Family Days Out

PUBLISHED: 13:54 01 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:42 20 February 2013

Some fresh ideas for a fun day out that the whole family can enjoy!

Sea Life Adventure
There are more than 40 fantastic and fascinating displays at the Sea Life Adventure centre in Southend, showcasing some of the most marvellous sea creatures from around the world, making this the south easts premier aquatic attraction.
Where Southend seafront
Sat Nav SS1 2ER
Opening times Open from 10am to between 5pm and 8pm daily, depending on the season
Contact 01702 442211

Tiptree Jam
Explore the building where the world-renowned jam was originally prepared and taste the many mouth-watering varieties of jam with a trip to the visitor centre at the Tiptree jam factory. There is also a traditional cafe to enjoy afternoon tea.
Where Tiptree
Sat Nav CO5 ORF
Opening times Summer opening is from 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 5pm on Sunday
Contact 01621 814524

Colchester Castle
Once a ruined town, having been invaded by Romans, Colchesters fascinating history, from the Stone Age to the Civil War, is retold in this award-winning museum. This fascinating castle takes you back in time as you explore monumental moments in British history.
Where Castle Park, Colchester
Sat Nav CO1 1YG
Opening times Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Sunday, 11am to 5pm
Contact 01206 282939

Colchester Zoo
Among the finest zoos in Europe, Colchester Zoo offers a fantastic family outing with more than 260 species to see and 50 animal displays to enjoy. Spread across quaint lakes and charming parkland, this zoo will truly transport you to some of the most breath-taking corners of the world.
Where Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester
Sat Nav CO3 0SL
Opening times Open 9.30am to 6.30pm during school holidays
Contact 01206 331292

Snape Maltings
Snape Maltings offers a complete day out. As well as an opportunity to shop in the range of traditional kitchenware and homeware shops, browse the gallery or stroll along a selection of riverside walks, you can or refresh yourself in the onsite pub or tearoom. There are also many festivals and events to look out for, including the world famous Aldeburgh Festival of Music.
Where Saxmundham, Suffolk
Sat Nav IP17 1SR
Opening times From 10am to 5.30pm in the Summer
Contact 01728 688 303

Barleylands Craft Village and Farm Centre
Visitors can play, eat, shop and learn at the Barleylands Craft Village and Farm Centre. A recently refurbished adventure play centre is a must for the children, while adults can browse in the many craft shops, enjoy a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants or picnic in the scenic parkland.
Where Barleylands Road, Billericay
Sat Nav CM11 2UD
Opening times Open daily between 10am and 5pm from March until October
Contact 01268 532253

RHS Hyde Hall
Set within charming Essex countryside, RHS Hyde Hall is a 360-acre estate which, despite poor soil and low rainfall, has been transformed into a stunning garden offering peace and tranquillity. With library facilities and regular events held onsite, this relaxing attraction will offer inspiration to all.
Where Rettendon, near Chelmsford
Sat Nav CM3 8AT
Opening times Open 10am to 6pm, March to October
Contact 01245 400256

Audley End House & Garden
One of the finest stately homes in England, Audley End House was originally built to entertain royalty. This summer, families can visit the horses and Victorian groom in the restored and updated stables or try on some period costumes in the latest educational exhibitions. A series of Time Travellers events offer an added element to this great day out, with the chance to learn more about World War II, horsemanship through history and an ugly bug safari among other things
Where Saffron Walden
Sat Nav CB11 4JF
Opening times The gardens are open from 10am to 6pm. Opening times for the house vary
Contact 01799 522842

Adventure Island
Home to more than 34 rides and more than 50 attractions, Adventure Island is one of the highlights of the Southend seafront. With a wide range of attractions to suit the whole family, this family fun park is a must for visitors to Southend.
Where Southend seafront
Sat Nav SS1 1EE
Opening times The park opens from 11am and closes between 8pm and 10pm during the summer months
Contact 01702 443400

Redwings Horse Sanctuary
As the largest horse sanctuary in the UK, Redwings cares for more than 1,100 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. Visitors can witness the work of the horse sanctuary at first hand by taking part in a tour or watch a horse care demonstration.
Where Off the B181 in Broadley Common
Sat Nav EN9 2DH
Opening times Open daily from 10am to 5pm
Contact 01508 481000

Valentines Mansion & Gardens
Discover 300 years of history at Valentines Mansion & Gardens in Ilford as you step back in time and explore the Victorian Kitchen and Georgian rooms. Visitors can delve into the history of the mansion in the interactive Family Room or explore the breath-taking historic gardens.
Where Emerson Road, Ilford
Sat Nav IG1 4XA
Opening times Valentines Mansion is open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10am and 5pm and Sundays between 11am and 4pm
Contact 020 8708 8100

Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum
Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum near Coggeshall provides a great day out for the whole family. The historic country estate is surrounded by parkland, an arboretum, lakes and cascades, woodland walks, amazing plants from around the world and a stunning 18th century walled garden.
Where Marks Hall, Coggeshall
Sat Nav CO6 1TG
Opening times April to October, 10.30am to 5pm, every day except Monday
Contact 01376 563796

Charlie6, with its contemporary approach to lifestyle retail, has been expanding on the ground floor of the popular Dedham Art & Craft Centre since 2009. With a vast array of unusual products on offer, there is always something new and exciting to find.
Where High Street, Dedham
Sat Nav CO7 6AD
Opening times Every day from 10am to 5pm
Contact 01206 322666

