17 things to do in Essex this Easter

Easter at Audley End Miniature Railway

Easter at Audley End Miniature Railway - Credit: Audley End Miniature Railway

From egg hunts to magic shows, there's a host of fun things to do this Easter. Here Essex Life picks out the best Easter-time activities on in Essex. 

1. Marks Hall Easter Family Trail, Coggeshall

Marks Hall is setting you a challenge, so are you up for it? Can you find all 50 wooden Easter egg clues in the arboretum? See the estate in full spring bloom as you try and complete the family trail and collect your delicious treat. 

Date: April 2-24; 10am-4.30pm

Cost: from £8/£4.30 adult/child; concessions available

Address: Marks Hall Estate, Coggeshall, Colchester CO6 1TG

Website: markshall.org.uk

2. Warley Place Spring Bulb Spectacular, Brentwood 

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Spring has arrived at Essex Wildlife Trust’s Warley Place and there is something special to enjoy. With daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses, this a great place to escape into nature and get lost within the beauty. There will be volunteers on-site to answer any questions you may have about Ellen Willmott’s historic garden, its unusual plants, trees and the building’s remains.

Date: February 26-April 10; 10.30am-4.30pm

Cost: £5

Address: Warley Place, 9 Dark Lane, Great Warley, Brentwood CM14 5LN

Website: essexwt.org.uk

3. Spring at Bridge End Gardens, Saffron Walden

March & April  
Enjoy the spring season at Bridge End Gardens over the Easter holidays and observe beauty at its finest. It is open every day, but during Covid restrictions, The Victorian hedge maze and adjacent walled garden within Bridge End Garden will remain closed to the public; all other areas will be open to explore. It’s the perfect excuse to stretch your legs.

Date: March & April

Cost: Free

Address: Bridge End Gardens, 17-22 Castle Street, Saffron Walden CB10 1BE

Website: visitsaffronwalden.gov.uk

4. Wizard of Oz Panto, Harlow

A pantomime show at Easter? Join leading creative venue and KD Theatre Productions for its classic family-friendly pantomime, The Wizard of Oz. This spectacular story will keep you entertained from start to finish with its jam-packed show of jokes, larger-than-life characters, dance routines, and flamboyant scenery. Join Dorothy as she embarks on an adventure over the rainbow where along the way she makes new friends with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the cowardly Lion. But will Dorothy find her way home with the Wicked Witch of the West watching her every move?  

Date: April 1-5

Cost: From £14/12 adult/concession

Address: Playhouse Square, Harlow, CM20 1LS

Website: harlowplayhouse.co.uk 

5. Essex Wildlife Trust School Holiday Drop-Off Days, Essex-wide

Essex Wildlife Trust is offering drop-off days for children five upwards, led by an experienced education officer. Your little ones will make shelters, climb trees and make natural crafts within the trust’s beautiful reserves, including Ingrebourne Forest School , Bedfords Park and Abbotts Hall Farm. Each session aims to build confidence, enhance self-esteem and develop the social skills of your children.  Pre-booking is essential. 

Date: Varies

Cost: £25 

Website: essexwt.org.uk

6. Feeringbury Manor Gardens Open Day, Feering 

Keep your eyes peeled this Easter break as there are many garden openings across the county, including at Feeringbury Manor. What better way to spend a beautiful afternoon in a peaceful 10-acre garden among the River Blackwater and ponds. The gardens will be open every Thursday and Friday throughout April (and beyond), so expect to see stunning tulips and other brightly attractive plants. 

Date: Various dates April 1-23; 10am-4pm

Cost: £6

Address: Feeringbury Manor, Coggeshall Road, Feering CO5 9RB

Website: ngs.org.uk

7. Explore Beth Chatto Gardens, Colchester

Wander and get lost in the beautiful, award-winning gardens of Beth Chatto Gardens this Easter weekend. For those who didn’t know, these world-renowned gardens were once transformed from desolate wasteland and are now a series of stunning gardens, providing a great place to embrace peace and enjoy the tranquil surrounding alone or with a loved one. The majority of the internationally-famous gardens are open throughout the spring season.

Date: April 15-18

Cost:  £12.50/£3.50 adult/child; concessions available

Address: Elmstead Market, Clacton Road, Colchester CO7 7DB

Website: bethchatto.co.uk

8. Spring Joust at Hedingham Castle, Halstead

This Easter, Hedingham Castle is mixing it up, and instead of the regular Easter trail, the castle is hosting a medieval joust, for something a little bit different. Step back in time to enjoy a host of activities including falconry, music and archery. The jousts take place at 12pm and 3pm, and no dogs allowed.

