Things to do in Essex

Embarking on an Essex getaway opens the door to many possibilities, as the county has a rich history, diverse attractions, and vibrant culture. The perfect backdrop for a memorable getaway – there are many things to do in Essex.

A hot summers day at the beach on Mersea Island, Essex. Book your caravan holiday with us.

It doesn’t matter what type of holiday you’re after – whether it’s a family adventure, romantic escape for couples, or just looking for some fun things to do in Essex – here you can find some of the best experiences the region offers with Away Resorts.

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Things to do in Essex this weekend

Weekend breaks are becoming increasingly popular, especially as these are often some of the only times people can experience a getaway. Luckily, you can pack many things into a weekend trip.

There is no shortage of exciting on-site activities that you can include in your weekend itinerary that become even easier to manage on the Away Resorts app. You can even find events happening at the Mersea Island Holiday Park – who doesn’t want fun right on their doorstep?

But if you’re looking further afield, here are some of the best things to do in Essex this weekend or any other weekend you decide to visit!



The best weekend attractions in Essex

You can visit the iconic Colchester Castle, the largest Norman keep in Europe, and explore the historical side of Essex.

Witness even more history by visiting some little villages, like Finchingfield and Dedham, and viewing the picturesque landscapes and historic architecture. And it is only a 30 minute drive from Mersea Island!

Not everything has to be about history, though. If you want a relaxing beach day, you can stroll along the seaside promenades of Southend-on-Sea, Clacton-on-Sea, or West Mersea Beach, which is about a 10-20 minute drive from our Mersea Island Holiday Park.

Even better – if you’re staying at the Mersea Island Holiday Park, it has a private beach that overlooks the Blackwater Estuary, where you can boat or jet ski – possibly finding a new hobby!

A beach day is perfect for the whole family and can easily fit into a weekend trip!

If you want even more action, you could explore the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Beauty, where you can experience plenty of walking trails, perfect for a couple’s day out on the weekend. For more things to do in Essex this weekend or any weekend, you can check out some local events such as concerts or festivals.

With so much choice, planning fun activities for your next weekend break is easy!


Things to do in Essex for couples

Essex provides a beautiful romantic backdrop for couples looking to create brand-new memories together, with a range of activities and attractions available.

Taking a stroll together can be a huge part of the romantic experience, as there are so many places to go with your loved one and take in the fantastic views. But this is just one of the free things to do in Essex for adults.

Here are a few more things for couples to do in Essex to make their holiday planning easier!

Lexden wood golf Club image

Lexden wood golf Club

You could start your day off with a loving competition for all of your competitive couples by heading to Lexden Wood Golf Club, also known as Playgolf Colchester, which is a 30 minute drive from your Mersea Island accommodation.

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Beth Chatto gardens image

Beth Chatto gardens

take a romantic stroll through the enchanting Beth Chatto gardens – where you can immerse yourselves in tranquillity and natural beauty. Plus it is only a 30 minute drive from Mersea Island!

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An image of the vineyard at Mersea Island Vineyard on a sunny, cloudy day.

Mersea Island vineyard

if you’re a couple who loves their wine and beer. You can go to the Mersea Island vineyard. Here, you can pick your new favourite tipple together!

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And with plenty of other activities to try, you won’t be short of things to do in Essex for couples. Looking for some time to sit back and relax at the end of the day? It’s as easy as opting for hot tub accommodation at our Essex holiday resort, where you can experience a romantic evening under the stars with your loved one. You’ll both be relaxed and recharged, ready for the next day of explorations.

Things to do in Essex for families

You may be thinking: where can you take the kids out in Essex?

On the flip side, you may bring the whole family with you on your next Essex getaway, including children, grandparents, and even your dog, to keep entertained!

Rest assured, because there are plenty of things to do in Essex for families, regardless of age!

There is something for everyone, so here are some of the best activities and attractions to try out:

The best attractions in Essex for families

A group of three giraffes at Colchester Zoo.

