Hockley Woods (5 miles)
A tremendous amount of ancient trees, stunning wild flowers and local wildlife for an old fashioned family ramble. Plus playground and way marked trails.
Bartons Point Coastal Park (8 miles)
Bartons Point Coastal Park
A miniature railway, fishing and crabbing lake, model flying field, pitch and putt golf course, and a great new adventure play area too!
Wat Tyler Country Park (9 miles)
Wat Tyler Country Park
Nature walks and wildlife, multi media and interactive educational exhibits in the 2 centres, sculpture trail and great summer activities.
Promenade Park (13 miles)
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...
Baddow Hall Park (15 miles)
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!
Chelmer Park (15 miles)
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 (16 miles)
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!
Hylands House and Park (17 miles)
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.
Bluebell Hill Picnic Site (17 miles)
Bluebell Hill Picnic Site
A simple, pleasing site on which to take a family ramble, spot some of the millions of mini beasts and enjoy a picnic with excellent views. Explore the Neolithic long barrow remains for an imaginative and educational boost!
Grays Beach Riverside Park (17 miles)
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.
Thorndon Country Park (17 miles)
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!
Admirals Park (18 miles)
Cool facilities for active families including football and cricket pitches, pitch and putt golf, bowling green, tennis courts, angling, canoeing and play areas!
King Georges Playing Fields (18 miles)
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!
Thames Chase Visitor Centre (18 miles)
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.
Cudmore Grove Country Park (20 miles)
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!!
Beacon Wood Country Park (20 miles)
Beacon Wood Country Park
Ideal territory for hunting mini beasts, including green woodpeckers, sparrow hawks, foxs, squirrels, butterflies and colourful dragonflies! A naturally wild day out!
Weald Country Park (20 miles)
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!
Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve (20 miles)
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!
Druidstone Park (21 miles)
Whether you fancy meeting friendly animals, enjoying the adventure play area, finding adventure and whimsy in the enchanted woodland or just relaxing in idyllic surroundings, you won't be disappointed at Druidstone Park!
Clare Park (21 miles)
Ideal for picnicking plus play on the tennis courts, multi purpose games area and the children's adventure playground. Maidstone's first Green Flag award!
Rainham Marshes (21 miles)
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.
Memorial Park (22 miles)
There is a small lake, a children's play area, tennis and basketball courts and cricket and football pitches plus a host of new equipment from the recent revamp.
Bedfords Park Visitor Centre (23 miles)
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!
Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve (23 miles)
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.
Westgate Gardens (24 miles)
With riverside walks and the Toddler Cove play area, picnic spots, and family trails plus evening bat walks and open air events in summer, this is a pleasing spot that's shortly getting even better!
Great Notley Discovery Centre and Park (24 miles)
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.
Dane John Gardens (24 miles)
Dane John Gardens
A former castle park with small adventure playground close to the shopping centre and with great views over the city. Ideal for giving the kids an hour's break from the retail and resting your legs while they stretch theirs!
Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens (25 miles)
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.
Swanley Park (25 miles)
A traditional town park with play areas, paddling pool, sandpit, boating lake, railway, cafeteria, bouncy castle and battery bikes all set in 60 acres of parkland.
Castle Park and Gardens (26 miles)
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.
Danson Splash Park (26 miles)
Danson Splash Park
Wet and dry play areas with interactive water features and adventure playground combination features! Safe perimeter fencing and good facilities within a popular public park that's free to visit!
High Woods Country Park (27 miles)
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!
Monkton Nature Reserve (28 miles)
Monkton Nature Reserve
Set in 16 beautiful acres of abandoned chalk quarry, which has been dramatically reclaimed by nature and is ready for exploration. They also house the Thanet Observatory and the first artificial bat cave built in the UK.
Gosfield Lake Resort (28 miles)
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.
Quex Maize Maze (29 miles)
Quex Maize Maze
With the 2015 theme as yet undecided the maze is more mysterious than ever, but the standards of fun and frolics will be as high as every year! Outdoor games, refreshment kiosks and Torchlight Nights all add to the fun too.
Knole Park (29 miles)
is a historic house and medieval deer park, a landscape hardly touched for hundreds of years. With a large number of free attractions on offer, including the Visitor Centre, Park Experience room, several exhibitions and the entire deer park, a visit to Knole makes for a wonderful, fun and affordable day!
The Gardens of Easton Lodge (30 miles)
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.
River Hill Himalayan Gardens (30 miles)
River Hill Himalayan Gardens
Discover the Everest trail in this magical, listed garden with incredible views across the Weald of Kent. Let your Little Sherpas' imaginations run wild in our new Himalayan Hideout, spend time building dens together, lose yourself in the Himalayan maze and perhaps even spot the elusive Yeti!
The Gibberd Garden (30 miles)
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 (30 miles)
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!
Epping Forest and Visitor Centre (30 miles)
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.
Hatfield Forest (30 miles)
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.
Harlow Town Park (30 miles)
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.
Greenwich Park (31 miles)
One of the Royal Parks, boasting over 180 acres of grassland, the observatory and a children's adventure playground.
Wild Kingdom Playspace (31 miles)
Wild Kingdom Playspace
s a unique and distinctive natural playspace on Three Mills Green, Newham, London. It combines a variety of play structures and spaces that together bring a sense of unexpected adventure and imaginative seasonal change to the newly created landscape at Three Mills Green.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (31 miles)
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
From Tumbling Bay playground to a 30 piece BMX track, via loads of sports opportunities and climbing the UK's tallest sculpture, they've crammed an amazing amount in the old 2012 games park! A great day out in London!
Haysden Country Park (31 miles)
Haysden Country Park
There are a wide variety of things to do at the country park, including walking, a children's play area, sailing, fishing and nature study. Pick your family project, pack your kit and make a day of it; and knowing you've got a beautiful backdrop take a camera!
Waltham Abbey Gardens (32 miles)
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!
Victoria Park (32 miles)
One of London’s most important historic parks, and its oldest public park. It has been used by millions of Londoners for nearly 170 years as a place of healthy recreation, sports, play and relaxation. Splash pool open during the summer.
Lee Valley Regional Park (33 miles)
Lee Valley Regional Park
Lee Valley Regional Park
The 10,000 acre Park has hundreds of great days out for all the family. Whether it's a day out at the farms, athletics, golf, horse riding, ice skating, fishing, cycling, bird watching, camping or simply exploring the countryside.
Thanks for all the great things to do and Play Parks and Great Outdoors near Southend with kids you keep sending in.
Now we have the easter and summer holidays fast approaching, we're trying to find the best days out and as many fun things to do with kids as possible, especially cheap and free family friendly places to visit this year - theme parks, waterparks and swimming pools, museums, indoor playcentres and softplay for toddlers, petting farms, wildlife parks and zoos, aquariums, horse riding, castles, steam railways, pottery making and ceramic cafes, roller and ice skating rinks, karting tracks, snowdomes, dry and indoor ski slopes, climbing walls, activity centres, outdoor play at the best local parks, ten pin bowling alleys and all the other best family tourist attractions, that you can visit at the weekend.
Also teachers may find the site useful for ideas for the best places to take their classes on school journeys with many historical and educational atractions listed
So, if you've been for great days out with the kids, or a school trip, which isn't shown above, just send in an email and we'll add it on so people visiting on holidays and all the other children in Essex can enjoy the great day out as well.
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Zoos near Southend
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Play Parks in Southend-on-Sea
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