10 ideas to entertain your family

PUBLISHED: 11:38 13 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:38 13 August 2014

Colchester Castle Museum

Colchester Castle Museum


Essex Life brings you 10 great ideas to entertain your family this summer

Royal Gunpower Mills

Beaulieu Drive

Waltham Abbey

Essex EN9 1JY


The Royal Gunpowder Mills caters for keen historians and children, as visitors to the mills will discover through the help of dedicated, authentically-dressed staff. All the way through the summer holidays, the mills will be showcasing the Arts and Science Festival, it is highly recommended to visit on Tuesdays, as mini mad professors will be encouraged to join in too.

West Cliff Theatre

Tower Road

Clacton on Sea

Essex CO15 1LE


With its rich history dating back to 1894 and just five minutes from the seafront, West Cliff theatre has a range of daily shows to suit every taste. Throughout the holidays the theatre will be hosting the Clacton Summer Variety Special and family-orientated shows on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week.

Mark’s Hall Gardens and Arboretum

Estate Office/ Mark’s Hall

Colchester CO6 1TG


Set in 200 acres of fine countryside, Mark’s Hall estate is rich with history with some stories dating back as far as the Norman Conquest. While formerly crumbling to ruin, the grounds and house are now renovated and open to the public. Explore the landscaped circular woodland walks, the divine gardens and the arboretum with its breathtaking mix of plants from temperate regions including Asia and the Southern Hemisphere. Children can dress up and join their favourite characters from Alice in Wonderland on August 27 for a delicious Mad Hatters Tea Party held outside the barn.

Redwings Ada Cole

Rescue Centre


Broadley Common

Nazeing, Essex EN9 2DH

With more than 50 friendly rescue horses and ponies waiting to greet visitors, Redwings Centre is a must see for animal lovers. All of the residents are tame and love attention so it is ideal for smaller children to get up close and personal with the horses. Visitors are treated to walking tours and demonstrations as well as a gift shop and café.

Colchester Natural

History Museum

High Street, Hinxton

Colchester CO1 1DN


Housed in an ancient church building, the Natural History Museum is a chance to get closer to nature and learn fascinating facts that you would never have known about Britain’s oldest town, Colchester. A recommended day to visit is Wednesday, August 6 for the Mighty Predators attraction where live animals meet the crowds along with presentations on their talents and abilities.

Colchester Castle Museum

Castle Park, Colchester CO1 1TJ


The largest Norfolk keep in Europe, the Castle Museum is worth a sightseeing tour for its historic stature alone. Taking you through a stunning 2,000 years of Britain’s most crucial points in history, the newly-refurbished museum has ancient artefacts and interactive experiences including excavating activities and trying on authentic costumes. Families are welcome to drop in throughout the summer to meet some real life ‘castle characters’.

Snape Maltings

Near Aldeburgh

Suffolk IP17 1SR


Snape Maltings features shops, eateries and activities ranging from wildlife walks along the River Alde to honey tasting. For those that want a unique shopping experience, Snape Maltings is well equipped with boutiques ranging from designer furniture to toys. Why not pop along on August 2 to sample fresh produce at the popular farmer’s market?

Acrobatic Day


In aid of the Essex Air Ambulance

Team Kinetix, fabulous cars and the Essex Air Ambulance fundraising team will be coming to Southend on Saturday, August 16, bringing an exciting mix of acrobatic stunt displays.

Headline sponsors Essex Audi Group will be showcasing the stunning Audi Q7 and the prestige Audi R8 for the public to view while Team Kinetix, a unique and dynamic acrobatic group will be wowing the crowds with their spectacular stunt performances, including a spectacular jump over the Audi Q7. Come down to the Acrobatic Day in Victoria Circus on Southend High Street this August and help raise vital funds for this local charity.

Blake House Craft Centre

Blake End, Nr Braintree

Essex CM77 6RN


Situated in carefully preserved farm buildings, Blake house Craft Centre has a fine choice of art and craft shops which are perfect for gift shopping and there are also plenty of activities to amuse younger members of the family, including a crazy golf course and play area. Don’t miss the centre’s maize maze challenge, a 10-acre, peacock-inspired challenge (weather permitting).

Guild of Essex Craftsmen Show

Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road

Braintree CM77 8PD


The Guild of Essex Craftsmen formed 30 years ago with the aim of promoting local craft-making talent, with only a select few being granted membership to showcase their products at the group’s many shows. This August Bank Holiday Monday, the guild is exhibiting work by more than 100 members at a craft fair hosted in Cressing Temple Barns.

Dedham Arts and Crafts Museum

High Street, Dedham

Essex CO7 6AP


Set in a historic church building in Constable Country, Dedham Arts and Crafts exhibits beautifully designed products and materials to make your own pieces, ideal for an eclectic enthusiast or for casual shoppers wanting to start a new artistic hobby. Visitors can soak up the relaxed, bohemian atmosphere in the centre’s café which offers afternoon tea and picnic baskets.

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