Fascinating facts about Essex

  • Essex has the longest coastline in the UK (350 miles)
  • Except for Devon, Essex has the most footpaths
  • Stansted receives more European flights than any other airport in the country
  • Manningtree is Britain’s smallest town
  • Essex has 75 sites of special scientific interest
  • Essex is the second most populous county in England with 1.36 million people
  • Many famous people currently or previously have lived in Essex they include, Helen Mirram, Dick Turpin, Jamie Oliver, Rod Stewart, Footballers including Teddy Sherringham, Tony Adams and Frank Lampard, Dermot O’Leary, Denise Van Outen, Queen Boudica
  • Southend has the worlds longest pleasure pier
  • The National Motor Boat Museum, Pitsea  is the world’s only museum devoted entirely to the history of motor boats
  • Layer Marney is Britain’s tallest tudor gatehouse and was built during the reign on Henry VIII.

Historical facts about Essex

  • Colchester is the oldest recorded town and was the capital of England before London. Some of the roman remain are amongst the oldest and most impressive.
  • Greensted Church is Britain’s oldest wooden church dating from the 11th century AD (it is said it’s the oldest wooden church in the world)
  • Marconi made Chelmsford famous for being  the birth place of radio.
  • Waltham Abbey has the most beautiful example of Norman church architecture in the county. Ironically it is also the burial place of King Harold who’s claim to the English throne ended at the Battle of Hastings.
  • In January 1905 it was so cold the Thames froze over at Southend-on Sea

Places to go in Essex

Audley End Stately Home
audley-endKing Henry VIII gave Walden Abbey to Sir Thomas Audley, who transformed it into his mansion, Audley End. Despite ups and downs in its fortunes, Audley End remains one of England’s grandest country homes with over 30 lavishly decorated rooms to enjoy and explore. The sumptuous interior is largely due to the third Baron Braybrooke who inherited Audley End in 1825, filling it with treasures including paintings by Masters such as Holbein and Canaletto. A rare set of English tapestries by Soho weaver Paul Saunders is now displayed after 30 years in store. Wander round the beautiful 19th-century parterre with its magnificent floral displays and imagine yourself back in Victorian times as you take a turn around the organic walled Kitchen Garden growing original fruit and vegetable varieties.

Saffron Walden, CB11 4JF

Barleylands, Billericay
barleylandsThere is something for everyone at this unique attraction. Children will love meeting the friendly farm animals and stroking the cute and cuddlies in the Bunny Barn.

There are plenty of amusements as well, with a great indoor sandpit, bouncy castles and trampolines, as well as the mini-tractors to ride around the farm.
They can let off steam in the adventure playground and if they’re feeling really energetic they can ride around the Dinocier track or be daring on our new zip wire slide!

Barleylands Farm, Barleylands Road, Billericay, Essex. CM11 2UD

Colchester Castle
colchester-castleA visit to Colchester Castle Museum takes you through 2000 years of some of the most important events in British history. Once capital of Roman Britain, Colchester has experienced devastation by Boudica (Boadicea), invasion by the Normans and siege during the English Civil War. Since the 16th century, the Castle has been a ruin, a library and a gaol for witches. Today it is an award-winning museum featuring many hands-on displays to help explain the towns-people’s experience of Colchester’s varying fortunes. The Castle itself is the largest keep ever built by the Normans. It was constructed on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius, which can still be seen today.

Colchester Castle Museum, Castle Park, High Street, Colchester

Colchester Zoo
colchester-zooOne of the finest Zoos in Europe with over 270 species in 60 acres of parkland. Many species are endangered and part of international breeding programmes. Interactive daily displays get you closer to the animals including the chance to feed the elephants and giraffes yourself!  Explore ´Playa Patagonia´ with its 24 metre tunnel under the water to view sea lions swimming above your head and ´Dragons of Komodo´. At the ´Spirit of Africa´ see the breeding group of African elephants and at ´Kingdom of the Wild´ there´s Zebras, Ostriches, White Rhinos, and Giraffes in a huge savannah style enclosure.  Just like being on safari!

Maldon Road, Stanway, CO3 0SL

Cressing Temple, Braintree
cressing-templeCressing Temple is a scheduled ancient monument in Essex, UK. The site has its origins in the 12th century, when it was the first grant land of land given to the Knights Templar in England. It is home to the two finest Templar barns in Europe.The site is made up of a group of remarkable farm buildings, the barns, a Templar well and a Tudor walled garden.

Cressing Temple, Witham Road, Braintree, CM77 8PD

The Epping Ongar Railway
Travel through 6 miles of Essex countryside.

High Street, Ongar, CM5 9BN

Essex Seaside
Essex has one of the longest coastlines of any county in England. Indeed Essex boasts a real maritime flavour. The resorts of Southend-on-Sea, Clacton-on-Sea, and the quieter resorts of Walton-on-the-Naze and Frinton-on-Sea offer all the traditional fun of the Seaside and more.


RHS Hyde Hall
rhs2A delightful hilltop garden set in a 360-acre estate – unforgettable in any season and allows visitors to immerse themselves in nature.  The developed area of the garden, in excess of 24 acres, demonstrates an eclectic range of inspirational horticultural styles, from the formality of clipped hedges on the Hilltop to the naturalistic planting on Clover Hill. The wilder peripheries of the estate comprise sapling woodland, meadows, and bee hives, which enhances biodiversity. There is also a comprehensive range of events and educational programmes throughout the year.

RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Rettendon, Chelmsford, CM3 8ET
See the Fun Kids review on RHS Hyde Hall

Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker
kelvedonThe biggest and deepest cold war bunker open to the public in southeast England. Witness the three lives of the bunker starting with its role as an RAF Rotor station, then as a civil defence centre through to its most recent life as a Regional Government HQ. The bunker can hold up to 600 military and civilian personnel with the aim of organising the survival of the population in the awful aftermath of a nuclear war.

Kelvedon Hall Lane, Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood, CM14 5TL

Lee Valley Park, Waltham Abbey
Waltham Abbey and the surrounding area provides a unique blend of heritage and countryside attractions to entertain the whole family, many of which are free. There’s the Abbey Gardens and Church, Cornmill Meadows Dragonfly Sanctury and Tree Park to explore. The historic market town also boasts a museum, shops and an excellent range of restaurants, cafes and pubs.  Nearby there is the River Lee Country Park, farms and swimming pool, all you need for a great day out any time of the year.


Old Macdonald’s Farm, Brentwood
An award winning attraction is great for kids.  Old MacDonald’s open farm is a fun day out in the Essex countryside near East London. Learn about farm animals, explore the indoor soft play area and discover the many children’s outdoor activities and amusements.  As an animal petting farm the children get a hands on learning experience, there is plenty to see touch and do:

  • Lambing – Late February to April
  • Easter Egg Hunt – 10th to 13th April
  • Sheep and Alpacas Shearing – May
  • Old Mac’s Treasure Trail – 18th and 19th July
  • Pet our Animals Weekends – August
  • Halloween Fun and Frolics – 26th to 31st October
  • Santa’s Christmas Grotto – 12th to 23rd December

Weald Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5AY

Sea Life Centre, Southend
Sea-Life Adventure is the south east’s premier aquatic attraction with over 40 unique displays featuring sea life from all over the world.  Along with the Adventure Towers Play Centre and Waves Cafe, it’s a great visit for the whole family any time of year.

Marine Parade, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS1 2ER

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