By Andreea Szasz
The long weekend is finally here, and so are our top tips for things to do in Essex.
Let’s hope the weather will be on our side!
Off the beaten track
What: An event for all Mountain Bike enthusiasts. It has two aspects: ‘Mountain Bike Challenge’ and the ‘Family Explorer Trail’. Both events will offer a varied terrain with a mixture of off road tracks including flat out fast tracks, wooded and open sections and technical sections.
The ‘Mountain Bike Challenge’ will feature one lap heats lasting around 15 to 20 minutes with a maximum of 20 people per heat. The riders from each group will then be split into A and B group finals of 2-3 laps with the top three entries from each final receiving a prize.
The ‘Family Explorer Trail’ is open to all ages and is a real adventure trail marked with arrows and includes mini challenges with prizes available.
When: Saturday, 29 April
Where: Hedingham Road, Halstead, Essex
Cost: ‘Mountain Bike Challenge’: only over 16’s- a £20.00 per person.
‘Family Explorer Trail’: £15.00 for adults and £10.00 for under 16’s or a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children) are £40.00.
What: The Medieval Siege Society make a very welcome return to Hedingham with armed men, archers, siege engines, living history camps and bloodthirsty mayhem.
Highlights of the Medieval Siege Society’s programme are: 11am – Trebuchet Display, 11.30am – Gunnery Display, 12:00 – Skirmish, 1pm – Archery display, 2.30pm Men at Arms, 3.30pm – Muster, 4pm – Main Battle! Surrounding these events will be Falconry at 12.30pm and 3pm, and the birds will be on display all day; Jester shows, wonderful period music from Wyldes Noyse, and you can meet the band and join in at 2 o’clock. Have a go with a bow with the Norfolk Longbow Men throughout the day, learn the traditional dance of the Maypole, go on a treasure hunt, take a tour of the Castle and visit the craft and food stalls, or picnic by the lake. It’s a great day out for all the family!
When: Sunday 30th and Monday 1st May, from 10am to 5pm
Where: Hedingham Castle
Cost: Families £42, Adults £14, Under 18s £10, Under 5s £0, Over 65s £12.50
10% off listed ticket price if booked on line!
Relive the second world war
What: VE Weekend at the Royal Gunpowder Mills promises a fantastic array of living history set in 170 acres of spectacular woodland, with various WW2 battle re-enactments, a 1940’s street party with fantastic food and Spitfire display!
When: Saturday 29 April 2017 to Monday 1 May 2017- open from 10am-5pm (last entry 3pm)
Where: Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1JY
Cost: Adult (16-60 years): £10.50
Child (3-15years, under 3 Free): £8.50
Concession (over 60 years or full-time student): £9.00
Disabled & Carers (per person): £9.00
Family ticket (2 adult & 2 children): £34.20
A fantastic garden at Ulting Wick
What: An amazing occasion to enjoy the nature with your family or friends and walk in this beautiful and colourful garden. Listed black barns provide backdrop for colourful and exuberant planting in 8 acres. Thousands of tulips, flowing innovative spring planting, herbaceous borders, pond, mature weeping willows, kitchen garden. Light refreshments, home-made soup using ingredients from the garden and filled rolls will be available to enjoy.
When: Sunday 30 April. Open from 11am-5pm
Where: Crouchmans Farm Road, Maldon CM9 6QX
Cost: Admission £5.oo
Peppa Pig on the rails
What: The first ‘Character days’ is organised at Epping Ongar Railway. It will be a great day out for all the family – especially the younger ones.
During the day there will be Peppa Pig and George appearances at: 10:30 – 11:10, 11:30 – 12:10, 12:30 – 13:10, 13:30 – 14:10, and 14:30 – 15:00
As well as a fantastic and challenging muddy puzzle hunt, this means that children will have the opportunity to jump in muddy puddles just like Peppa, George and their friends while they are searching for four large vegetables that Peppa has hidden.
The colouring competition will offer the possibility to win a family ticket for use later in 2017- including Postman Pat, PAW Patrol and The Gruffalo days.
Alongside with Kids’ Market and Face Painting offer as well a great deal of fun and sweets.
