The southeast region of England is home to Essex, a place that offers an interesting mix of experiences. Visitors can enjoy both bustling nightclubs and serene natural settings, as well as a variety of beachfront attractions and historically significant sites. With so much to see and explore, Essex is a destination that is sure to delight tourists of all interests. From stunning sights to renowned landmarks, this area is truly packed with treasures waiting to be discovered.
Essex is a fantastic destination that offers something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for shopping, dining out, or spending quality time with your family. It’s no wonder that tourists flock to this county every year to discover its many popular attractions, which are just as beloved by locals.
If you’re looking for something different to do in Essex, there are plenty of options to choose from. With vineyards, nature reserves, country parks, theme parks, and museums all on offer, there’s something for everyone. These unusual places are perfect for a fun day out in Essex!
Most of us are aware that the Romans conquered Britain around 2000 years ago.
Did you not know that Colchester is the oldest recorded town, which was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in the year 77AD?
In addition to being the home of castles, Colchester seats two of the five Roman theatres that are found within Britain and were also the capital city of Britannia for a few years prior to being captured and attacked by Boudica.
The town is brimming with Roman architecture and history This makes it one of the most popular places to go in Essex for anyone interested in history.
a) Colchester Castle
If you’re looking for an unusual place to visit in Colchester, don’t miss out on the castle built in honour of Henry I, son of William the Conqueror, during the 11th century. It’s one of the town’s most popular attractions.
A lot of the castle began to decay in the 17th century until it was purchased by the Colchester Council in 1922, renovated and transformed into an art gallery.
The museum is home to a variety of exhibits and displays, as well as the fancy dress box, in which you can test out Roman costumes or WWI helmets.
The price is PS10.95 for adults. However, discounts are offered to students, children and group tickets.
b) Colchester Zoo
Colchester Zoo is the second-best Zoo within the UK. It is in the middle of the list of Essex’s top places to go. With 60 acres of parkland, Colchester Zoo is the ideal location to meet your favourite animals while being surrounded by beautiful landscapes. The zoo is home to 240 species. The zoo is also rated as the 11th best in the world. It also offers the chance to feed the giraffes and elephants yourself. You can also take the “Lost Madagascar Express” train that runs on the road.
2) Saffron Walden
Saffron Walden is a pleasant mediaeval town located in the northwest region of Essex. It is a treasure trove of ancient structures that reflect its wealth as a market town in the countryside. In the centre of the town lies St Mary’s Church, the largest and one of the most beautiful local churches in Essex. Middleton Place and Castle Road are adorned with stunning half-wooden structures, which are incredibly gorgeous too.
3) The Sugar Hut
Where better to begin when travelling to Essex other than the famous Sugar Hut?
It was also a frequent part of TOWIE for a long time and is possibly one of the most popular structures within the city of Brentwood.
Famous celebrities like Gemma Collins, Mark Wright and Joey Essex have all partied here.
This location is perfect for those who want to follow in their footsteps and explore something unusual.
However, the strict dress code stipulates certain shoes you need to wear while visiting.
No casual shoes, trainers or plimsolls here, folks!
Wear your best heels with your most sparkling gown and the longest lashes, and you’re ready for the party.
If you’re interested in visiting The Sugar Hut, but clubbing isn’t your thing, The Sugar Hut also has an open restaurant all week.
Dinner and lunch menus are available as well as you can also book large-scale parties.
In addition, it helps you get through the queue at nightclubs when you purchase a two-course meal either on Fridays or Saturdays. Win, win!
Contrary to some areas in the UK, Nightclubs in Essex are not often free to enter.
It’s the same as well, for the Sugar Hut, except on Thursdays and Fridays prior to 10:30 pm.
Drinks can be costlier, but it’s the cost of partying in any of the well-known club nights in the UK.
3) Dedham Vale
The Dedham Vale is located close to the Essex border, the Dedham Vale gives probably the most stunning views of Essex as well as across the nation. It was awarded the “Area with exceptional natural beauty” designation due to its stunning landscape, farmland, old forests, waterways, and glades. Dedham is an absolutely unusual place to visit if you’re someone who loves the countryside. This place is of awe-inspiring beauty, covering a total of 90 square kilometres and boasting just 10,000 people living there.
Firstsite is among the most unusual places to visit in Essex. The organisation for visual arts has a wide selection of modern art, shows as well as films and events as well as is a venue for corporate events and wedding hires. It is the ultimate destination for anyone who is interested in the arts. In Colchester in the midst of its Roman and Norman developments, this modern art exhibit is a must when exploring the region’s historic places of interest.
5) Southend Pier
Southend Pier is the longest charming Pier in the UK that extends 1.34 miles across the Thames Estuary. This charming, narrow-gauge railroad is often called the “Train to nowhere.” The train journey along the pier will bring you between one end and another, or you can walk all the way which is likely to take you around 25 minutes. Due to its long history and the record, it has been placed on the top of the list of things you can look for in Essex.
