Best Family Friendly Places In Essex

Essex is a beautiful county. Although I’ve recently moved out of Essex to Suffolk I have spent most of my life living in or around Essex. The county doesn’t get enough credit and a certain TV show doesn’t help this! 

Essex is a very cultural county. Did you know that the town Colchester in Essex is the oldest recorded town in England? I grew up visiting Colchester and it’s castle, and there is so much to learn. As well as culture, there are so many fun places to visit in Essex including zoo’s, theme parks, farm’s and parks. I grew up visiting these attractions and I loved them, I still do! 

Last year I wrote a post called ‘Top places to visit in Essex’ but today I wanted to share with you the best family friendly places to visit in Essex. Some of them are the same but they’re just that great!


Barleylands has so much going on; a farm park, shops and cafe’s. It’s mainly focused towards younger children but it is very fun for all ages. Last year my husband took part in a Falconry experience there and we had such a nice day. There’s things to do indoors and outdoors so there’s plenty to see whatever the weather. The farm park for me is the main attraction.

Maldon Promenade

This promenade has evolved so much over the many years I lived in Essex. Maldon Promenade is a beautiful and peaceful place to take your children for a nice walk, an ice cream and a play in the water park. I’ve spent so many summers here and it brings back so many memories when I go back. The promenade is perfect for all ages and if you want to take a wander into Maldon town centre it’s only a 5 minute walk away.

Colchester Zoo

Ahh one of my favourite places to go in Essex, which I also mentioned in my top places in Essex post. I have lost count with how many times I’ve visited this zoo, I went just last week with Oliver! This zoo is huge and there is definitely enough to do for a whole day including a train ride, walk throughs with the animals and tons of play parks for the younger kids. Again, this zoo is perfect for all ages, you wont get bored!

Adventure Island

The theme park of the county. It’s not huge like Alton Towers or Thorpe Park but it’s a nice sea front theme park with lots to do. It’s based on the sea front of Southend and It’s mainly focused towards older children but there is still a lot to do for the younger ones. If you fancy taking a break from the rides the beach is literally right next door – the theme park is basically on the beach! You also have the arcades a couple of minutes away if you fancy playing some games. I love going to this theme park as it brings back so many memories spending time with my family there.

Tropical Wings

I haven’t visited Tropical Wings as much as I would like to have done, but it’s a very fun day out. There are lots of animals, free flying bird and butterfly rooms and there is even a tropical house where you can experience a tropical feel even on the coldest of days! There’s also a soft play and outside activities area so there is something for the whole family.

Hylands Park

The perfect park for a picnic. This park is huge – even I don’t think I’ve explored every part of it! You’ll never be stuck finding a place to sit down for a picnic. This park is home to Hylands House, a grade II listed neo-classical villa, and also has a cute little cafe right in the centre of the park. If you don’t want to venture too far there is also a cafe and a play park near the entrance. I’ve spent so many summers here with my family and friends and it holds a special place in my heart, as this is where my now-husband and I used to go for long walks together.

The Beaches

There is a lot of coast line in Essex so there are plenty of beaches to visit. My favourites are Walton-on-the-naze and Frinton-on-sea. As I mentioned before Southend, home of Adventure Island, is also on the sea front and is perfect if you want an exciting time at the beach. If you’re wanting a calmer but still fun day, Walton and Frinton are the ones for you. Another popular beach is Clacton-on-sea, but this is one I’ve surprisingly not visited very often.

Marsh Farm

Home to the cutest of animals! There are tons of animals to see and cuddle. You can walk through an aviary, watch their shows and play in the indoor and outdoor playing areas. There is a lot to do for the family. Again, I’ve not visited Marsh Farm as much as I’d want to, so I’m looking forward to taking Oliver here soon.

So there is a lot to do in Essex for the whole family – there’s at least a weeks worth of places to visit that I’ve mentioned. I’m only just over the border to Essex so I’m still going to frequently visit all these places with my son. Have you visited any of these attractions or have you got any different favourite places to go?

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  1. 19/07/2017 / 9:34 pm

    I love Colchester Zoo! I go all the time, it's such a great day out. I love the beaches you mentioned too, I live in Clacton so I go to the beach there a lot! They're improved it recently. Plus, it's right by the pier which is great.

    Leah x

  2. 19/07/2017 / 10:06 pm

    You can't beat Colchester zoo! :') I'll have to take a trip to Clacton soon, I haven't been in a while so a lot has probably changed! xx

  3. 29/07/2017 / 6:15 pm

    I'm from Essex so I can totally agree with these! Colchester zoo is great especially with children! I also really love adventure island too x

    Kayleigh Zara ?

  4. 29/07/2017 / 6:16 pm

    Essex is so close to my home on the Norfolk/Suffolk border that it's actually terrible that I haven't visited all that often! I last went to Colchester Zoo when I was about 12 and I loved it, I'm sure I'd enjoy it just as much now! I will have to visit Walton this summer!

    Abbey ?

  5. 29/07/2017 / 6:16 pm

    I've never visited Essex but when I do I'll make sure to try some of these! Especially the zoo seems very fun ^_^

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