Essex is a fantastic holiday destination. There are so many bank holiday May activities in Essex that you won’t ever run out of things to do. Here are some fun places to visit.



Audley End House and Gardens

Audley End House and Gardens is a beautiful and interesting place to visit. The 17th century country house was once a grand mansion for entertaining King James I. Step into the different rooms, including the great hall, state apartments, dressing rooms and the 18th century chapel. There is an 1830s nursery room where kids can dress up as Victorian children. Visit the Service Wing and Coal Gallery to learn about what life was like as a Victorian servant. The River Granta runs through the garden, with several charming bridges crossing it. Don’t miss the serpentine lake and the walled kitchen garden, which is full of organic fruit and veg.



Colne Valley Railway

A visit to the Colne Valley Railway is a fun way to spend May bank holiday in Essex. Running for one mile, this heritage railway is based at Castle Hedingham Station, and has a reconstructed station, signal box and railway yard. Ride on a mixture of vintage steam and diesel locomotives, or visit the handmade miniature model railway. There’s also a fully stocked buffet car cafe for when you get hungry.



Hylands Estate

This grade II listed public park has 574 acres of historic parkland to explore. The Neoclassical villa was built in 1730, and although it’s only open to the public one Sunday per month, you can still visit the grounds and gardens. There are ancient woodlands, grassland, ponds, lakes and formal gardens to get lost in. There are five mapped walks you can take, ranging from an easy half hour stroll to a four mile hike. Admire the vibrant blossoms in the Pleasure Gardens and the One World Garden.



Chelmsford Cathedral

Chelmsford Cathedral was originally built as a church 800 years ago, later becoming a cathedral in 1914. Visitors are welcome to take a self guided tour around, and there is even the Chelmsford Cathedral app to help you. Admire the architecture in St Cedd’s Chapel, The Nave, The Chancel, The South Porch and Exterior. The cathedral is home to a collection of beautiful artwork including sculptures and stained glass windows. There are also lunchtime concerts featuring soloists and ensembles both instrumental and vocal.



Clacton Beach

A day at the seaside is a must when visiting Essex. Clacton Beach is a popular choice, reminiscent of the classic British seaside holiday. The wide stretch of golden sand is perfect for walking, building sandcastles and relaxing on. Why not try your hand at watersports while you’re here, whether it’s sailing, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing or jet skiing. The town has a number of companies that offer lessons and equipment hire. Walk along the Victorian pier where you’ll find a range of attractions including rides, adventure golf, bowling, go karts and arcade games. The pier is one of the best fishing spots along the Tendring coastline, and you can even get a day pass to go fishing off the pier. For more amenities, the town, Clacton on Sea, is only a short walk away.


More Things to Do in Essex

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex, CO3 0SL

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome

Flambirds Chase, Hackmans Lane, Purleigh, Nr Maldon, Essex, CM3 6RJ

East Anglian Railway Museum

Chappel Station, Colchester, Essex, CO6 2DS

Audley End House & Gardens

Off London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JF

Chelmsford Escape Rooms

Moulsham Mill Centre, Parkway, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 7PX

Stoke by Nayland Golf

Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, Keepers Lane, Leavenheath, Colchester, Essex, CO6