Essex Attractions

Places to Visit and Days out in Essex

Attractions, Museums & Days Out: Colne Valley Railway | Lee Valley Park | Mayhem Paintball | Royal Gunpowder Mills | Saffron Walden Museum | Secret Nuclear Bunker | Southend Museum | Southend Pier Museum
Castles, Monuments & Heritage Sites: Colchester Castle | Bourne Mill | Hadleigh Castle | Harwich Fort | Hedingham Castle | Mountfitchet Castle | Tilbury Fort | Waltham Abbey
Gardens & Historic Houses: Audley End | Beth Chatto Gardens | Layer Marney Tower | Mistley Towers | Paycocke's | RHS Garden Hyde Hall
Nature & Wildlife: Colchester Zoo | RSPB Essex Marshes | RSPB Canvey Marsh | RSPB Rainham Marshes

Gardens & Historic Houses

Audley End House & Gardens

Audley End House - front view

One of the largest Jacobean houses in England, built by the Lord Treasurer, Lord Howard of Walden (Earl of Suffolk) in 1603. The house sits in a landscaped park designed by 'Capability' Brown.
Run by English Heritage.

Opening times: see website or call for details.
Admission Charge
Location: CB11 4JF - Tel: 01799 522399
Facilities: parking (charged), café, shop, disabled facilities.

Beth Chatto Gardens

Beth Chatto and her late husband began these gardens over 50 years ago, from a large area of overgrown wasteland; turning it into beautiful landscaped gardens containing many unusual plants and planting combinations.

Opening times: all year, Mar~Oct, Mon-Sat 9am to 5pm; Nov~Feb, Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm.
Admission Charge
Location: Elmstead Market, Colechester, C07 7DB - Tel: 01206 822007 Website
Facilities: parking, café, garden centre, disabled facilities.

Layer Marney Tower

This enormous gatehouse, 90 feet high, is the largest of its kind. It is the only completed part of a magnificent 16th century mansion, constructed by Henry, 1st Lord Marney.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, Sun-Thu 12 to 5pm, & BHs (Sun & Mon) 11am to 5pm. Admission Charge
Location: Layer Marney - CO5 9US - Tel: 01206 330784 Website
Facilities: parking, restaurant, café, shop, disabled facilities.

Mistley Towers

These two square towers are all that remain of a grand hall and church designed by Robert Adam.

Opening times: any reasonable time. Key available from Mistley Quay Workshops Free Entry
Location: Mistley, Essex CO11 1NJ - Tel: 01206 393884 Website


Medieval timber-framed house, circa 1505, originally a cloth merchant's home. It has many interesting carvings along the outside timbers, including the Paycocke trade sign, and elaborate panelling inside. Outside it has is a pretty cottage garden.
Run by National Trust.

Opening times: Mar~Apr: Sat & Sun 1pm to 5pm; Apr~Oct: Wed to Sun 11am to 5pm
Admission Charge
Location: West Street, Coggeshall, Essex CO6 1NS - Tel: 01376 561305 Website
Facilities: parking (400 metres).

RHS Garden Hyde Hall

dry garden at hyde hall

A beautiful and inspirational garden set on a small hill, surrounded by rolling countryside. A key feature is the Dry Garden, which contains drought resistant plants designed to thrive in the modest Essex rainfall. There is also a modern rose garden and many colour themed herbaceous borders, plus a farmhouse garden and a small lake.

Opening times: all year (except Xmas) from 10am to 6pm (summer) or 4pm (winter). Admission Charge
Location: Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8ET - Tel: 01245 400256 Website
Facilities: parking, restaurant, café, shop, garden centre, disabled facilities.

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