Things to Do in Essex, United Kingdom

9 Best Things to Do in Essex, United Kingdom – Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

BZFLAG Travel - Contributor Europe, Travel Guides 3 Comments

There are plenty of things to do in Essex for the traveler venturing out to this county located to the north-east of London. In pre-England times, this place is known as the Kingdom of Essex. Medieval villages and historic buildings still stand to this day, and the rolling countryside as their backdrop only heightens everyone’s charm.

While often stereotyped, there is an effortless beauty to this place that begs to be discovered. Here are the top 9 stops you should not miss.

Monkey DividersAttractions

1. Colchester Castle

Built in 1076, this castle has been many things to different people across the centuries. After opening in 1100, it has been used as a royal residence, a prison, and home to a Witchfinder General. Also, the Colchester’s Keep is the largest in the United Kingdom, one and a half times bigger than the White Tower at the Tower of London.

These days, visitors flock into marvel at its gorgeous Norman architecture and museum that offers a wealth of history and interactive displays. If you are after a unique experience, a walk to the jail is one of the must-do things in Essex.

Price: £7.60 for adults and £4.75 for children; saver tickets are available at £20.00 for two adults and two children or one adult and three children
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Monday to Saturday; 11 AM to 5 PM every Sunday (Last admission is 4.30 PM)
Location: Castle Park, High Street, Colchester CO1 1TJ, United Kingdom

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

Colchester Castle, Essex, East of England by / CC BY-ND 2.0

2. Old Leigh

Old Leigh or The Old Town is a glimpse of the history of Southend-On-Sea. Today, cobbled streets, cockle sheds, pubs and eateries, art galleries, and craft shops bring color and movement to the district. But in the past, this riverside settlement is known as the primary shipping route to London. A busy place with market squares, fish merchants thrived here processing and trading a rich variety of seafood.

Price: Free
Hours: Open access
Location: High Street, Leigh-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea SS9 2EP, England

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

Yacht Tender, Old Leigh by / CC BY 2.0

3. Southend Pier

Present on any list of the top things to do in Essex is a trip to the world’s longest pleasure pier. The Southend Pier is a major landmark located in the Southend-on-Sea. It stretches 1.341 miles right into the Thames Estuary. With this much space, you are sure to find an assortment of things to capture your interest.

Cafes, shops, sun decks, exhibits, and an active lifeboat station are among the establishments that bring this historic area to life. The pier has been around since 1830, surviving a plethora of storms, fires, and boat crashes. It is a long walk, but you can always save yourself by catching the Pier Railway.

Price:  £2 and £1 for children
Hours: Open daily from 8.15 AM to 8 PM
Location: Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1EE, United Kingdom

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

fishing off the pier by / CC BY 2.0

4. Dutch Quarter

This Tudor enclave to the north of High St. is popular for its half-timbered houses with a long history of servicing refugees. During the 16th century, Protestant weavers fleeing Holland due to religious persecution settled here. But the houses pre-date the Dutch arrival, the previous occupants being Jewish people and other immigrants.

Price: Free
Hours: Open access
Location: W Stockwell St, Colchester CO1 1BA, United Kingdom

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

Dutch quarter by / CC BY-SA 2.0

Monkey DividersHistoric Buildings

5. Audley End House & Gardens

Enormous, palatial, and grand in every way, this 17th-century country house is the finest Jacobean piece in England. In 1668, Charles II purchased this prodigy house, fulfilling its purpose as a royal palace. Rooms are lavish, containing glimmering silverware, priceless furniture, and mesmerizing paintings.

In the 19th century, the interior received a remodeling, which is largely responsible for the Gothic style visitors see today. Add this venue to your itinerary of things to do in Essex. You won’t regret it.

Price: £16.60 for adults and £10 for children
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM
Location: 1 mile west of Saffron Walden off the B1383

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

Audley End House & Gardens (EH) 06-05-2012 by / CC BY 2.0

6. Flatford Mill

Fans of the works of Constable immediately recognize this red-brick watermill built in 1733 right by the River Stour. It features in many of the painter’s canvasses and remains a popular spot for people ticking their list of the best things to do in Essex today. Beautiful views frame Flatford Mill, and it is now used as an education center.

Price: Free
Hours: Open access to the front and back but entry is not allowed
Location:  Flatford Rd, East Bergholt, Suffolk CO7 6UL, United Kingdom

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

Dedham 11-9-2011 by / CC BY 2.0

Monkey DividersOutdoors

7. Bridge End Gardens

Nature lovers fall in love with this fun gem restored from the 19th century. Seven interlinked gardens place it as one of the best things to do in Essex and visitors can’t help but be awed by the full splendour of this Victorian beauty.

Price: Free
Hours: Open access to the gardens; Maze and produce-packed kitchen garden open at 9 AM to 3 PM from Monday to Thursday, 9 AM to 1 PM on Fridays, and 10 AM to 4 PM on weekends
Location: Bridge End, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1HR

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

Bridge End Garden, Saffron Walden By / CC BY 2.0

8. The Turf Maze

There are eight surviving turf mazes in England, but The Turf Maze or Labyrinth in Saffron Walden is the best for kids. It is an ancient structure, thought to be 800 years old, and the largest example of its kind in the world. Take the children for a walk and kill time in a most entertaining way.

Price: Free
Hours: Open access
Location: The Common, Saffron Walden, England

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

The Turf Maze, Saffron Walden by / CC BY 2.0

Monkey DividersArt Gallery

9. Firstsite

Founded in 2011, Firstsite is a contemporary art gallery located in Colchester’s cultural quarter. Its impressive appearance places it on every list of the top things to do in Essex. Striking and shiny, the glass and copper arts center has a flowing vibe with plenty of space and light.

Numerous exhibitions are periodically on display in a broad range of media and art forms, but its real virtue is its permanent exhibition of the stunning Berryfield Mosaic discovered there in 1923.

Price: Free
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM
Location: Lewis Gardens, High St, Colchester CO1 1JH, United Kingdom

9 Best Things to do in Essex - Where to Go, Attractions to Visit

firstsite, Colchester by / CC BY 2.0

Monkey Dividers

Recommended Accommodation in Essex

Westcliff Hotel

Westcliff Hotel is a lovely accommodation, with spacious rooms and spotlessly clean. It’s a brilliant place with friendly staff, beautiful views, and has recommendable seaside view rooms. Truly, this is one of the best and well-recommended accommodation in Essex.

Read Reviews on:

Park Inn by Radisson Palace

Park Inn by Radisson Palace offers guests with very spacious rooms, with magnificent sea view. Location is great, just at the end of high street, check in is quick and efficient, and staff is very welcoming. This is definitely one of the best and well recommended accommodation in Essex.

Read Reviews on:


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Comments 3

  1. What a pretty looking city, one I’ve not heard much about. I’d like to go for sure! Very helpful tips on where to eat and drink too, as a vegetarian I always panic about finding something suitable!

  2. This blog is having the general information. Got a creative work and this is very different one.We have to develop our creativity mind.This blog helps for this. Thank you for this blog. This is very interesting and useful.

  3. This blog is having the general information. Got a creative work and this is very different one.We have to develop our creativity mind.This blog helps for this. Thank you for this blog. This is very interesting and useful.

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