1. Pick your own fruit
There’s something so satisfying about eating fruit that you’ve picked yourself and Essex has a wealth of PYO farms around the county. Head to Lathcoats in Great Baddow between July and August for gooseberries, strawberries, cherries, plums and many other fruits.
2. Eat a Rossi ice cream
Southend-on-Sea is the original home of the famous Rossi’s ice cream, considered by many to be the best ice cream in the world. Founded in 1932, the parlour has been supplying the seafront with ice cream for 85 years and also provides the ice cream for many local restaurants.
3. See a real-life masterpiece
Flatford Mill in East Bergholt, just on the border with Suffolk, was immortalised in one of artist John Constable’s most recognisable paintings and is now a National Trust property with an exhibition centre, open to visitors looking for a relaxing and educational day out.
4. Afternoon tea
Afternoon tea is one of the country’s most popular pastimes, and there’s no better place to have it than at Colchester’s Wivenhoe House. This four-star luxury hotel is set in the rolling Essex countryside and provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing afternoon of tea and finger sandwiches.
5. Go on a boat trip
There are many boat trips around the county to choose from, including a seal-spotting trip from Wallasea Island. Essex has a great history of seafaring (it’s rumoured that Charles Darwin’s ship The Beagle moored at Paglesham after its final journey) and seeing the coast and rivers from a boat is a great way to get an alternative view.
6. Take a train to the end of the Pier
Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world and you can choose to either take a stroll to the end, or catch the train. There’s a bar which is open daily during the summer, as well as the RNLI museum, but we love it simply for the view back towards the shore.
7. Go to a market
Essex is absolutely packed with amazing markets, from the antiques at Battlesbridge to the fashion at Romford. Spending the day at an Essex market is a lot of fun and could help you to pick up a bargain or a hidden gem.
8. Enjoy the best seafood in the world
Be it the Cockle Shed in Leigh-on-Sea, the oysters at West Mersea or the smoked rainbow trout from Hanningfield Reservoir, Essex is home to some of the best seafood in the whole world. Seafood lovers are truly spoilt for choice around our county.
9. Find a Gruffalo!
The Gruffalo Trail in Thorndon Country Park has become a huge favourite with local families, combining a walk in the woods with a mission to spot one of Julia Donaldson’s best loved characters. Take a picnic and make a day of it!
10. Become a zoo keeper for a day
Colchester Zoo is one of the best zoos in the UK, but if you want to take your visit to the next level, book a “Keeper for the Day” experience, which will allow over-14s to get up close and personal with elephants, orangutans or even the lions!
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