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Things to do in Essex

If you dream about seaside sunsets, the calm of the waves and the feeling of sand between your toes, then a holiday in Essex is for you! Britain's Sunshine Coast has been luring holidaymakers for generations with its wealth of attractive beaches and seaside amusements. Maybe it's time you joined them!

Clacton-on-Sea is a vintage favourite, with lovely powdery sands, a pier and traditional theatres. There are fairground rides and arcades for the kids too! That's not all, Essex holidays wouldn't quite be complete without visiting the other seaside must-sees, which include Walton-on-the-Naze and Mersea Island.

Away from the sands, the attractions become even more varied, with castles, nature parks and wildlife attractions dotted throughout the stunning countryside in Essex.

Reasons to Visit Essex

  • Blue Flag beaches with nature reserves galore
  • Historical highlights such as Colchester Castle can’t be missed
  • Explore the region’s maritime history from this vintage seaside location
  • Five fantastic holiday parks in Essex to choose from
  • Long days by the seaside or a trip to the zoo - the choice is yours
Sunset on a beautiful Beache

Beautiful Beaches

Clacton is a glorious beach day out, and Valley Farm Holiday Park is only a short walk from its bustling sands - with Weeley Bridge and Highfield Grange holiday parks also nearby, so it’s an ideal ‘base beach’ for further adventures.

Quieter stretches of coast include Naze Beach. Surrounded on three sides by water, and the shingle and sand mix at Shoeburyness, this area features some postcard-perfect beach huts and World War Two era defences.

Colchester castle

History & Culture

A wander around the historical sites of Colchester is essential if you’re looking for a history-focused day out. Once the capital of Britain during the Roman era, there’s plenty of ancient heritage scattered about the town that can be explored in an afternoon. However, the highlight of the town is undoubtedly Colchester Castle - Europe’s largest Norman fortification which boasts panoramic views of the town and the countryside beyond.

For a glimpse of the region’s place as the first line of defence from invasion, a tour around the Martello Towers along the Essex coast is a must.

a man kite surfing

Outdoors & Adventure

For the more daring amongst us, Essex is a destination that delivers. Kitesurfing tuition is available to really up the adrenaline on your Clacton holidays, with windsurfing and traditional sailing also available at locations along the coast - such as the Marconi Sailing Club in the Blackwater Estuary.

Landlubbers fear not, as there are plenty of cycling opportunities in the Dedham Vale, as well as along the shorelines between Clacton and Walton.

a plate of strawberries and crepes

Treat Yourself

There are plenty of opportunities for a treat or two in Essex, not least at Crepeaholic, a short drive from Coopers Beach Holiday Park, where you can indulge in sweet or savoury French pancakes.

For a more varied sit-down experience, the Stop the World Cafe in Leigh-on-Sea is a winning option. Both of these flavoursome foodie experiences made it onto our run-through of the best treats in the South East.

Sampling the local wines is also something you should consider, as the acclaimed Mersea Island Vineyard has been producing high-quality Essex wine for many years - and they serve afternoon tea, too.

scenic view of beach huts overlooking a beach

Stunning Scenery

It’s the head-scratching answer to a trick pub quiz question, but Essex really does have the longest coastline of any county in the UK!

Featuring 35 islands and a wealth of wetland that makes it an ideal location for seabird spotters, you’re sure to find some idyllic scenery to relax in wherever you’re staying in Essex.

For a landscape that has inspired artists such as John Constable, why not take a trip to Dedham Vale, an area of verdant countryside that’s perfect for an afternoon’s lazy ramble?

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