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.
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.
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 Bay Beach Blue Flag Awarded sand and rock beach, with lifeguards during summer season. Good immediate facilities including cafes and shops, accessible toilets, tennis, putting, sailing and windsurfing.
Margate Main Sands This timeless beach with tidal pool, children's rides and amusement arcades caters for families who want traditional seaside fun and entertainment. Seasonal lifeguard cover.
Botany Bay Popular for surfing and canoeing this Botany Bay (there are several) is a pure sandy delight with especially well inhabited rock pools to explore.
Joss Bay Sandy beach with chalk cliffs popular with families, swimmers and surfers with summer lifeguard cover and great immediate amenities.
Ramsgate Main Sands Long sandy family beach with summer lifeguard cover and children's amusements, arcades and family dining.
Viking Bay A curved, sandy bay ideal for family trips, with tidal pool, children's rides and surf school beachside, plus cliff top promenade and boardwalk with some children's rides.
Tankerton Beach Good for swimming but not building castles, this is a pebble and shingle beach with an intriguing natural causeway to explore.
Sunny Sands Beach A hugely popular sandy beach at the eastern end of the Stade and Folkestone Harbour. It is a firm favourite with families throughout the summer, with good facilities nearby including WCs and cafés, pubs and beach shops.
Camber Sands Mountainous sand dunes and vast expanses so even when it's busy you can find a space for yourselves. Good amenities.
Dungeness Beach Definitely for exploring, this is a visually dramatic shingle beach with RSPB hides and lots of local wildlife. No swimming, no immediate facilities.
Hastings Beach Sand and shingle beach with good swimming and lifeguard cover. Many features and facilities at one end, quiet at the other. Connected to Pelham Beach.
Eastbourne Beach Sand, shingle and pebble beach with water sports and swimming opportunities. Many local features.
Birling Gap Chalk and shingle beach good for rock pools, fossil hunting and safe paddling, very popular with surfers and kite fliers, excellent local walks with loads of butterflies in season.
Seaford Bay Shingle beach with a few features to explore and good water for swimming with some lifeguard cover.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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'!
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.
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.
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.
Thurrock Museum Learn about 250,000 years of Thurrock's past through their fascinating displays and extensive ranges of locally discovered artefacts.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Blackwater Leisure Centre - boasts a superb leisure pool incorporating a fun flume ride, a safe swimming area for children and novelty bubble pool! Plus separate Baby Pool for our youngest visitors and lane swimming provided.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.