Date: April 17-19; 10am-4pm

Cost: £17.50/£13 adult/child; concessions and group tickets available

Address: Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham, Halstead CO9 3DJ

Website: hedinghamcastle.co.uk

9. Dinosaur World Live, Chelmsford

A roarsome experience for the entire family, Dinosaur World Live is a interactive show that takes audience into an intrepid pre-historic world. Triceratops, Segnosaurus and Microraptor all make an appearance, as does the mighty T-Rex, and there's a chance to say hello to them after the show. 

Date: April 15-17; Friday 1.30pm &4pm; Sat & Sun 11am & 2pm

Cost: From £14

Address: Chelmsford Civic Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford CM1 1JG

Website: chelmsford.gov.uk

10. Visit The Gibberd Garden, Harlow

The Gibberd Garden reopens for the spring season on April 3, in time for getting out and about on the Easter weekend. This beautiful garden, brimming with plants, trees and sculptures, was created by Sir Frederick Gibberd. For those who are not familiar with him, he had a major influence on the development of Harlow New Town.

Opening Hours: Wednesday and Sundays 2pm-5pm

Cost: £5/£4 full/concession

Address: Marsh Lane, Harlow CM17 0NA

Website: thegibberdgarden.co.uk 

11. Audley End Miniature Railway Easter Special, Saffron Waldon  

Audley End Miniature Railway in Saffron Walden returns with its Easter spectacular! From April 2-18 it will be hosting a variety of fun activities for everyone! The adventure will begin on its miniature train which will ride deep into the enchanted woods to visit the Easter Bunny and his furry friends. On your route through the magical woods, your next stop will be The Easter Trail. Here, you can wander through various pathways to spot springtime animals, nests, and eggs! However, the fun doesn’t end there- kids can visit the play area and nature corner, whilst parents can tuck into delicious refreshments.  

Date: April 2-18

Cost: £17; concessions available

Address: Audley End Miniature Railway, Saffron Walden CB11 4JB

Website: audley-end-railway.co.uk 

12. Easter Festival at Old MacDonald's Farm & Fun Park, Brentwood

The Old MacDonald's Farm team have put on an eggsellent programme of fun family things to do this April. naturally, there's an egg hunt, as well as magic shows, puppetry and circus workshops too. And, of course, there are baby animal encounters to be have, so it's your chance to cuddle up next to something cute. 

Date: April 2-18; 10am-5pm

Cost: from £16.50/£15.50 adult/child

Address: Weald Road, Brentwood CM14 5AY

Website: omdfarm.co.uk

13. Easter at Barleylands Farm Park, Billericay

Barleylands Farm Park will be hosting a variety of Easter activities full of exhilarating fun for all. Come and join the farm to see all its new spring life, including adorable baby chicks, bunnies, ducklings, lambs and kid goats. It is a great way to spend some special family time while feeding and patting the farm’s baby animals. In addition to cuddling cute animals, there will be springtime crafts and lamb bottle feeding too. 

Date: April 2-18; 10am-5pm

Cost: £15.50/£55 adult & child/family

Address: Barleylands Farm Park, Barleylands Road, Billericay CM11 2UD

Website: barleylands.co.uk 

14. Hylands House Farmers’ & Craft Market, Hylands House

Hylands House Farmers’ & Craft Market starts up again this month and will have an excellent array of market stalls for you to explore. They will be offering handmade goods and delicious treats that have been grown, brewed, baked or crafted by a range of independent stallholders.

Date: Sunday, April 10; 10am-4pm

Address: Hylands Estate, London Road, Writtle, Chelmsford CM2 8WQ

Website: hylandsestate.co.uk 

15. English Heritage Easter Adventure Quests, Audley End

English Heritage are putting on Easter adventure quests across its sites, including Audley End House. There's a egg hunt, filled with clues and challenges, as well as traditional Easter games like egg rolling and the egg and spoon race. And of course, there's chocolate treats and an adventurer's certificate on competition. 

Date: Saturday 2-24; 10am-5pm

Cost: £21/£12.60 adult/child concessions & group tickets available,  plus £1.50 for a quest. 

Address: Off London Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4JF

Website: english-heritage.org.uk

16. Easter events at Essex Wildlife Trust

Looking to entertain the children during this Easter? The Essex Wildlife Trust is hosting a variety of events across its sites, including invasive species archery in Ingrebourne, Fingringhoe Wick’s den building and fires, pond dipping in Abberton, and a wildlife wanders walk in Belfairs. 

Date: April 1-30

Websiteessexwt.org.uk/events

17. Bam Bam's Kids Easter Show, Braintree

Graeme Mathews from Britain's got talent is putting on an Easter show full of fun and jokes. The Essex magician and funny man has a whole bag of trick up his sleeve, or hidden in his hat, to woo and amaze young audiences with. 

Date: April 14; 11am & 2pm

Cost: £2.50/£7.50 adult/child

Address: 15 Bocking End, Braintree, CM7 9AE

Website: bockingartstheatre.com

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