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Free half term activities to rediscover your love for Essex

Half term holidays are the perfect opportunity to explore and appreciate the natural beauty and history of the area we live in. From scenic walks to outdoor adventures, there are plenty of free activities that can help us rediscover our love for the surroundings we call home.  

Here are our top picks for free half term activities that will allow you and your family to reconnect with nature and enjoy the local area to its fullest. 

Beaches and piers 

Essex has the second longest coastline of any county in England, so there are many great beaches to explore. It may be cold, but you can still have fun walking along the seafront and pier or kicking a ball around on the beach at Southend-on-Sea. Just don’t forget your woolly hats! 

If you’re looking for somewhere quieter, consider a walk along Frinton's promenade followed by a winter picnic at Greenswardflasks of soup and hot chocolate work well this time of year. You could even take on the two-mile walk (or scoot) from Frinton to Walton-on-the-Naze to see the colourful beach huts 

Or you could visit Dovercourt Bay, home to two unique lighthouses. If you go along the sea wall to Hemford Water National Nature Reserve you can find the Witch’s House and maybe see the resident seals. 

Parks and playgrounds 

There’s plenty of green space in Essex waiting to be enjoyed and explored.  

You could take bikes to Hadleigh Country Park, previously the site of the 2012 Olympic Games mountain biking competitions. Now adapted for general use, you can also enjoy the views across the Thames estuary and of Hadleigh Castle. 

See if the kids can find the old ice house at Danbury Country Park. These were used before people had fridges.Check out the bird hide, search for creepy crawlies, and spot wildlife around Hanningfield Nature Reserve. There’s also Parndon Woods Nature Reserve in Harlow where you’ll find a designated area for den building. 

Or there’s the playground at Great Notley Country Park with equipment for all ages to enjoy and areas to fly kites. 

If you’re heading out in the car, why not try one of these playgrounds that have free parking. 

Discover history 

Get insight into what life was like in Colchester over the last 300 years at Hollytrees Museum. There’s a range of interesting collections including toys, costumes, and clocks. 

Run up and down old blast mounds on the explosives trail at Wat Tyler Country Park. 

Take on the challenge of the four mazes in Saffron Walden. The the turf maze is the largest of its type and one of the eight surviving turf labyrinths in the world. 

Or if you’re short on time, you could take a quick trip around the Tiptree Jam Museum where you can find out more about the history of jam making. 


Dining out

Save some money this half-term by making the most of kids eat free deals. Check out where you can enjoy these offers here

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