Jimmys Farm
Home to the rare breed Essex Pig, Jimmys Farm is a working farm open to visitors seven days a week. The creation of Essex boy Jimmy Doherty and made famous by the Jimmys Farm TV series, the attraction includes a nature trail, woodland walk, landscaped gardens, a farm shop, an adventure play area and a field kitchen.
Where Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk
Sat Nav IP9 2AR
Opening times Jimmys Farm is open seven days a week
Contact 0844 4938088

Big Cat Photography
Big Cat photography offer a series of photography course programmes to help you get more from your camera. The courses are generally aimed at wildlife enthusiasts who would like to get a better understanding about photography and on how to get better images of wildlife with courses at various locations, including Colchester Zoo.
Where Courses are run across the UK and even in South Africa

Thorpeness Golf
If your idea of a great day out is getting onto the golf course, why not make a real day of it with a trip to Thorpeness Golf Course. Visitors are welcome at Thorpeness Golf Course and golfers can book tee times, usually from 11.30am onwards. Designed by James Braid in 1922, this mature golf course winds through landscapes of silver birch, pine trees, gorse and heather, offering a tough, challenging round for all standards of player.
Where Thorpeness, Suffolk
Sat Nav IP16 4NH
Opening times Just book your tee time to suit you
Contact 01728 454 926

Parndon Mill
Parndon Mill, in its delightful riverside setting near Harlow, provides workspace for artists, craftspeople, designers and architects, within a creative environment. The Gallery on the ground floor of the mill presents a series of exhibitions of fine art and crafts while The Project Space, located in the converted stable block, accommodates a variety of arts related activities including classes and events.
Where Harlow
Sat Nav CM20 2HP
Opening times 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday, 2pm to 4pm on Sunday and Bank Holidays. Closed Saturdays and Mondays
Contact 01279 426042

Lee Valley Regional Park
This award-winning regional park provides a real family friendly atmosphere with the chance for visitors to feed and pet the farm animals and to learn more about country living. Special events are held throughout the year with activities designed for a wide range of interests and ages.
Where Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey
Sat Nav EN9 2EF
Opening times Open daily from, 10am to 5pm
Contact 08456 770 600

RSPB Marshes Rainham
As well as a perfect place for a picnic, the RSPB marshes at Rainham offer an adventure playground and a marshland discovery zone where children can learn more about the animals which inhabit the marshes.
Where The marshes are signposted from the A1306 between Rainham and Purfleet
Sat Nav RM19 1SZ
Opening times Daily 9.30am to 5pm from April until October
Contact 01708 899840

Museum of Power
Seven acres of grounds have been dedicated to exhibits and demonstrations at the Museum of Power following the history of power and its impact on the lives of humans. The museum also holds a number of events and activities throughout the year.
Where: Langford, Maldon
Sat Nav CM9 6QA
Opening times Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm, plus Bank Holidays
Contact 01621 843183

Essex Country Parks
Essex County Council runs many picturesque parks, providing you with open spaces and lovely woodland walks. Some of the best parks around the county include Belhus Woods, Danbury Country Park, Marsh Farm, Great Notley and The Flitch Way.
Where Across Essex
Opening times Access to the parks is available during daylight hours
Contact 0845 603 7624

Shows and fairs

Hainault Forest Country Summer Show

This family show with all-day entertainment includes birds of prey, working dogs, childrens entertainment, arts, crafts, gifts and food marquees. As an added feature on Monday, the show will also host the Companion Dog Show with all proceeds from entries going to Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Where: Hainault Forest Country Park, Chigwell Row
Sat Nav IG7 4QN
Opening times Sunday, August 28 and Monday, August 29, 10am to 5pm

The Essex Art & Design Show
The Essex Art & Design Show sees exhibits by more than 50 artists and designers with work including fine art, photography, ceramics, jewellery and many other contemporary crafts. This year will see two shows, one at RHS Hyde Hall on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7, and the second at Cressing Temple near Braintree on Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25.
Where RHS Hyde Hall, Rettendon, Chelmsford CM3 8ET (01245 400256) Cressing Temple, Witham Road, Cressing, Braintree CM77 8PD (01376 584903)

The European Woodworking Show
Now in its third year, The European Woodworking Show returns to Cressing Temple with a reputation as the most interesting woodworking weekend in the UK. Dozens of great demonstrators, including turners, carvers, cabinet and furniture makers, green woodworkers, boatbuilders, wheelwrights and more, will be on show as well as the chance to buy quality tools, workshop machinery, timber, crafts and finishes.
Where Cressing Temple, Witham Road, Cressing, Braintree CM77 8PD (01376 584903)
Opening times The show takes place over the weekend of October 1 and 2

Essex Food Show
Cressing Temple hosts the 2011 Essex Food Show and, once again, this event will be promoting a superb range of food, drinks and kitchen accessories with more than 130 stalls in the barns and adjoining buildings on site. There will also be a wide variety of quality caterers in the grounds, as well as the ever popular range of garden plants and furniture.
Where Cressing Temple, Witham Road, Cressing, Braintree
Sat Nav CM77 8PD
Opening times Saturday, October 8 to Sunday, October 9

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