A rainy day in Essex doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many exciting things to do throughout the county that you won’t be stuck without ideas. From fun and games to hunting for bargains, here is our guide to rainy day activities in Essex.


 

Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are always a fun option when it’s raining. Essex is home to several first-rate escape rooms with lots of different adventure options. Make sure you solve the puzzles before time runs out!

Right in the heart of Chelmsford is the Chelmsford Escape Rooms. There are three different adventure options with various difficulty levels: The Last Testament, The Governor and Crazy Cat Lady. In The Last Testament, you’ll find out a secret that your late great uncle has left behind for you. In The Governor, your challenge is to escape a haunted prison cell. In the Crazy Cat Lady, you need to find all the escaped cats before their owner comes back. Teams range from two to eight people and the whole family can play!

Maldon Escape Rooms is a short distance from the town centre and is a great choice for a rainy day. Choose from An Hour To Kill Hollywood, Rob The Bank, Deep Trouble, The Cage and When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney. From going on a mission to steal back the family gold, to discovering secrets of a Hollywood star, there is plenty of fun to be had here. Teams range from two to ten people and you’ll need to work together to see if you can escape the room within 60 minutes.

If you’re in Southend, make sure you visit Escape Live Southend. There are three exciting rooms to choose from: Dr Wilson’s Office, Pirate Plunder and Room 13. In Dr Wilson’s Office, your task is to help the detective to identify which suspect is threatening his life. In Pirate Plunder, you need to ravage pirate treasure from a ship that has crashed into Southend Pier, making sure to rescue everything before it sinks. In Room 13, you must piece together clues to save Amy who is locked inside the room. Teams range from two to six players.

Museums

When looking for things to do when it’s raining in Essex, a visit to a museum is always a good idea. There is an extensive choice of museums in Essex and you’re bound to find something that’s right up your alley.

In the heart of rural Essex, the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome is a unique day out where you can explore the early days of British military aviation. It was first opened in 1916 as a base for B Flight of No 37(HD) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps and it had a large role in the Battle for Britain. Spend time roaming around the venue and explore the artefacts and collections. Take a look at the various exhibitions, including air displays, modern technology and Great War Living History. Pop into the hangar to admire the replica FWW planes, or pick up a memento from the gift shop on your way out.

A visit to Chelmsford Museum is the perfect rainy day activity. There are a huge range of collections to discover that tell the story of the town’s history, including archaeology, biology, geology, fine art, military, social history and an industrial collection. Artefacts date back to 240 millions years ago and range from fossils and taxidermy, to Iron Age coins and a Celtic mirror. There are also other exhibitions covering ceramics, fashion and costume and the natural world. You can even see a recreated Victorian kitchen and wash house. The museum has a range of events and activities for children too, including fun workshops, play areas and craft sessions.

Colchester is a great place to go for days out. The East Anglian Railway Museum in Colchester is a fun day out for all ages. Find out more about the role of the railways in the Eastern Counties from their arrival in the 19th century, right through to their dissolution in the Beeching era. Get up close and personal with steam trains, diesel locomotives and vintage carriages. Step inside the Victorian buildings and witness the working signal boxes. To make the most of the museum, visit on a Living History day where you’ll see trains running and actors showing you what life was like back in the 19th and early 20th centuries. You can also have a go at the Escape Room and see if you can crack the puzzles and clues to salvage a top secret file.

 

Shopping

Sometimes, a rainy day is the perfect excuse for a little retail therapy. Essex is home to some of the best shopping experiences – whether you like antique finds or big name brands, you’ll surely find something to take home.

If you’re looking to bag some antique goods, Battlesbridge Antiques Centre in Wickford is an obvious choice. It’s been around since 1967 and hosts over 80 dealers in a series of old barns and farm buildings. Most of the goods date back to the early 20th century and range from household items like linen, china and glass, to garden furniture, pots and ornaments. You can also find a large collection of vinyls and clothing.

For a more modern shopping experience, head to Intu Lakeside in West Thurrock. Here you’ll find over 255 stores and entertainment outlets, from favourites like Primark and Lush, to brands like Tag Heuer and Lacoste. If you’re looking for fun activities for the whole family, there is also a Hollywood Bowl, Puttshack mini golf, Flipout trampoline park and Nickelodeon’s first UK family entertainment centre. Once you’re all tired out, choose from over 50 places to eat and drink.

Braintree Village in Braintree is a centre for outlet shopping. Here you can find big name brands at discount prices, and the shopping centre is home to a number of designer brands including Barbour, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren. Braintree Village has everything you could possibly need, including men and womens fashion, sports and outdoor gear, homeware and health and beauty products. When you need a break from shopping, there is a great range of eateries and coffee shops to choose from.


Maldon Escape Rooms

22 White Horse Ln, Maldon, CM9 5QP

FSC Flatford Mill

Field Studies Centre, Flatford Mill, East Bergholt, Essex, CO7 6UL

Bishop’s Stortford Escape Rooms

Woodside, Bishop's Stortford, Essex, CM23 5RG

East Anglian Railway Museum

Chappel Station, Colchester, Essex, CO6 2DS

Tiptree Tea Room at The Essex Rose

The Essex Rose Tea House, High Street, Dedham, Essex, CO7 6DE

Chelmsford Escape Rooms

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

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome

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

Audley End House & Gardens

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

Stoke by Nayland Peake Spa

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

Mulberry Retreat and Leisure Limited

Mulberry House, Chelmsford Road, High Ongar, Essex, CM5 9NL

Milsoms

Stratford Road, Dedham, Colchester, Essex, CO7 6HW