Rainy Days in Essex

I heard a quote recently : “There’s no such thing as bad weather. There’s just weather and your response to it…”

On that basis, if it’s raining check our events listings from the menu at the top of the page, and get a rainprooof jacket and an umbrella out and support your local event organisers! But if you are determined to keep dry, below are a few tips for you for dealing with a rainy day in Essex.

If you’re willing to brave a little bit of rain then for adults then get in the car and do some antiques shopping. We’ve been to Battlesbridge a couple of times recently – it’s right in the centre of the county, and easy to get to. There are several different areas for antiques hunters, and lots of parking.

There’s a multi-storey centre with four floors of antiques, and a great cafe on the top floor – the dedicated antiques shopper/browser could spend an afternoon in there! If you want to grab some lunch nearby we can recommend The Barge Inn which is set amongst the antiques centres, or only slightly further afield The Prince of Wales in Stow Maries. You could park in the car park of the antique centre about 10 yards from the antique centre, and a quick 50yard dash over the road to the pub, and otherwise be in the dry for a very long shopping session in the antiques centre (with a tea break on their top floor) and have a pub lunch, and spend 4hours with only a few seconds in the rain! More information from the Battlesbridge Antiques Centre website.

Other places for antiques include the Baddow Antiques Centre (link), and if you are in the west there’s the Debden Antiques Centre (link). If you are in the north then head over the border into Long Melford where there are two or three big antique warehouses, with ample parking on the streets outside them. And there’s an enormous antiques centre in nearby Clare : you can spend hours in there!

Then there is retail therapy – there are plenty of shopping centres where you can dodge the rain, or you could drive to Lakeside, or be brave and head south over the Thames to go to Bluewater. And of course there’s the new, humongous Westfield Centre – easily accessible on the train as it’s next to Stratford Station – you’ll see plenty of people boarding trains there clutching John Lewis bags!

Although it’s wet, why not pop out in the car and visit a couple of garden centres? They’re getting bigger and bigger these days, and more and more of them are under cover and have restaurants and in some cases delicatessens. In the north of Essex near us, there is the Perrywood Garden Centre (link) and the Poplar Nurseries (link), both have recently improved indoor shopping areas and excellent cafeterias. Check their websites for special offers!

Or maybe a drive around some of the villages of Essex? We had a lovely drive around Boxford, Edwardstone and Kersey a while back. And we can also recommend a drive around Thaxted and Finchingfield. And if the weather is a bit iffy, why not drive out for a meal in a countryside pub – there are plenty listed on our Essex Real Ale Map.

If you’ve got children, why not try

  • the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker (link) is out of the rain (it’s underground!)
  • tenpin bowling (at Southend or Colchester) or swimming – check out the brand new Harlow Leisurezone “an all-round leisure experience beyond compare” (never heard anyone in Harlow speaking like that!)
  • Rollerworld for skating and Quasar in Colchester
  • or head off to the cinema, or check out children’s activities at places like Colchester Arts Centre, Chelmsford Theatres
  • or why not try Sea Life Adventure in Southend (link),
  • or Colchester Zoo (a lot of it is undercover, and with some waterproofs you won’t get too wet, and if it’s raining it won’t be that busy!)
  • or head out to the main town centre library nearest you and spend some time in there before some shopping
  • Go to one of the many excellent museums across the county. Check our Essex Museums page – there will be museums you weren’t aware of. We went to the Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon in 2011 and were hugely impressed – click here to read our blog and watch the video we took. You can easily spend a couple of hours in there.
  • or, and this is a bit of lateral thinking : go to one of the London museums. You can park at your local railway station, and once there you’re undercover on the train, undercover at Liverpool Street, undercover on the tube to South Ken, and you can get into the Victoria & Albert, Natural History Museum, or the Science Museum with a bare minimum of exposure to that rain. And you can spend hours in each museum. And remember to get a group ticket if you’re going on a weekend, and check other discounts, as you can get up to London very cheaply on that basis. And there’s that added sense of adventure as you wonder whether National Express East Anglia is going to get you there on time.

If none of this takes your fancy and you absolutely insist on staying dry indoors then :

  • check the weather forecast for the rest of the day – there may be a couple of hours of sunshine forecast for the evening
  • promise yourself that next time it’s not raining, you will get out and about, so that you don’t miss the opportunity when it’s there! Check our events listings for the next couple of months, and pencil some dates into your calendar
  • do some planning for the next dry day – have a browse around our site and get some ideas. Plan a walk, or a cycle route
  • get a hold of a copy of Essex Monopoly or Chelmsford Monopoly, and enjoy a board game while you think about what you will do next time it’s dry

Do you have any suggestions for what to do on a rainy day in Essex? Suggestions below please.

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  1. zingy

    there’s A12 Entertainment center which does go-karting and quazar both indoors, it’s great fun