When: Saturday 29th April 2017 and Sunday 30th April 2017- earliest entry: 9.30am
Where: Epping Ongar Railway, Station Road, off High Street, Ongar Parking: CM5 9AB
Cost: Adults: £13.00
Child (3-15yrs): £7.00
Family (2adults+up to 3 children): £34.00
Tudor May Day at Kentwell Hall
What: Celebrate May Day with music, dancing, plays and processions with over 100 of our costumed ‘Tudors’ and activities for the whole family to join in with. The House, Gardens and Farm are also open for visiting. You can also join the Storybook Trail in the Gardens and the Heffalump Hunt down the Farm.
When: Saturday 29th April 2017 to BH Monday 1st May 2017
Where: Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, CO10 9BA
Cost: Adult ticket: £16.75
Senior ticket (60+): £15.75
Child ticket (5-15yrs): £12.75
Family ticket (2adults+2 children): £57.00
Price reductions apply if you book your ticket online at least 24 hours before you visit
Duxford car shows
What: A fantastic day out for the whole family, explore hundreds of contemporary and classic cars at the Duxford Spring Car Show and the Duxford Summer Motor Fest.
Presented by the clubs and owners themselves, models from famous manufacturers will be on display.
Browse a great range of food & drink and retail stalls and make the most of your bank holiday weekend.
When: Sunday 30th April 2017
Where: IWM Duxford
Cost with Giftaid: Adult £18.00
Child (5-15yrs, under5’s FREE): £9.00
Family tickets: – 1 adult, 2 children: £30.60
- 2 adults,2 children: £45.90
- 2 adults,3 children: £53.55
Concessions (senior/student/disabled): £14.40
Cycle for charity
What: Enjoy yourself while helping young adults (aged 16-40) with life limiting and life threatening conditions and their families across Essex.
The popular cycle ride, Pedal for The J’s, returns to Chelmsford for the 8th year. You have the opportunity to cycle 15, 35 or 50 mile routes in the beautiful Essex countryside, so it’s the perfect event for both experienced cyclists and amateurs. This year we are adding a new 2 mile Pedal in the Park off-road route especially for younger children on their bikes, trikes and scooters so they don’t miss out on the fun either.
When: Sunday 30th April 2017
Start times for each route:
50 mile – between 8am-9am
35 & 15 mile – between 9am-11am
2 mile – between 11.15am -12.15pm
Where: Admirals Park, Chelmsford, CM1 2LY
Cost: Adults £25.00
Child (under 16 years) £12.00
Registration for all routes opens at 8am. All participants must wear cycle helmets.
Bulldogs on parade
What: The third annual Bulldog Bananza, the dog lover’s favourite event is here. You can have a walk in Bouncy Castle, or take part in the KC Companion Dog Show, Tombola, Breed Rescues, or buy food or drinks from BBQ & Bar, or by after your preferences from Various Stalls and Antiques Shops. Enjoy all these together with your best friend, your dog.
When: Sunday 30th April, 2017, 11:00 – 16:00
Where: Battlesbridge Antiques Centre, Muggeridge Road, Battlesbridge
Cost: Admission: £3.00
Kids under 15: Free
All dogs welcome
Horses through history
What: Meet merry monarch Charles II for a horse race with a difference, greet the Georgian hounds, and be in the audience for a lively Victorian gymkhana. Take in the sights and sounds of living history across the grounds as well as touring the Victorian stable yard with resident experts. With military skills from the King’s Lifeguards and dressage displays in the stable yard, the best of horsemanship will be on show this bank holiday weekend.
When: Sunday 30th April 2017 and BH Monday 1st May 2017, 10.30am-5pm
Where: Audley End House and Gardens, Saffron Walden
Cost: Adult: £17.73
Child (5-15yrs): £10.89
Robin Hood Country Show
What: The annual 2-day Robin Hood Country Show is the region’s largest family event, held on the event fields of the Brentwood Centre.
The show features a vast selection of entertainment, shopping and displays for all the family to enjoy – we even have fun and games for your dog in the All About Dogs section.
When: Sunday 30th April 2017 and BH Monday 1st May 2017
Where: Brentwood Centre, Brentwood CM15 9NN
Cost: Adult: £12.00
Ongar May Fayre
What: Ongar in Bloom have organised a traditional small town May Fayre with homemade teas and cakes, plus lunches in the Victorian Budworth Hall in the middle of the High Street. Bric-brac, raffle, local honey, children tattoos and more can be tried out.
When: BH Monday 1st May 2017, 10am to 2:30pm
Where: Budworth Hall High Street Chipping Ongar