Get outside and Explore Essex this half-term

This half term get the children outdoors and explore the county of Essex. Free events, country parks, den building, activity centres, storytelling and more. Great ideas and days out for children. 

This half-term, Explore Essex, the new brand for Essex County Council’s Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Green Spaces, offers an exciting calendar of events to get the family outside.


For the most adventurous, Explore Essex is running a #ExploreEssexChallenge and has created 101 things to see and do across the county. The challenge encourages you to skim stones, listen to bird song and get out on your bikes whilst enjoying their country parks, historic venues and coastal landscapes.


Things to see and do in Essex 

Throughout half term (from Saturday 15 February) all the Explore Essex country parks are holding free ‘Look for a Book’ walks. Here children will be able to explore the parks and find books which have been hidden and wrapped in bio-degradable bags, look out for the golden tickets you may just win entry to the Chocolate Festival at Cressing Temple Barns!

Free Storytelling 

Storytelling in the woods is fun and Weald Country Park will be running free-of-charge ‘Meet Stick Man’ sessions throughout half-term. Here children will also be able to meet and have their photo taken with Julia McDonald’s beloved character and create their own Stick Man!

For little ones who like to get dressed up for a walk in the woods there’s a special ‘Pirates and Princesses Trail’ at Thorndon South Country Park. The trail will include lots of puzzles and clues and a mystery prize at the end (trail costs £4 per pirate or princess).

Plant a tree

Support planet earth by planting a tree for free at Great Notley Country Park on Wednesday 19 February between 10am-1pm. Essex County Council’s Essex Forest initiative aims to plant 375,000 trees to combat the effects of carbon emissions.

Great Notley Country Park will be hosting the first public planting session, so why not pop on your wellies and plant a tree? Nature lovers will also enjoy a ‘Wild Wednesday’ at Danbury Country Park on 19 February at 11am. Here children will be able to take part in this free-of-charge event and build dens, make mud pies, wade in the stream, enjoy forest craft and more.


Outdoor activities in Essex

Older children, aged between 8 -16, will get a thrill out of the Outdoor Activity Days running at Bradwell, Danbury, Harlow and East Mersea. Activities that are sure to get their adrenaline running include archery, canoeing, climbing, mountain biking, high ropes and zip wire, all designed to beat boredom. Activity days are priced from £20.

For children just starting to explore their environment, there will be free ‘Balanceability’ taster sessions, where the little ones can have their first taste of riding a balance bike under the supervision of a trained professional. This session will be at Belhus Country Park at 10am Sunday 23 February.

To sign-up to the year-long Explore Essex 2020 Challenge and view the 101 things to see and do in Essex, visit

Everyone who completes 20 challenges will be awarded with a certificate, to share images of you and your family taking part in the challenge simply hashtag #ExploreEssex2020 and you could win a family explorer’s hamper! For a full range of the Explore Essex events visit:

Find more things to do this half term

Discover more Essex attractions and days out

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