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Visit Essex: Last minute getaways, Bank Holiday fun and more

We are now in the midst of summer and whilst the weather has not been great, there is still plenty to enjoy in Essex this month from last minute breaks to bank holiday fun and the upcoming Heritage Open Days. For further inspiration and ideas of places to visit go to


Last minute getaway

If you’re looking for a last-minute break away Essex could be your answer. Why not have a rural break at The Cricketers, Clavering steeped in a history of family, fine food and exceptional hospitality, it is in an ideal setting of rolling hills. During your stay you can visit Audley End House and GardensSaffron Grange Vineyard or join the Saffron Walden foodie tour.


For a family break close to the coast why not stay in Southend at the award-winning Camelia Hotel overlooking the sea. Families can enjoy the nearby Adventure Island theme park and  walk along the world’s longest pier. Families would also love Marsh Farm animal adventure park where they can meet farmyard favourites, enjoy shows and tractor rides.



Canoe championships

The 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships return to the iconic Lee Valley White Water Centre from 19 to 24 September 2023, hosting around 300 of the world’s top athletes from 50 countries. The Championships run for six days and culminates with the dramatic men’s and women’s kayak cross on Sunday, which will make its debut at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Tickets are available from as little as £1 for under 16s and from £6 for adults. In addition to the competition visitors will find action packed entertainment from live music and great food to trying your hand at paddleboarding, For more information and to secure your tickets, visit here.



Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair

Seeking advice, ideas, and plants for the upcoming gardening season? Make a date with the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair at Audley End House & Garden (Saffron Walden),

1-3 September. It’s a great day out for garden and plant lovers, and families alike.

  • Be inspired by the Showcase Gardens and Beautiful Borders.
  • Learn from Gardeners’ World presenters Frances Tophill (Fri), Arit Anderson (Sat), and Adam Frost (Sun), the Magazine editors and more.
  • Shop for plants, tools, accessories, and treats in the BBC Good Food Market.
  • Enjoy family activities and Audley Ends’ magnificent house and gardens

Book your ticket now!

SAVE 10%* on standard 10am/12pm tickets until 23 August with code VISIT.



Bank holiday Fun

There is so much happening over the bank holiday in Essex for the whole family.

One of Essex’s finest restaurants Alec’s are hosting a Summer Garden Party on Sunday 27 and Monday 28 August. With a touch of elegance and dash of sophistication, here’s what to expect over the weekend. Each evening will consist of a splendid 3-course meal in the restaurant, then guest will make their way outside into our beautiful garden to enjoy live performances from various artist into the evening, this is one not to be missed.

For other dining experiences over the weekend Wivenhoe House has Wivenhoe Live taking place with live music, BBQ and garden games, and, Tuffon Hall Vineyard has Jazz in the vines on Sunday 27 August.

As the school holidays near an end make the most of the bank holiday to entertain the children. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the thrill and majesty of medieval jousting at Hedingham Castle, take part in many medieval pursuits including archery, axe throwing and mechanical horse riding. Witness authentic crafts of olde including smithing, weaving, flour making and more.

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary is hosting a Family Fun Weekend which includes children’s funfair rides, soft play bus, mega inflatable slide, bungee trampolines, live performances, children’s play area plus BBQ, Beer & Pimms tent.



Clacton Air Show is back for its 30th year on 24 & 25 August with two days of thrilling flight displays for free. As well as the dynamic aerial displays there will be entertainment and activities on land. Thursday 24th will see a spectacular twilight flight lighting up the night sky. Why not watch the spectacle on water, join a vintage sailing barge with Topsail Charters at Harwich, Ha’Penny Pier, for a day sail to watch the Clacton Air Show and enjoy a hot buffet lunch.



Explore hidden historic places for Free!

England’s largest festival of culture and history, Heritage Open Days is back! For ten days from 8 -17 September, historic venues across Essex will be opening their doors to the public for free. In Colchester you can climb the iconic “Jumbo” water tower and on 9 September Colchester Castle will be free to all. In Maldon there will be a 10-day festival, designed to celebrate and enjoy the rich tapestry of history and heritage, along the Saltmarsh coastline. On Sunday 10th you can find out more about the splendid Thames Sailing barges, Hydrogen and Thistle by hopping on board; the owner will also be giving fascinating talks.

Other places in Essex that will be opening their doors include the magnificent Saffron Walden Almshouses, Captain Jones, the master of the Mayflowers’ house in Harwich, and you can have a guided tour around Rayleigh Windmill to find out what life was like for 19th century millers.
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