Picture of a wooden lookout structure overooking flower beds.

Themed breaks and itineraries

Follow one of our themed breaks or itineraries to help you discover our county.

From coastal and cultural to historic and heritage, our self-drive itineraries will make it easy for you to discover Essex. All routes have suggested attractions to visit as well as overnight accommodation and places to eat along the routes, making them ideal for planning a short break. 

Three children sitting on a bench in the gardens of Layer Marney Tower.
Family fun at Layer Marney Tower
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The tour takes in a variety of artists and artworks Essex has to offer. From 12th century medieval wall paintings at Copford church to the landscapes by John Constable to more contemporay offers such as firstsite in Colchester.
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A fascinating tour of west Essex that starts at the Royal Gunpowder Mills where you can explore its 300-year history in the production of explosives all the way to the splendid Audley End House and Gardens near Saffron Walden.

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This tour crosses the undulating landscapes of the Essex heartland to discover some of the delights of the county including Layer Marney Tower, the tallest Tudor gatehouse in England and the famous Hedingham Castle.
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Journey including the historic port of Harwich to the pretty resorts of Walton-on-the-Naze and Frinton-on-Sea, stunning Mersea Island and Maldon, the Dengie Peninsula and Burnham-on-Crouch, Leigh and Southend-on-Sea.
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Mid Essex delights includes attractions such as the Grade II* listed Hylands House, Chelmsford Cathedral and Ingatestone Hall, as well as Hanningfield Reservoir, with its variety of wildlife, RHS Garden Hyde Hall and the fascinating world at Tropical Wings Zoo.
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This journey will take you through some of the more unusual and mysterious parts of Essex including the picturesque town of Manningtree where Matthew Hopkins, the last Witchfinder General of England, is said to be haunting the site of the pond in which he drowned.

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Visit Harlow and follow a trail of over 60 sculptures dotted around the town, not forgetting the ones at the Gibberd Gallery and Gibberd Garden. Travel to Southend with the longest pleasure pier in the world and experience the town’s exciting festivals, museums and galleries.
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This fascinating tour of National Trust properties in Essex includes the royal medieval hunting ground at Hatfield Forest, Paycocke's House and Grange Barn in Coggeshall. Take the scenic route, passing the rugged Essex coastline at Copt Hall Marshes and Northey Island.

Explore our county

Picture of the iconic Firstsite building at night.
Discover Essex’s creative spaces. They come in all shapes and sizes and are crammed with artistic treasures, from international names to emerging local artists.
Picture of a sunset over the The Naze waters with some rocks protruding from the water.

Explore our 350 miles of coastline, the longest shoreline of any county in England, a place of surprising wild beauty, rich in wildlife and sprinkled with history and hidden cultural gems.

Essex’s history has been shaped by a wide variety of cultures. Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans – all left their mark. Echoes of their influence can still be seen today.
Picture of a cow at the edge of the River Stour and drinking water.
A scenic patchwork of rich farmland speckled with pastelwashed villages of thatch and timber, the views interrupted by mighty oaks and ashes presided over by the hurrying skies.