A monthly guide of things to do and places to visit in Essex.
Events, what’s on, gigs, markets and more. Things to see and do in Essex this month.
Jump on board at Southend Pier
Southend has the longest pleasure pier in the world and from 2022 new eco-friendly trains, powered by lithium batteries, will take passengers the 1.25 miles from the shore to the pier head in the North Sea. The carriages will be fitted with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a hearing loop system, a braille driver alert and even USB charging points. The old trains will be repurposed to form a passenger waiting area on the pier. Discover more.
Woodland Play at Danbury Country Park, 28 March, 25 April, 9, 16 & 23 May
Let little ones embrace the great outdoors with this series of six woodland play sessions. Perfect for children under 5 who aren’t afraid to get dirty, the interactive tasks and activities include forest crafts, den building, building with mud, cooking on a fire and more. Booking is essential. Discount for sibling participation.
Charles Debenham Exhibition at Chappel Galleries, 12 March – 10 April
The exhibition, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ordinary’, will be a collection of 37 works by Charles Debenham, available to view from 12 March to 10 April. Find out more.
Daffodils at Warley Place Nature Reserve, April
This little natural haven outside the busy town of Brentwood is the site of a house and Edwardian gardens belonging to Ellen Willmott. Now maintained by Essex Wildlife Trust, the 25-acre reserve serves up a bright and colourful display of daffodils.
Day Out & Easter Quest at Audley End House, 2-24 April
Created by the famous 18th century designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the gardens at this historic home are beautiful at any time of year, but during spring and summer they come alive with vibrant colours. Stroll through the immaculate grounds, before stopping for tea at the café. From 2-24 April, the grounds will host its popular, Easter Adventure Quest. Book here.
Riverside Ice Show – Beauty and the Beast, 6 -10 April
Pull up a chair for Riverside and Chelmsford Ice Skating Club’s beautiful amateur production of Beauty and the Beast on ice, the perfect show for kids of all ages! Be transported into a magical world and follow the tale of love and bravery, inspired by the Disney classic. Featuring colourful costumes and catchy songs, the ice show is a fantastic musical treat for all the family. Book tickets here.
Great Chesterford Weekend Jewellery Fair, 9-10 April, 10am-4pm
Hosted by Rural Magpie, the popular Jewellery Fair, supports local talented jewellery makers. Discover over 28 local artisan designer makers of fine exquisite handcrafted jewellery in gold, silver and precious stones, including beads and pearls. You can also browse and buy designer, preloved, antique and vintage jewellery, as well as gifts and accessories. Visitors will be sure to find a treasure either as a gift for a loved one or a treat for themselves. Many of the artisan jewellers are happy to undertake commissions. The tearoom offers sandwiches, sausages rolls and luxury handmade cakes.
The Mersea Island Beer Festival returns for Easter Weekend to the Mersea Island Vineyard in East Mersea. Hosted by Mersea Island Brewery the festival will have over 35 real ales, all brewed in Essex, as well as entertainment and food.
Easter Weekend at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, 16-17 April
View the cute animals and join in a day of fun activities including the Buff Vikings, Crazy Legs Children’s Entertainer, Funky Voices Choir and The Easter Bunny. There’ll also be inflatable, arts and crafts, an Easter trail and more. Adults £7.50, child £6.50. More info.
Spring Joust at Castle Hedingham, 17-18 April, 10am – 4pm
The Castle grounds will be filled with medieval magic as the Knights of Middle England join us to battle in front of the ancient Keep. With two Jousts to enjoy each day, alongside plenty of fun activities and displays, there is something for everyone. Enjoy a variety of pursuits including Falconry, musicians, archery and much
more, as well as food stalls serving a variety of delicious lunches and snacks. This really is a fantastic day out for all the family. Please note: dogs are NOT permitted at this event due to the presence of horses and birds of prey. Find out more.
Museum of Power Transport Festival, 17 April, 10am – 3.30pm
Easter Show with Classic Cars, Buses, Military Vehicles & all types of transport. Stalls, music and entertainment. Internal model displays in the Museum & Kids rides & activities. Miniature steam train OPEN for rides (extra charge applies) – to be confirmed by railway team. Please contact the Museum to confirm. ‘Astaria’ model village OPEN. ‘Marshall’ the Lilleshall pumping engine will be run by steam and other oil and diesel engines will be running.
Spring Craft and Design Show at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, 29 April – 2 May, 10am – 5pm
A fabulous four-day Spring Craft and Design Show and to experience the garden in full bloom. Organisers, Woodland Crafts Event Management, specialise in ‘Maker-only’ events offering visitors a fabulous opportunity to discover, buy or commission unique handcrafted pieces direct from some of the UK’s most talented craftspeople and designer-makers. On display will be a showcase of fine art, photography, jewellery, ceramics, woodwork, metalwork, furniture, textiles and so many more contemporary crafts, for the home and garden.
Great Dunmow Soapbox Race, 1 May
A fun, action-packed day out for the whole family. Cheer on the teams as they take on obstacles and race against the clock to be crowned the champion. Expect adrenaline filled action and crashes to raise money for Great Dunmow Round Table and selected charities. All the info here.
The Dogfather at Charter Hall, Colchester, 13 May
Calling all dog lovers! Graeme Hall, known as The Dogfather, will be live on stage at Charter Hall, Colchester on 13 May. Famed for his Channel 5 TV show, ‘Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly’, the dog trainer will be bringing his wisdom to the stage. The 90-minute show is full of tricks, memories, surprises, and an exclusive Q&A. If you have an unruly pup, this may be your chance to learn a trick of the trade! Book here.
Don’t forget you can join our community of East Anglian dog owners with our dog-friendly Facebook group!
Spring Beer Festival at Chelmsford City Racecourse, 14 May
A fun and lively race day accompanied by German beer, bratwurst and a performance from the world-famous Bavarian Stompers! Book here.
National Flower Show at Hylands House, 20-22 May, 10am – 5pm
A three-day gardening extravaganza set in the stunning grounds of Hylands House. The outdoor event sees Hylands Estate filled with inspiration, flowers, plants, and everything you need for your home and garden including the Outdoor Plant Village, a magnificent Floral Pavilion, the Food & Drinks Pavilion, and well as a Home and Country Pavilion with a selection of original handmade giftware, jewellery and more – visitors can shop in abundance with hundreds of exhibitors at the show!
Family Wellness Wal in Colchester, 22 May
A buggy friendly walk designed for young families, new and expectant parents. It provides a chance to get outside and meet like-minded families. Meet at the Visitor Centre at 11am. Booking is essential.
Crouch Ridge Vineyard Open day, 29 May, 10am – 10pm
Crouch Ridge Estate would like to invite you to the Vineyard to celebrate English Wine Week.
Gin and Bubbles Bar – also local beer, cider, tea/coffee & soft drinks. Wine Tasting workshops on the Terrace at 12noon & 2pm, priced £25pp. Booking essential. Live Music at 4.30pm – 9.30pm, plus pop up stalls selling cheese and meat plates, seafood, BBQ and pizza. Plenty of free parking.