From seaside escapades, animal encounters and giant trampolines, keep the whole family entertained with a day out at one of Essex’s biggest attractions.
Written by Sydney Webb
95 High St, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1HS
Escape Live offers a variety of different styles of escape rooms from detective, horror themes and pirates to magicians and scientists. There are a range of different locations across the UK including Birmingham, Coventry, Essex and Stratford. The experience promotes teambuilding through the activity in groups of 2 to 6 people. The group has 60 minutes to escape the room of their choice through a series of puzzles and brainteasers designed to test the mind.
Suitable for children and adults and tickets are from £15 per person. www.escapelive.co.uk
The Brewery, Waterloo Road, Romford RM1 1AU
Kidsspace is an indoor play centre suitable for ages 0 to 12 with a separate area for under 5s. A variety of indoor play activities include soft play, climbing walls, high ropes and go-karts.
Children under 3 priced £6.75, children from 3 – 12 years £11.50, adults £3.75 and senior citizens are free admission. Also, an adult’s night for over 18s in groups of 6 people costs £20 per person. kidspaceadventures.com/romford/
Audley End House and Gardens
Audley End Rd, Audley End, Saffron Walden CB11 4JF
Explore the Jacobean mansion house with its gardens and Victorian stable yard. Dive into the lives of servants, children and owners living in the mansion from 1538 with the interactive dressing up stations and participating in activities in the kitchens and servants’ quarters. The children’s outdoor play area offers a place to burn off energy and enjoy an ice cream from the café as well as the servant’s hall tearoom that offers hot and cold meals, drinks and snacks.
With an English Heritage membership, admission is free but if not, adults £18.50, children £11.10 – family ticket 2 adults & 3 children – £48.10. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/audley-end-house-and-gardens/
Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker
Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood CM15 0LA
Visit the nuclear bunker located 80ft underground. It offers an insight into the secret civil defence centre. Tour around the bedrooms, surgery, washrooms, canteens, communication rooms and much more. The personal handset tours mean that the day is led by you. Alongside the verbal tour, there are short films to watch and dressing up areas to discover gas masks and military uniforms. On site, there are other activities available such as high ropes and obstacle courses.
Adults £7.50, children £5.50 or family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) £18. secretnuclearbunker.com/
31 PARK, Unit B3, Motherwell Way, Grays RM20 3XD
Jump Giants offers a wide variety of energy burning activities including dodgeball, basketball, foam zone, open jump trampolines, battle beams, ninja courts and wipe-out zones as well as soft play for under 5s.
Children aged 3 -13 priced £7.50 per hour, ages 14+ £8 per hour. Spectators pay £3 which can be redeemed in the café on site. www.jumpgiants.com/locations/thurrock
Maldon Road, Colchester CO3 0SL
From a chilled day out to breath-taking experiences including keeper for the day, keeper shadowing, wild encounters and kids’ zoo academy, the zoo offers amazing experiences for visitors of all ages which offers an up close and personal experience with the animals. With engaging exhibits, Colchester zoo is perfect for the whole family.
Tickets from £15.29 per child and £21.59 per adult when booked online. www.colchester-zoo.com/
Redwings Horse Sanctuary Ada Cole
Broadlands, Epping Road, B181, Roydon, Nazeing EN9 2DH
This family (and dog) friendly sanctuary houses 90 donkeys, ponies and horses who have been rescued from poor housing and treatment. Visitors can participate in demonstrations on caring for horses and walking tours as well as looking around stables and exhibits. The centre is kept by donations and so there is the opportunity to pay for the adoption of a horse, donkey or pony which helps to pay towards medical bills and necessary equipment.
Free admission, free parking and the welcoming of picnics means that this visit is an inexpensive day out suitable for all ages. www.redwings.org.uk/
Victoria Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS2 6EW
The Planetarium offers visitors an incredible experience with a variety of different talks and presentations which alternate throughout the year. The planetarium is age restricted to individuals aged 7 and up. This is due to the presentation being given in the dark and lasting 40 minutes which may not be suitable for younger audiences. This fascinating experience teaches about astronomy and the solar system as well as the night sky.
Children and seniors priced £4.20, adults £6 and family tickets (2 adults & 3 children) £18. www.southendmuseums.co.uk/page/Planetarium
Hollywood Bowl Lakeside
Lakeside, The Quay Intu, W Thurrock Way, Grays RM20 2AD
This family-friendly site offers a variety of activities suitable for the whole family including bowling, amusements, pool tables and refreshments. The 24 lanes alongside the exclusive VIP area means that there is plenty of room for large parties who wish to play. The American style diner offers hot and cold food and refreshments served at a table or to the lanes whilst you play.
Under 16s £5.79 per game, adults £6.79 per game, family from £22.59 (2 adults, 2 children). www.hollywoodbowl.co.uk/
Southend Pier and Seafront
Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2EL
The Southend Pier stretches for 1.33 miles and is the longest pier in the world! You can walk it or get the train to the end and back which offers beautiful views of the seaside and seafront shops and beach huts. The seafront offers a variety of different activities including amusement arcades, crazy golf, Sea Life Centre and Adventure Island, the free admission amusement park.
In order to gain access to the rides, wrist band must be purchased based on height. Rides within the adventure park have height restrictions at either 1m or 1.2m – accompanying individuals over the age of 14 ride for free.
The SeaLife Centre offers an educational and enjoyable experience watching and learning about a variety of underwater creatures. Adult tickets £17.50 and children £12.50. The SeaLife Centre is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.