6 great things to do in West Essex in September
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Where did summer go?! It’s nearly autumn and it’s time to switch gears, shake off lockdown and explore the best of West Essex...
1. Wanstead Vintage Fair (5 September)
It was supposed to be taking place on May 30, but like so many things, this year’s Wanstead Vintage Fair ended up being cancelled. It was particularly jarring for Karen Stuckley, who’d just taken over as organiser and was pulling out all the stops for what was the event’s 10th anniversary. Well, the good news is, it’s back for a belated birthday celebration on September 5 (10.30am-4.30pm, entry £2.50, or £4 for first dibs early bird entry at 9.30am) at the recently refurbished Wanstead United Reformed Church, with its beautiful stained glass windows and blonde wooden floors. Expect the usual two halls full of a huge variety of genuine vintage items - from fashion, furniture and jewellery to books, posters and vinyl... something for everyone. Measures are being put in place to ensure both stallholders and visitors are kept safe, so no excuse not to go and bag yourself a pre-loved bargain.
Nightingale Lane, Wanstead E11 2HD; lovevintage.co.uk
2. Visit the Vulcan Day at Southend Airport (20 September)
For a family day out with a difference, jump in the car and head to Southend Airport on September 20 where it’s Visit the Vulcan Day. You don’t have to be an aerophile to appreciate the many attributes of the delta-wing bomber, XL426, which served in the Royal Airforce from 1962 to 1986. After many years in storage, she is now lovingly tended by the Vulcan Restoration Trust, which, pandemic aside, regularly wheels her out to show what an incredible feat of design and engineering she still is.
Eastwoodbury Cres, Southend-on-Sea SS2 6YF; vrovulcan.com
3. Aqua Bounce, Fairlop Waters (ongoing)
Forget watching repeats of Total Wipeout, because now you can experience the thrills and spills of negotiating giant, water-bound inflatables for yourself with the re-opening of Aqua Bounce. It’s strictly pre-booking only though at the Fairlop Waters-based floating obstacle course, and social distancing measures mean reduced capacity. But once in, you can enjoy even greater access to those inflatables, climbing walls, rope swings and slides. Prices start at £15 and includes free wetsuit hire because not falling into the water isn’t an option!
Fairlop Waters, Forest Road, Barkingside, Ilford IG6 3HN; aquabounceuk.co.uk
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4. Epping Bowls Club (ongoing)
It’s good news for lovers of lawn bowling, with Epping Bowls Club recently re-opening its doors. Returning members were treated to the sight of a spruced up clubhouse, while the out-buildings have undergone something of a makeover too. The work was undertaken during the height of lockdown thanks to a £200 donation from the Epping Rotary Club. Founded in 1911, and based in Lower Bury Lane, the club has always prided itself on its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and is hoping to attract new people to the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete novice or an experienced hand, Epping Bowls Club would love to hear from you.
Epping Sports Club, Lower Bury Lane, Epping CM16 5HA; eppingbowlsclub.co.uk
5. Wild Wood at Marks Hall Estate (until 30 September)
Building dens from foraged sticks, skipping over pine stepping stones, climbing through lime, and see-sawing on an oak - these are just some of the delights that await visitors, young and old, at the Marks Hall Estate in Coggeshall. It’s thanks to the efforts of the arboretum team who have been busy creating Wild Wood, a new space for families to discover, explore and play in, using all natural materials taken directly from the estate. Sure, it’s a little further afield, but it’s worth it.
Coggeshall, Colchester CO6 1TG; markshall.org.uk
6. Garden Afternoon at Copped Hall, Epping (6 September)
It’s a gob-smacking fact, but by the 1950s, historic mansions were being demolished at a rate of one every two and a half days, so it’s nothing short of a miracle (borne from tireless campaigning and hard graft) that Copped Hall, near Epping, escaped the developers clutches. Having recently re-opened its doors after lockdown, the Grade II-listed Georgian house will be hosting its Monthly Garden Afternoon on September 6, the very last of the year. Open 2pm-5pm (last entry at 4pm). Entry is £6pp.
Crown Hill, Epping CM16 5HS; coppedhalltrust.org.uk