Essex Tourist Attractions
There are a number of must-see tourist attractions in Essex and these are listed below.
- Beth Chatto Gardens
- Colchester Castle
- Colchester Castle Museum
- Colchester Zoo
- Epping Forest
- Great Dunmow
- Mountfitchet Castle
Beth Chatto Gardens, Essex
Situated in a shallow valley in front of a house, The Beth Chatto Gardens began in 1960 and was transformed from an overgrown wasteland into an informal and beautiful garden. With a rich variety of plants, for all you horticulturalists or those who simply relish a day out in the countryside, the Beth Chatto Gardens are a must. Facilities include a picnic area, gravel garden (which could inspire a number of gardeners to do without lawns), tea room and garden museum.
Colchester Castle, Essex
Colchester Castle in Colchester, Essex is a largely complete Norman castle. The castle was ordered by William the Conqueror, designed by Siward, Bishop of Rochester and completed by around 1100, and used local materials such as Roman brick and clay taken from the town.
The castle is built on the foundations of the earlier Roman temple of Claudius (built between 54AD-60AD) which have since been uncovered and can be viewed today on a tour of the castle which is also a Grade I listed building.
There has always been debate as to the original height of Colchester Castle with suggestions that the keep was at one time four storeys high, although now it is thought that it was perhaps only two or three.
The castle has had various uses since it ceased to be a Royal castle, including a county prison and in 1648, during the final stages of the English Civil War, the Royalist leaders Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle were executed just to the rear of the castle. A small obelisk now marks the point.
Colchester Castle Museum
Inside the castle, Colchester Castle Museum takes you through 2000 years of some of the most important events in British in an award winning museum featuring many hands-on displays showing Colchester’s history from the Stone Age to the Civil War.
Address: Colchester Castle, 92 High Street, Colchester, Essex CO1 1TH
Official Website: www.colchester.cimuseums.org.uk/visit/colchester-castle
Colchester Zoo, Essex
Colchester Zoo is now one of the finest Zoos in Europe due to a constant programme of development and continues to evolve to ensure the world class level of commitment to their animals. Set in 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes, and with over 260 rare species many part of breeding programmes, there is so much to see at Colchester Zoo.
Interactive daily displays get you closer to the animals with a unique chance to feed the elephants and giraffes yourself and if you’re brave enough even touch a giant African land snail! Open every day, and with 30 daily displays, a soft play area, 2 road trains, Colchester Zoo is well worth a visit from all the family.
Address: Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex CO3 0SL
Official Website: www.colchester-zoo.com
Epping Forest in the south-east of England is the largest public open space in the London area at 6,100 acres. Epping Forest stretches between Forest Gate in the south and Epping in the north and the diverse landscape of Epping Forest features areas of historic woodland, green lanes, ancient trees, grassy plains, rivers and ponds. Two thirds of Epping Forest have being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, containing a range of natural habitats that have developed over a period of more than 1,000 years and now rich in wildlife and history.
Trees in Epping Forest
Epping Forest is internationally renowned for its ancient pollarded trees – mainly Oak, Beech and Hornbeam, which are many hundreds of years old.
Flowers in Epping Forest
There is also a diverse range of flowers to be found in Epping Forest – over 650 plant species including Trefoil, Red Campion, Oxeye Daisy, Knapweed, Fleabane, Bluebells, Petty Whin, Spiny Restharrow and Pepper Saxifrage.
Birds in Epping Forest
Many birds can be seen around Epping Forest such as Woodpeckers, Skylarks and Tree Creepers. Epping Forest is an ideal spot for bird watchers and nature lovers.
Walking and Recreation in Epping Forest
Epping Forest is a popular recreation area and used for a wide range of activities including walking, running, cycling, motor cycling, mountain biking, fishing, horse riding, orienteering, model aeroplane flying, cricket and golf.
There are a wide range of events which regularly take place in Epping Forest, such as guided walks, cycle rides, craft activities, heritage events, art exhibitions and open air theatre performances, making it a great place for the whole family.
Great Dunmow, Essex
Great Dunmow is a small market town in Essex, between Bishop’s Stortford, Braintree and Chelmsford. Lying on the River Chelmer, Great Dunmow was once a Roman settlement; the town is situated on a Roman road and is thought to have been the site of a Roman station. An important market centre, Great Dunmow’s main trade was wool and today the traditional market still exists surrounded by historic buildings, including a sixteenth century town hall.
Great Dunmow is well known for the Dunmow Flitch Trials which began around 1120. Held every four years, couples have to convince a jury they have not argued during the last year and if they succeed, they win a flitch of bacon.
Also near Stansted Airport and the M11 motorway, Great Dunmow offers plenty of attractions, including the Maltings Museum which explains the town’s history.
Great Dunmow Tourist Attractions
- Easton Lodge Gardens
- Great Dunmow Maltings
- Great Dunmow Museum
- Little Easton Manor
- Finchingfield Windmill
- House on the Hill Museum Adventure
- Mountfitchet Castle & Norman Village
Mountfitchet Castle, Essex
The national award-winning Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted Mountfitchet, occupies a commanding position overlooking Stort Valley on the borders of Essex and Hertfordshire. The castle’s original site is steeped in history and was formerly an Iron Age hill fort, a Roman signals fort and later a Saxon and Viking settlement before being attacked in 1066 by the army of William the Conqueror, who built a wooden motte and bailey castle here. This unique all-weather tourist attraction is a world-famous, historically accurate reconstructed castle and a time capsule of living history.
Visit Mountfitchet Castle and travel back in time to 1066 Norman England – explore the Castle, roam through the Norman Village, wander in and out of the many houses and admire the re-created scenes. Even animals roam freely throughout the castle grounds! Experience the ancient lifestyle for yourself with a hands-on and interactive experience like no other. Mountfitchet Castle is a unique all-in-one heritage entertainment complex providing an exciting day out for the whole family in Stansted, Essex.
That’s not all at Mountfitchet Castle – there is also The House on the Hill Toy Museum and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Exhibition. The House on the Hill Toy Museum contains the largest toy collection in the World and is one of the Country’s most popular attractions. Toy’s range from the Victorian era to the 1980’s – over 80,000 items from model railways, Meccano, teddy bears, dolls and dolls houses, Action Man and Barbie, Raleigh Choppers, Thunderbirds and Star Wars, something to bring back childhood memories of every visitor. The Showbiz Collection features famous film and tv props such as a Dalek, Stormtrooper from Star Wars, film posters and other props and models. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Exhibition celebrates 60s and 70s music displaying such items as signed guitars, rare concert posters and props from performances.
Address: Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex CM24 8SP
Official Website: www.mountfitchetcastle.com
London Stansted Airport is located in Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex.
Stansted Airport is owned and operated by BAA and it is one of London’s five international airports. It is also the third-busiest airport in the UK with a number of major European low-cost services flying from here.
Address: Stansted Airport, Enterprise House, Bassingbourne Road, Essex CM24 1QW
Official Website: www.stanstedairport.com