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

Nature & Wildlife

Colchester Zoo


One of England's finest zoos with over 250 species of animal from elephants to reptiles, sea lions, seals, penguins, orangutans and chimps, all located in 60 acres of gardens and landscaped parkland. The zoo has won many awards and is an ideal attraction for a family day out.

Opening times: all year, daily from 9.30 (closed Xmas). Admission Charge
Location: Maldon Road, Colchester, Essex CO3 0SL
Tel: 01206 331292 Website
Facilities: parking, restaurant, café, shop, disabled facilities.

RSPB South Essex Marshes Visitor Centre

RSPB South Essex Marshes Visitor Centre

Visitor centre and wildlife discovery area located within the Wat Tyler Country Park, near Pitsea, Essex.

A great family attraction, especially if you are interested in wildlife and year-round bird watching. Nature trails, viewing points, wildlife garden and live CCTV nature cameras. Great for youngsters to enjoy, with guided walks and regular children's activities.


Opening times: 10am to 4pm winter, 10am to 5pm summer. Free Entry - charge for activities
Location: Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Basildon, SS16 4UH - Tel: 01268 498620 Website
Facilities: Parking, disabled toilets, picnic area, binocular hire, pushchair and wheelchair friendly, refreshments, educational facilities.

RSPB Rainham Marshes

RSPB Rainham Marshes Visitor Centre

Located on the banks of the Thames, this ancient medieval marsh landscape was once used as military firing range. Acquired by the RSPB in 2000, it is now one of the best places to experience wildlife in Britain. The center-piece of the site is an award winning visitor centre, with large picture-windows overlooking the marshes. Visitors can follow one of the many boardwalks and pathways across the site to get up closer to nature. In spring and summer the site is a mecca for breeding wading birds, and large flocks of wild ducks visit the site in winter. Facilities include a wildlife garden and children's adventure play area. An ideal day out for families, walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and school groups.

Opening times: Nov~Mar 9.30am to 4.30 pm, Apr~Oct 9.30am to 5pm (closed Xmas)
Admission Charge (free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock)
Location: RSPB Rainham Marshes nature reserve, new Tank Hill Road, Essex, RM19 1SZ
Tel: 01708 899840 Website
Facilities: parking, refreshments, shop, disabled facilities, play areas, events, group bookings welcome

RSPB West Canvey Marsh

Family enjoying nature

Nature reserve that forms part of the South Essex Marshes. A perfect place to venture out into the wilderness and observe wildlife in its natural habitat. Superb area for walking with nature trails and viewing points. Lots of activities for children during the school holidays, including pond dipping and mini-beast hunting. All-year-round children's play area provided. Designated areas for dog walking. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.

Opening times: car park open from 9am to 5pm Free Entry (donations welcome)
Location: SS8 0PT (near Canvey Island) - Tel: 01268 498620 Website
Facilities: Parking, children's play area, picnic area, pushchair and wheelchair friendly.

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