Discover 10 Top Essex Spring Days Out
PUBLISHED: 12:24 11 April 2008 | UPDATED: 11:38 28 February 2013
Carol Jolly, from the Essex Tourism Association, introduces ten top ideas for spectacular spring days out in the county the whole family can enjoy
1 The Essex Sunshine Coast
If you are in search of the traditional pleasures of the seaside with a modern twist, the Essex Sunshine Coast is the perfect location. From award-winning beaches in Clacton-on-Sea to the historical port of Harwich, the Essex coastline offers all you need for a grand day out.
The Essex Sunshine Coast is part of the Tendring holiday peninsula and is home to some truly glorious villages, unspoiled landscapes and charming seaside towns. With the beautiful Stour Valley to the north and the River Colne to the south, the area is full of idyllic riverbanks, glorious coastline and famous countryside. You can also pop in to The Princes Theatre. Home to the prestigious Princes Theatre Youth Company, the theatre stages a varied programme of live family entertainment including concerts, plays, comedy and community events.
Visit www.essex-sunshine-coast.org.uk or call the TIC on 01255 686633
2 Barlaylands Craft Village
Barleylands is a unique visitor attraction with something for everyone. From its origins as a cattle farm it has been transformed into one of the largest craft villages in the country, with new tearooms which serve an array of local produce. Alongside the craft village is a Farm Centre and a miniature railway. During spring 2008 the new Farming Discovery Centre is set to open within the Farm Centre which will have a mixture of displays and interactive activities to inform visitors in a fun way.
Visit www.barleylands.co.uk or call 01268 290229
3 Mountfitchet Castle
Travel back in time to medieval England in 1066 as you wander through Mountfitchet Castle and its Norman village, at this world famous and unique living heritage site.
Adjacent to the historic castle is The House on the Hill Toy Museum, where you can come face-to-face with Daleks, see a life-sized Jar Jar Binks and have a close encounter with prehistoric dinosaurs. Everything is included in the admission price of £8.50 for adults, £6.50 for children and £8 for seniors. Open daily from 10am to 5pm until November
Visit www.mountfitchetcastle.com or call 01279 813237
4 Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary, Ingatestone
Remus Horse Sanctuary was formed in 1983. Remus has now rehabilitated and homed hundreds of equines and large farm animals. It is still home to 60 horses, ponies, donkeys and a mixture of 100 sheep, goats, cows, pigs and cats. Open days take place on the first Sunday of each month from May to October.
Visit www.remussanctuary.org or call 01277 356191
5 Mersea Island Vineyard & Brewery
A working vineyard and brewery set in a peaceful, rural location, Mersea Island Vineyard & Brewery offers views over the vineyard to the river estuaries of the Colne and Blackwater.
Over the Easter weekend, the annual beer festival, has more than 20 different real ales available to try from Essex breweries, together with the vineyard's own range of wines. The festival is open from 11am on each of the four days with live bands, Morris dancing, a disco and a hog roast adding to the entertainment. Admission is free.
Visit www.merseawine.com or call 01206 385900
6 Hylands House, Chelmsford
Hylands House is a beautiful Grade II listed building, set in 574 acres of parkland. Hylands House is open to the public on Sundays and Mondays throughout the year. Admission costs £3.40 for an adult, £2.40 for a concession and accompanied under 16s are free of charge.
This month you can also enjoy an evening of opera in the beautiful rooms of Hylands House on Saturday, April 5, from 7.30pm. Advance tickets cost £7 for adults and £6 for concessions.
Visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/hylands or call 01245 605500
7 A Taste of Essex
Re-discover the taste of local fresh food and give your taste buds a treat at a farmers' market near you this spring.
At a farmers' market the stall holders aren't just traders - they are experts who will happily talk to you about where your purchase came from, how it was produced and how to make the most of it.
To find a farmers' market near you visit www.essexfarmersmarkets.co.uk or call 01277 362414
8 Coalhouse Fort, Tilbury
Coalhouse Fort in East Tilbury is an excellent example of a Victorian casemated coastal defence fortress. It was built between 1861 and 1874 to defend London. On Easter Sunday and Monday, the fort will be open for an Easter Egg Hunt. To enter the Easter Egg Hunt costs £1 and each entry wins a small prize. The fort is open from 11am to 5pm (last admission at 4pm). Admission is 50p for five to 16 year olds (under 16s have to be accompanied by an adult), £3 for adults and £2 for concessions.
Visit www.coalhousefort.co.uk or call 07763 776913
9 Lee Valley Regional Park
Lee Valley Regional Park covers a massive 10,000 acres and stretches through London, Essex and Hertfordshire. Whether your interest is fishing, birdwatching, walking, cycling, camping, horseriding or playing golf, the park is a great day out.
Look out for Easter events from March 21 to 24, 10am to 5pm, with the Easter Eggstravaganza at Lee Valley Park Farms at Waltham Abbey. Also, March 24 to April 13, 10am to 5pm, there is Spring Term Holiday Fun.
Visit www.leevalleypark.org.uk for details or call 01992 892 781
10 Audley End House & Gardens
No visit to Essex is complete without a trip to Audley House & Gardens near Saffron Walden. This spring a new Service Wing will open to show what life behind the scenes was like for servants at Audley End during Victorian times. There will also be scheduled activity days when visitors will be able to see and hear from costumed characters. Events begin from May 2008.
Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk or call 01799 522399