13 Jul Schools out for summer! Treat kids to the best day out in Essex
The school summer holidays are almost upon us! With many families unable to travel overseas, daytrips are booming. Tourism body, Visit Essex, has put together the top ten things to see and do in the county this summer.
Adventure Island, Southend-on-Sea
Have great adventures close to home with Southend’s premier family run theme park – Adventure Island. This popular theme park has been operating for over 40-years and is a must for thrill-seeking schoolkids across the county. Situated on Southend seafront, this popular attraction is a focal point for the town. Enjoy the roller-coaster, mini-golf, ride the ‘Flying Jumbos’ or go for a twirl on the Helter Skelter – and with indoor arcades it’s the perfect day out for all ages, whatever the weather throws at you, www.adventureisland.co.uk.
Uncover fossilised sharks’ teeth, wood and shells at some of Essex’s popular beaches in the north of the county. Walton-on-the-Naze is the perfect spot for fossil hunting, especially after a high tide, explore the ancient cliffs and be amazed at what you can find. Also, don’t forget to pop-up to the Naze Nature Discovery Centre, run by Essex Wildlife Trust and view their collection of finds and interesting info on history and geology, www.essexwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/naze.
Essex Outdoors isn’t just for school residentials and summer camps, it also offers a wide range of fun activities for all the family. Make the most of the great outdoors and join your kids in either Bradwell or Harlow for a day of adventure. Try your hand at paddleboarding, kayaking or climbing at Harlow, or head over to Bradwell to learn the ropes and climb aboard a sailing boat for the day. Participants must be aged eight or over and under 16s must always be supervised by a responsible adult, www.essexoutdoors.com.
This summer take in a fun art trail and explore somewhere new. Why not explore Tendring and celebrate 150 years of Clacton-on-Sea with Octopus Ahoy! Wander around Harwich’s historic streets, visit the seafronts at Clacton and Walton-on-Sea and meander over to Manningtree and tick off beautifully designed Octopus sculptures, www.octopus.ahoy.co.uk. Or ‘hare about town’ in Southend-on-sea and view their huge hare sculptures, each one individually designed by an artist. The hares will be ‘hopping’ up throughout the town, where will the trail take you? www.haresabouttown.co.uk
White water rafting
Adrenalin junkies will love white water rafting at Lee Valley White Water Centre. The centre played host to the canoe slalom events at London 2012 and is a must for those with a love of extreme sports. Family rafting is available for those aged over eight years and will definitely prove to be a day to remember! www.visitleevalley.org.uk/whitewater
Get the kids off their tablets and get them running around and having fun in one of Essex’s country parks. From exploring Epping Forest and the Stick Man play trail at Weald Country Park to viewing the lakes at Danbury or Hanningfield Waterside Park, there’s something for everyone so go outdoors and get active this summer, www.visitessex.com.
Animal lovers go wild at Colchester Zoo! The zoo is home to over 220 species set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes. During your visit you will see species from around the world and learn more about them! As you navigate your way around Colchester Zoo you’ll visit many different habitats; from the humid home of the Komodo Dragons to the zoo’s very own Africa plain, Kingdom of the Wild, home to white rhino, giraffes, ostrich, zebra and kudu, www.colchesterzoo.org.
Stand-up paddle boarding is the craze that’s taken the country by storm. Make sure your kids are fully trained in the art of SUP and book them onto a training centre at one of the many paddle courses across the county. Kayaking is still very popular and ideal for those worried about balance. Both sports offer the perfect way to experience the county’s 350-mile coastline from a fresh perspective. Training and short courses on SUPs/kayaks is available at Clacton Kayaks in Dovercourt Bay, www.clactonkayaks.co.uk, or Frangipani that offers courses from Boreham Lakes, and Home Water Lake near Maldon www.frangipanisup.com.
Big Wheel Clacton
Take a bird’s eye view of Clacton-on-Sea onboard the town’s latest attraction, a new big wheel, which dominates the skyline to mark Clacton’s 150th anniversary! Step onboard the 33-metre-high wheel, equipped with 24 gondolas which can seat 144 people and discover how far you can see. A spin on Clacton’s big wheel is a must in its anniversary year.
Too often there’s too much to see and do in Essex in just one day, so why not treat the kids to a glamping expedition. Head out under the stars, light up the barbecue and the firepit and toast some marshmallows. Make memories in Essex that last a lifetime.