Colchester Castle is more of a Norman keep than your traditional castle. But it’s a really family friendly destination, with Castle Park having great grounds to run around in, and playgrounds to tire the little ones out.

Hedingham Castle has lots of events there during the summer holidays, and regular activities for young children. Our boys loved this castle when they were little – lots of narrow stairs and balconies!

Hadleigh Castle is a dramatic ruin overlooking the estuary and you can have a wander around the country park as well.

Mountfitchet Castle is a reconstruction, and we have fond memories of a day out with our boys at this Norman Village some years ago, but there’s clearly something amiss with the space-time continuum around the castle as there are now dinosaurs, Dr. Who and Star Wars!

If you’re really really desperate for more castles, head up into Suffolk for Framlingham Castle and Orford Castle which are fairly close together!

seaside and coast | steam trains | castles | country parks | country houses | museums and libraries | wildlife | OK technically not in Essex