1. Colchester Zoo
Good for… Seeing exotic animals and monkeying around!
What it is… Colchester Zoo covers 60 acres and is home to more than 270 species.
Why you should go… You will be able to see in person some your favourite exotic animals, such as elephants and giraffes, as well as some other amazing animals that you may have never heard of before. If walking around this huge zoo works up an appetite, never fear - there are 10 different catering outlets on the grounds. Be sure to check out Colchester Zoo’s schedule, as they run fascinating events throughout the year.
Price: £14.24 (e-ticket) in the winter, or £18.99 for the rest of the year.
2. Electric Palace Cinema
Good for…Watching the latest flicks with friends in a retro environment.
What it is… Electric Palace is one of the oldest cinemas to survive through the years with its silent screen intact. Built in 1911, it still has its original frontage and projection room. The old pay box remains in the lobby and there is even a small stage for theatre productions.
Why you should go… Electric Palace shows regular movies at affordable prices; you can even book out the cinema for a private screening, if you so wish! Occasionally Electric Palace also hosts jazz and folk concerts, too.
Price: just £5 for students. When you compare this to chain cinema prices, it’s a steal.
3. RHS Garden: Hyde Hall
Good for… Taking a stroll in a beautiful environment.
What it is… A showcase of horticultural wonders, open to the public.
Why you should go… Hyde Hall is more than just a beautiful garden. It runs fantastic events throughout the year, such as cheese & wine evenings, creative workshops (so you can brush up on your gardening skills), and seasonal festivals. This is a great day out for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.
Price: £7.95, if you exclude Gift Aid (or free, if you have an RHS membership).
4. Audley End House and Gardens
Good for… Swotting up on your history.
What it is… Audley End House is an impressive 17 th century mansion.
Why you should go… This beautiful mansion house is a great place for walking and exploring. In their ‘Potting Shed’ you can purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers, grown in the organic gardens, and there’s plenty to see in the house too (who’d have thought it’s now only a third of its original size)?
Price: £13.90 with student discount (or free, if you have an English Heritage membership).
5. Palace Theatre
Good for… A night of culture and coastal fun.
What it is… Opened in 1912, the Palace Theatre has a variety of performances throughout the year, from theatre to concerts.
Why you should go… Palace Theatre runs shows throughout the year; keep an eye out for something that interests you and book in advance. It could be a lovely end to a seaside day out in Westcliff-on-Sea.
Price: prices range from £5 to £24 for concerts. It all depends on what you want to see!
6. Dedham Vineyard
Good for… Drinking wine, obv.
What it is… A vineyard open to public tours.
Why you should go… If you’re into your wines, this is a great day out. Not only do you get to roam around a British vineyard, but wine tasting is included in the £5 price. Dedham Vale also produces popular ciders and mead from the local honey! Delicious.
Price: £5 including tasting.
7. Mayhem Paintball
Good for… Living out your shoot-em-up dreams.
What it is… An exciting battleground adventure.
Why you should go… For a really active day out, paintballing at Mayhem is a great way to blow off some steam with your friends. Mayhem has no less than 15 themed playing areas, including a Call of Duty map. Live out your FPS dreams and get some great exercise too.
Price: £9.99 for the day fee. £6.99 for 100 paintballs or £30 for 500. Alternatively, there are pre-pay packages that include all of your equipment and lots of paintballs for the day – these prices start at £19.99.
8. Adventure Island
Good for… Getting that adrenaline pumping.
What it is… A theme park.
Why you should go… Thrill-seekers will love a day out at Adventure Island. There are lots of rides to choose from, depending on how daring you are. Many of the rides are designed for young children, but there are some real hair-raisers for older adrenaline junkies. Just make sure that you buy the right band to access your favourite features!
Price: depends on which bands you buy! Bands dictate which rides you can go on. Prices start from £11 and end at £21.
9. Ingatestone Hall
Good for… Exploring a piece of history.
What it is… A 16 th century house, still owned by the descendants of the noble Petre family.
Why you should go… Friendly guided tours are available when you book with the owners. Ingatestone Hall is only open at certain times of the year.
10. Clacton Pier
Good for… A day spent eating fish and chips on the beach!
What it is… A coastal walkway, studded with attractions.
Why you should go… Whatever the weather, Clacton Pier has a lot to offer. Not only will you be able to enjoy the bracing sea views, but there are also outdoor and indoor activities to try (including amusement rides, adventure golf, and a sea life aquarium). Make sure you try out their new bowling alley, complete with an American diner.
Price: as much or as little as you wish to pay, depending on what you want to do.
Top image via Wikimedia