Maldon is probably the most renowned place in England. There are a myriad of niches and nooks to discover. It’s a blend of beautiful charms, a wealth of history and wildlife. The first years of Maldon’s existence were a continuous battle against the Vikings that would make their way along the Blackwater estuary to attack Maldon throughout the 10th century. The shores of Blackwater are a bit more stable nowadays. In addition, the Promenade Park, spread out in the Victorian era, was a popular spot to picnic on sunny days, with roads lined with trees and waterside gardens.
7) Mersea Island
Did you know that Mersea Island is the most easterly inhabited island in the UK? It’s located on the coast of Essex and is just 9 miles southeast of Colchester. Despite its remote appearance, Mersea Island is actually connected to the Essex mainland via a causeway that runs along it. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or simply want to admire the stunning scenery, there’s always something to do on this seven-square-mile island.
8) Tiptree Jam Factory Shop and Museum
If you’re looking to discover the top brands in Essex, then Wilkin and Sons are definitely worth checking out. For a fascinating insight into the company’s history, make sure to visit the Tiptree Jam Factory Museum. And if you want to taste some of their delicious food for yourself, head over to the Tiptree Tea Room. Not only can you sample their produce, but you can also purchase some fresh Wilkin and Sons items to take home with you.
9) Crouch Ridge Vineyard
If you imagine vineyards, you might think of the sun shining across California as well as Italy.
What isn’t in you would be what’s in the Essex countryside!
But, hidden in the central county is a family-owned vineyard that started making wine in the year 2010.
With 15 acres of slopes facing south and fairly low rainfall, Crough Ridge Vineyard grows grapes to make Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines.
The Wine Cellar Shop, you can buy any wine made here.
If you’re like me, then you’d like to test before buying.
They have a variety of experiences and packages for guests, including wine tastings starting at PS25 per person, sparkling afternoon tea for two for PS50, or, if your preference is to get all-out on private tours, it’s only PS200.
The vineyard is able to provide accommodations on-site for guests who don’t wish to drive home after their visit!
Then, at Wine Barn Wine Barn, you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the terrace with a view of the vineyard and have a bite take for lunch, brunch or tapas.
In the summer, they host special events in the vineyard.
Therefore, it’s recommended to check their website prior to going to check if they’re hosting an extra event while you’re there.
Whatever you end up getting doing, The Crouch Ridge Vineyard is among the top destinations to visit in Essex. If you’re looking to feel like you’ve been to a place far more exotic than The East part of England.
The most sought-after tourist spot is Southend-on-Sea.
It was originally the preferred holiday for Londoners in the postwar era; Southend has retained its popularity as a destination for tourists.
If it’s a sunny day, there’s nothing better than going to the seafront and taking a bite of a 99 flake.
As a youngster, I was so thrilled to be able to see the shape of France across the ocean. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it was actually Kent Coast!
11) Adventure Island
Adventure Island is the Essex’s version of Disneyland that includes the thrill of a rollercoaster, as well as outdoor arcade games for everyone to delight in.
It is the top-ranked theme park in the UK and offers free admission. However, tokens must be bought in order to enjoy the rides.
The rides’ lengths are better suited to kids.
If you’re at the beach and want to visit a few of them, you are able to purchase tokens whenever you’d like.
You can also purchase a one day pass that gives you unlimited enjoyment of the water slide, dodgems, or candy floss for an entire day of fun.
12) Southend Pier
Southend can also be a record holder since it’s home to the longest pleasure pier on earth and has the unfortunate tradition of burning down at least once every decade.
The pier played a vital part in both world wars. It has since become a tourist attraction.
You can walk along the 2.1km long Pier, or take a break on the train that runs every 15 minutes.
Near the pier’s end, you can grab hot doughnuts, fish and chips while you gaze at the waves rolling and flying seagulls.
13) Cliffs Pavilion
To conclude your visit to Southend, Why not pay an excursion at Cliffs Pavilion, a medium-sized theatre that has a range of shows?
Musicals and plays often play here either prior to or immediately following the West End runs.
The venue has also hosted famous artists like The 1975, Paloma Faith and The Human League.
Tribute performances are a frequent occasion as well!
It is located just a mile from the Southend Victoria train station, it’s a breeze to return back home afterwards.
14) Epping Forest
Epping Forest is a wonderful area that offers a unique leisure experience that can be explored. It’s situated near London, making it an ideal destination for a road trip. The charming towns and villages in the countryside make it a perfect place to escape the hectic city life. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-fueled wilderness adventure or a more relaxed exploration of the natural world with a sumptuous lunch in a market town, the Epping Forest region is definitely worth a visit!