Colchester zoo

The perfect family day out may involve heading to Colchester zoo, a 25 minute drive from Mersea Island and home to a diverse range of wildlife and exciting exhibits.

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A close-up image of a sheep looking at the camera. There are more sheeps in the background.

Marsh farm animal adventure park

For an immersive experience, head to the marsh farm animal adventure park, where the whole family can have a hands-on experience with farm animals and explore interactive play areas for children of all ages.

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A group of children playing on a wooden climbing frame at Wyvernwood.


If your family loves a thrill, Wyvernwood is the perfect family attraction and adventure park – known for offering a magical day out for families in Colchester. Plus it is only a 40 minute drive from Mersea Island.

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Go bananas image

Go bananas

Go bananas is the perfect family attraction and is one of the South East’s biggest indoor adventure play centres – it’s much more than just a soft play centre! And it is only a half an hour drive from Mersea Island.

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Free things to do in Essex

  • Delight in a trip to this part of the country with cost-free activities in Essex, ranging from art exhibitions and mazes to museums and beyond.
  • We've said before, and we'll say it again – the Essex coastline is a fun and free thing to do as a whole family, especially with plenty of beaches nearby.
  • Or you can make your way to St Botolph's Priory, where you can freely explore the archways and towering pillars. This site is guaranteed to please everyone, from history enthusiasts to adventurous children. It is under a 30 minute drive from Mersea Island.
  • Cudmore Grove Country Park on Mersea Island stands out as one of Essex's top playgrounds for children, featuring three distinct areas adorned with expansive wooden structures for climbing. The added bonus is there is also an entire nature reserve and beach to discover.

Fun things to do in Essex

We've covered so many things to do in Essex, but believe it or not, there's even more!

These activities and attractions will keep you and your loved ones so entertained, that you might never want to leave the county. So, what do these fun things to do in Essex include?

Colchester Not only can you travel to these places for fun things to do in Essex, but our Mersea Island Holiday Resort also has many fun-filled activities and facilities right on your holiday home doorstep.

This includes direct access to the beach for a day full of beach activities and an indoor pool where you can swim to your heart's content.

This isn't all, though. You can learn more about the fun things you can get up to, facilities, and events at our Essex holiday park by enquiring today!

A group of children playing on a wooden climbing frame at Wyvernwood.

Things to do in Essex FAQs

Now that you're set with some of the most important information and things to do in Essex, here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help kickstart your holiday planning!

What is Essex known for?

Essex is known for a variety of things, including its picturesque countryside and historic towns and villages – setting the perfect scene for a beautiful getaway!

This county also has a huge association with the textile industry, particularly silk weaving, which you can discover if you visit Braintree on holiday.

Essex is famous for its contributions to the arts, including the painter John Constable, so if you're a keen artist, you can discover all the artwork that calls Essex home.

And with plenty more things associated with Essex, you can go on a learning journey when you next visit.

What is the nicest part of Essex?

The nicest part of Essex depends on your personal opinion, but there are a few areas within the county that are often considered the more Instagram-able points of interest, which include:

  • Finchingfield
  • Wrabness
  • Ashdon
  • Stock
  • Mersea

These are just five of the top nicest destinations to visit in Essex, and whilst staying in Mersea Island, why not take a tour of the county to discover which place you prefer?

Where can I go on a sunny day in Essex?

Come rain or shine, there are plenty of things to do in Essex, but here is where you can go on a sunny day in Essex.

The beach is a perfect destination on those sunny days, and with one being on the doorstep of the Mersea Island Holiday Resort, you can easily enjoy the sun's rays and even a dip to cool off.

You can also head to Colchester Castle Park, which is brimming with history and plenty of displays and exhibitions.

Particularly on a sunny day, you can enjoy the rose beds here and cool off at the café in the park with an ice cream.

You can go pretty much anywhere on a sunny day in Essex, so why not think about spending those sunny days at Mersea Islandbook today!

Discovering different...

Whilst you wait... just think about being in your swimmers, the sun's out and the smiles are big