottery pieces that you can paint in a variety of colours. Baby hand and foot prints can also be taken. All ages are welcome.
Adventure Island Situated on Southend Seafront on both sides of the world famous pier, the park boasts over 40 rides and attractions!
Walton Pier Take a ride on the Red Baron, be thrilled on the Waltzer, ride into the sunset on the Gallopers, release that road rage on the Dodgems or play some classic tenpin bowling. Fun whatever the weather, it’s all undercover!
Clacton Pier Experience 360 Meters of All Weather all year fun and Rides including The new Lanes Tenpin Bowling. From Tiny Tot Rides to The return of The Stella Rollercoaster Families will have hours of fun and memories.
Clacton Pavilion Exciting fun park choose from Adventure Golf, Dodgems, 5D Cinema, Terror Tower, 360 Dance party, Bungee Trampolines, Gold Mine Roller Coaster, State of the Art Ten Pin Bowling and fabulous Bar & Restaurant
Southend Pier and Train Apparently the longest pleasure pier in the world, featuring pier train and transport museum, fishing and sightseeing.
Rayleigh Megaplay Home of awesome atmospheric Megazone Laser Tag, plus MegaPlay Soft Play, Music Rooms, Theatre and S-Kape Youth Centre! Loads!
Colmar Farm Riding School BHS approved all weather facility offering lessons, plus scenic hacks in South Weald Park. Educational facility also offering horse care and qualifications.
Laser Mayhem Terrific outdoor laser tag: a zero contact combat game with atmospheric props including life size tanks, planes, helicopters, forts and cars: great places to hide while you wait for your sister… Scenario days are even better!
Rollerworld Quasar Classic laser tag, the no contact combat game played with infra red, plus family friendly roller skating.
Laser Kombat Basildon Action packed laser tag fun for all the family. A great chance for an exciting run around with hi tech kit that keeps score of hits made and received.
Basildon Bowl and Quasar features a cool futuristic laser tag arena with light and sound effects, where you can stalk your sister with a laser gun: heaven! Plus tenpin bowling, arcade and pool tables for when you tire of the pyrotechnics.
Quasar Elite Harlow Take the kids to shoot up New York without the air fares or the consequences with this fantastic Big Apple themed laser tag arena! High tech infra red laser guns and the using games with an immersive American backdrop. Awesome!
Sector 7 Laser Top notch laser tag experience with 4D effects, UV lit arena and cool laser weaponry! The Red Troops and the Green Aliens are at war, with players zapping their opponents with infra red beams and trying not to be shot themselves.
Megazone Laser Harmless but thrilling war game play in an atmospheric 2 storey arena, zapping each other with cool zero impact laser phasors! Staff marshalled and right beside an indoor play palace. Awesome!
West Park Pitch Putt and Crazy Golf Established 18 hole pitch and putt course set in lovely woodland, with a 9 hole crazy golf course, cafeteria, equipment for hire and a large car park. Kids’ Club every Sunday.
Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf A long established 18 hole crazy golf course with fun structure features like the waterwheel and the lighthouse, plus loads of ramps, dips and hazards. Can you win a free game by sinking the 19th hole?!
Golf Kingdom A vast golf complex with absolutely brilliant family options, like the extravagant Moby Dick themed course with whale, waterfall whaling ship and more! Plus Foot Golf, big holes, big balls, and your foot is the putter! Terrific facilities for all types of golf lover.
At Day Out With The Kids, we've tried to put together as many great things to do with kids in Essex as possible, especially those that are affordable for everyone. Popular towns and places to go include Colchester, Chelmsford and Harlow, and we'd also recommend you check out the nearby counties of Hertfordshire and Suffolk. If you've been on a fun day out in the area you'd like to share, please contact us so other families visiting Essex can enjoy it too!
Things to do in Hertfordshire | Places to visit in Surrey | Things to do in Colchester
Where to go in Kent | Places to go in Suffolk | Things to do in London
Theme parks in Surrey | Zoos in Norfolk | Museums in Hertfordshire
Bowling in Essex | Skiing in Essex | Ice Skating in Essex
What to do in Norfolk | Places to visit in Chelmsford | Places to visit in the UK
Things to do in Hertfordshire | Places to visit in Surrey | Things to do in Colchester
Where to go in Kent | Places to go in Suffolk | Things to do in London
Theme parks in Surrey | Zoos in Norfolk | Museums in Hertfordshire
Bowling in Essex | Skiing in Essex | Ice Skating in Essex
What to do in Norfolk | Places to visit in Chelmsford | Places to visit in the UK