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Things to do and places to visit with the kids on a rainy day.

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Audley End House and Gardens

VistEngland VAQASEssex Tourism AwardsEnglish Heritage

Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JF

tel: 01799 522842

Step back in time and see Victorian life come to life before your eyes at Audley End House and Gardens. You can experience what life was like at one of England’s grandest stately homes.

 
Braintree District Museum

VistEngland VAQAS

Manor Street, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3HW

tel: 01376 325266

This award winning museum is based in the converted Courtauld School and has displays from Crittall steel windows to Warners royal silks, Castle Hedingham pottery to Edward Bawden prints.

 
Central Museum

Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6ES

tel: 01702 434449

Central Museum houses the collections of local and natural history and archaeology. Displays reflect the story of Southend's growth as a major seaside destination and its rich natural history and fishing heritage.

 
Chelmsford Museum

VistEngland VAQASSelf-assessed Accessibility Information

Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9AQ

tel: 01245 605700

Local, industrial and social history from prehistory to present day; fine and decorative arts (ceramics, glass); coins; natural history (geology, animals, live beehive). Exhibitions and events. Set in park with children's play area.

 
Colchester Castle Museum

VistEngland VAQAS

Castle Park, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ

tel: 01206 282939

Colchester Castle is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. Constructed on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius. The Castle Museum today reveals many fascinating layers of history to visitors.

 
Combined Military Services Museum

VistEngland VAQAS

Station Road, Maldon, Essex, CM9 4LQ

tel: 01621 841826

An award winning collection of British military artefacts from the English Civil War to today. Collections focus on the Special Forces, espionage, uniforms, medals, swords, tanks and the Donnington Firearms Collection of over 700 guns.

 
Escape Live

95 High Street, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1HS

tel: 01702 437337

Can you escape the #1 Escape Room in Essex? You have just 60 minutes to escape from a themed locked room before it is too late.

 
Essex Fire Museum

Self-assessed Accessibility Information

Grays Fire Station, Hogg Lane, Grays, Essex, RM17 5QS

tel: 01375 379167

A history of the Essex Fire Service with items from the 18th century to today including appliances, uniforms, photos and WW2 memorabilia.

 
Harlow Museum

Muskham Road, Harlow, Essex, CM20 2LF

tel: 01279 454959

Harlow Museum is an oasis of tranquility, a centre for researchers, a family day out in the walled gardens and much more besides.

 
Harwich Lifeboat Museum

Timberfields, Off Wellington Road, Harwich, Essex, CO12 3EJ

tel: 01255 502872 

Museum contains the last Clacton off-shore. Oakley Class Lifeboat 34ft and a history of the lifeboat service in Harwich.

 
Harwich Maritime Museum

Low Lighthouse, Harbour Crescent, Harwich, Essex, CO12 3NJ

tel: 01255 502872 

Housed in a disused lighthouse, the museum has specialised displays on the Royal Navy and commercial shipping. History of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy in Harwich.

 
Hedingham Castle

Baley Street, Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DJ

tel: 01787 460261

Hedingham Castle is not just one place. Romantic, beautiful, ancient, historic and wild, it is somewhere to set your imagination free.

 
Hollytrees Museum

VistEngland VAQAS

Castle Park, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1UG

tel: 01206 282940

An important part of Colchester's rich history with three centuries of fascinating toys, costume and decorative arts displayed in an attractive Georgian town house from 1718.

 
Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker

Self-assessed Accessibility Information

Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 0LA

tel: 01277 364883

Ex-government HQ nuclear bunker buried 80ft underground. Complete with kitchen, dormitories, power and filtration plant, plotting floor, government administration room, 120 yard long entrance tunnel, communication and scientists room.

 
Layer Marney Tower

Essex Tourism AwardsHistoric Houses Association Friends Scheme

Layer Marney, Colchester, Essex, CO5 9US

tel: 01206 330784

Magnificent Tudor building with the tallest Gatehouse in Britain and 16th century Italianate terracotta. Climb the tower, visit the gardens, outbuildings dolls house, church and farm animals. Cafe and shop.

 
Leisure World Colchester

Self-assessed Accessibility Information

Leisure World Colchester, Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1YH

tel: 01206 282000

Leisure World Colchester is one of East Anglia's largest sports, leisure, recreation and entertainment venues and offers year round fun for all the family. The leisure pool includes outside river rapids ride, water cannons and flumes.

 
Mersea Island Museum

VistEngland VAQAS

Mersea Island Museum, High Street, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex, CO5 8QD

tel: 01206 385191

Exhibits of Mersea's social history, natural history, archaeology and fishing industry, including a fisherman's cottage display. Special exhibitions and gift shop.

 
The Lilleshall Marshall steam engine

Self-assessed Accessibility Information

Steam Pumping Station, Hatfield Road, Langford, Essex, CM9 6QA

tel: 01621 843183

Housed in a former water pumping station, the museum has a fascinating collection of power related exhibits, a tea room and picnic area, a miniature railway all set in attractive riverside grounds.