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

Attractions, Museums & Days Out

Colne Valley Railway & Museum

steam train

An award winning heritage steam railway that runs over a mile of countryside track, with restored period station buildings, signal boxes and bridges, in the style of a typical Victorian branch line. Open daily for viewing even when trains are not running.

Opening times: daily from 10.30, see website for train times Admission Charge
Location: Colne Valley Railway, Castle Hedingham Station CO9 3DZ - Tel: 01787 461174 Website
Facilities: parking, restaurant, café, shop, disabled facilities.

Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker

underground concrete bunker

Built in 1952 for tactical nuclear defence by the Air Ministry and later used as a Regional Government HQ. The bunker was de commissioned in 1992 following the demise of the Cold War and is now privately owned and open to the public. Today the site contains a unique underground museum that reveals the secrets of the bunker including its role in Britain's defence against nuclear attack.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, weekdays 10am to 4pm, weekends 10am to 5pm; Nov~Feb, Thu-Sun 10am to 4pm. Admission Charge
Location: Brentwood, CM14 5TL - Tel: 01277 364883 Website
Facilities: parking, restaurant, café, shop, disabled facilities.


Lee Valley Park Farms

A traditional working dairy and arable farm set in the heart of Lee Valley Country Park. The farm has many rare breeds, including a pet centre with meerkats and chipmunks.

Opening times: all year, Mon-Fri 10am to 4.30pm, weekends & BHs 10am to 5.30pm.
Admission Charges
Location: Stubbins Hall Lane, Crooked Mile, EN9 2EG (near Waltham Abbey) - Tel: 01992 892781 & 702200 Website
Facilities: parking, café, shop, disabled facilities.

Mayhem Paintball

Paintball players in action

Mayhem Paintball is a fantastic open area facility that caters for both adults and juniors. Established in 1987, they cover everything from corporate team building to birthday parties. For gaming enthusiasts, they even have Call of Duty replica maps, as well as many other themed zones. If you’re looking for adrenaline-filled fun in the Essex and London area, Mayhem Paintball is the perfect group day out.

Opening times: Flexible. Call any day between 9am and 5pm to book a session - see website for details
Location: Patch Park Farm, Abridge, Romford, Essex RM4 1AA - Tel: 01708 688517 / 0207 6005030
Facilities: Laser games for young children. 16 Paintballing areas, including, Tanks, Planes & Buses‎.

Royal Gunpowder Mills

An amazing and unusual attraction, set in 175 acres of parkland; once used as a scientific research centre for the development of rockets, ejector seats and fuel for rocket motors. The site closed in 1991 and certain areas are now open to the public.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, Weekends and BHs 11am to 5pm. Admission Charge
Location: Beaulieu Drive, Waltham Abbey, Essex - EN9 1JY - Tel: 01992 707370 Website
Facilities: parking, café, shop, disabled facilities.


Saffron Walden Museum

Saffron Walden Museum

Independent small local museum located next to Saffron Walden's crumbling castle ruins. Exhibits include local archaeology, natural history, ceramics, glass, costumes, furniture and toys. Also includes an ancient Egyptology display. Regular programme of special exhibitions and activities throughout the season.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun & BHs 2pm to 5pm; Nov~Feb, Mon-Sat, 10am to 4.30pm, Sun & BHs 2pm to 4.30pm (Closed Xmas). Small Admission Charge
Location: Museum Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 lJL - Tel: 01799 510333 Website
Facilities: parking, shop, disabled facilities.

Southend Museum, Planetarium & Discovery Centre

Located in a fine Edwardian building the Southend Museum houses displays of archaeology, natural history and local history, explaining the history of mankind's development in the south-east area of England. Also contains the only planetarium in East Anglia.

Opening times: Museum: Tue-Sat 10am to 5pm; Planetarium: Wed-Sat (shows at various times)
Free Entry to museum - Admission Charge to Planetarium
Location: Victoria Avenue, Southend, Essex SS2 6ES - Tel: 01702 434449 Website
Facilities: parking nearby, shop, disabled facilities.

Southend Pier Museum

One of England's longest piers at one and a third miles long (circa 1830). The living museum portrays the history of the pier and its railway. Exhibits include ex-pier rolling stock, a reconstructed signal box and antique slot machines.

Opening times: May~Oct. Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun & BHs 11am to 5pm. Small Admission Charge
Location: Western Esplanade, Southend, Essex SS1 2EL - Tel: 01702 611214 & 614553 Website
Facilities: parking nearby, shop.


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