Free family days out in Essex.

During the school holidays, whether it’s the long summer holiday, half-term breaks, Easter or Christmas, there’s always plenty of free activities, events and and places to visit in Essex to entertain the whole family.

There are country parks and seaside towns and villages to visit, for picnics, paddling in the sea, sandcastle building tree climbing and lots more. You can find our country parks page here, and a page about the Essex seaside here.

As well as the country parks there are also the many beautiful town parks that are great to visit with children. In Harlow there is the Harlow Town Park, , with its very special Pets Corner, that has been visited by generations of children
In Colchester there’s the award winning Castle Park, which has a boating lake, a modern playground with lots of equipment for all ages, a Roman town wall to explore, a bandstand, and lots of space to explore. Plus of course there’s Colchester Castle, which you do have to pay to enter, but you can have fun walking around the outside, exploring the walls and letting the imagination run free.

If the weather is cold and wet, or you feel like taking the children to a museum or art gallery for some creative and maybe educational fun have a look at our museums and galleries page for a list of museums, both large and small in Essex. Alongside activities that you need to pay for, there are also lots of free activities that the children can take part in. For example in the lovely Hollytrees Museum in Colchester, there are dressing up clothes, toys to play with and books to read, as well as a wooden cooker with soft toy food for the children to cook you a meal with!

Libraries run by Essex Library Service often run free activities for children throughout the year, but particularly during the holidays periods. Each year during the summer holidays they run the Summer Reading Challenge. Children can take part in at any library in Essex. It’s all about encouraging children to read for fun and pleasure, plus their teachers will be pleased if they continue to read through the long summer holidays. And as a reward, everyone taking part receives a certificate and a medal.

And don’t forget to check out our monthly listings pages for lots of events across Essex throughout the year.