1) Since 2014, thousands of happy customers have cried laughing, climbing the walls and leaping around in sticky socks at Jump Street.  The first indoor trampoline parks in the UK, if you haven’t been to Jump Street yet, it’s definitely one for the Bucket List.

2) Weddings have become bigger business than ever in the last decade and Marks Hall Estate is one of many gorgeous Essex venues where happy couples can tie the knot.  They tell us that, since 2010, they have married 500 couples, drunk over 3,000 glasses of Prosecco (at the weddings!), sat through over 1,200 speeches (spoken, rapped and sung) and recruited three brides and one groom onto the staff.  For more inspiration on Essex weddings, click here

3) Escape Rooms have really come into their own in the last decade and Escape Live are one of many companies providing fun, immersive, themed experience, whilst ‘locked’ in a room.  You might be in a prison cell, involved in a casino heist or even playing a role in a Peaky Blinders story, along with your team, you follow clues, solve puzzles, and complete your mission in under 60 minutes! Online replaces hands-on experiences during lockdown but the good news about that is, you can play with friends or family anywhere in the world.  Fancy a Christmas family Escape Room anyone?

4) Sadly, we lost the inspirational Essex plants woman and all-round lovely lady, Beth Chatto, in the last decade but her legacy lives on at the gardens in Elmstead Market.  Under the leadership of Beth’s granddaughter, Julia, the business has expanded, including a fabulous tearoom, gift shop and, most recently, an Education Centre.  Courses and workshops on gardening (of course) but also art and wellbeing, are held in the new eco-built Willow Room, overlooking the famous gardens.  Places are still available so book now for 2021 here 

5) The Colchester gallery, Firstsite, has gone from strength to strength in recent times exhibiting a range of challenging contemporary art as well as becoming a much-loved community hub.  Recent exhibitions include local and international artists including Elsa James, Anthony Gormley and Chelmsford boy, Grayson Perry.   Doing a ‘Rashford’ they now provide free, nutritious meals to families on low incomes in the school holidays as part of their Holiday Fun programme

6) A great British success story, Essex company Wilkins & Sons, have branched out into tea rooms in recent times and have opted for the more unusual locations such the medieval Cressing Temple Barns and Barleylands Farm.  The tractor/trailer tour around the fruit farm at Tiptree brought in thousands of new visitors in 2018/9 and, most importantly of all, they’ve started making GIN!  Try their delicious fruit gins including damson, raspberry, strawberry and, yes, it is a fruit, rhubarb! 

7) We had hardly heard of it ten years ago, but Glamping is all the rage these days and where better to take a break outdoors than in the driest county in the UK?  A Shepherd Hut, Grain Silo and a Mongolian Yurt are three unusual buildings transformed into luxury glamping pods by the Browning Brothers who were inspired into business through building dens in Teybrook Orchard, on the family farm when they were boys.  Check out them and more Essex glamping here.  

8) Saffron Walden has become the place to be seen these last few years with Bridge End Gardens, The Fry Art Gallery and Saffron Walden Museum being must-see attractions.  Nearby Audley End remains the perfect Jacobean manor house it has always been but the attraction has grown to encompass interactive experiences and acres more family fun.  Audley End Miniature Railway, across the lane, now delights thousands more visitors each year thanks to the Enchanted Fairy Walk and brilliant Halloween and Christmas, covid-secure events. 

9) Vineyards are a recent success story in Essex with numerous successful businesses established in the county in the last decade.  Good soil and our dry, mild, maritime climate provide a near perfect environment for growing vines and English wine has come on leaps and bounds, in fact, most connoisseurs rate quality English sparkling wine up there with good Champagne. Another one of Essex’s well-kept secrets, discover our wonderful vineyards here.

10) Opened in 2015, Chelmsford City Racecourse is one of the busiest racecourses in the UK, thanks to its all-weather track allowing racing in all conditions.  Chelmsford City hosted 59 fixtures in 2020 and routinely attracts some of the most successful trainers and jockeys in the world.  Horses running at Chelmsford go on to Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood and many other major international racing festivals. 

Related

Beth Chatto's Plants & Gardens
Garden
Beth Chatto Garden

Covering 6 acres, these beautiful gardens and nursery were created by award-winning plantswoman Beth Chatto.

Firstsite
Art Gallery
The Firstsite building - shown from the outside

Firstsite is an international gallery and creative community space. See the world differently – experience the very best art and culture from around the world that inspires, empowers and opens your mind.

Escape Live Southend
Escape Rooms
Escape Live Southend

Escape Games are the newest and most exciting form of Team Building. Suitable for all ages and will spark an interest with people from all backgrounds and abilities.

Jump Street Colchester
Indoor Pursuits Centre
Jump Street

Jump Street trampoline parks offer jump sessions in Essex, suitable for both adults & children. Jump Street is based both in Colchester & in Chelmsford, also offering adult fitness classes, toddler sessions, special needs support sessions.

Marks Hall Estate
Garden
The Fairhurst Family enjoying The Wild Wood at Marks Hall Estate © Marks Hall Estate

Discover North Essex's best kept secret. Marks Hall Estate is a beautiful heritage landscape that extends to over 2,350 acres of Essex countryside. Enjoy a year-round events programme, stunning walks, adventures in The Wild Wood play area, seasonal produce in our cafe, and much more.

The Tiptree Tea Room, Museum & Jam Shop
Tea Room
Tiptree Tearoom

The Tiptree Tea Room, Museum & Jam Shop is open seven days a week, closing only for the Christmas break. The Tea Room offers traditional table service in comfortable surroundings.

Bridge End Garden
Garden
The Dutch Garden in Bridge End Garden

Bridge End Garden was laid out by the Gibson family in the nineteenth century and is open to the public each day free of charge. Recently restored back to its former glory.

Teybrook Orchard
Glamping
Teybrook Orchard

Glamping site / events space / wedding venue with quirky outdoor accommodation and a large tent with furniture/ dance floor. Fully equipped kitchen with outdoor pizza oven.

Audley End House and Gardens
Historic House
Audley End House and Gardens

Visit Essex's hidden treasure house to explore delightful gardens and acres of parkland and experience the upstairs and downstairs life of one of England’s grandest houses. Discover its staterooms, nursery and fascinating artefacts and meet our resident horses in the Victorian stableyard.

Chelmsford City Racecourse
Racecourse
Chelmsford City Racecourse

As Britain's newest racecourse, Chelmsford City is one of only three floodlit courses in the country, providing good quality racing and a fun and lively atmosphere all year round.

Audley End Miniature Railway
Miniature Railway
Audley End Miniature Railway

The Audley End Miniature Railway and Enchanted Fairy and Elf Walk is a family fun day out near Saffron Walden, Essex full of innocent fun and imagination

Saffron Walden Museum
Museum
Saffron Walden Museum

Friendly, family-size museum. Exhibits include moccasins, mummy cases, woolly mammoths and Wallace the Lion! Meadow for picnics with castle ruins. Winner Best Museum of social history. Accessible for disabled visitors.

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