11 things to do in Essex this summer in August

The Clacton Anniversary Wheel

The Clacton Anniversary Wheel - Credit: Anthony Allston

Discover a fabulous selection of events and activities to enjoy on a day out in Essex this summer...

Summer Events, Hedingham Castle, Halstead 
With imaginative open-air theatre, dramatic outdoor cinema screenings and a magical escape room at the top of the Keep, there is something for everyone at the historic Hedingham estate this summer. In July, join the best of East Anglian arts at the EA Festival featuring music, literature, comedy and art, as well as an artisan market of local producers and crafts. August welcomes the Classic & Vintage Car Show while the Knights of Middle England return to battle for a fabulous Bank Holiday Weekend of jousting, falconry and family fun. 
From July 13; times vary; Hedingham Castle, Halstead, CO9 3DJ; hedinghamcastle.co.uk 

Hedingham Castle

Hedingham Castle - Credit: Michael Anderson at Broad House Media

Summer Fun at Colchester Castle 
One of the most popular family attractions in the East of England, Colchester Castle is full of fascinating history. As Europe’s largest Norman Keep, inside you will find over 2,500 years of history packed into this historic building, with many nationally important objects including finds from Roman Colchester and Britain’s first capital. This year, don’t miss the castle’s new exhibition - Decoding The Roman Dead (24 July until 1 January 2022) - which unveils the hidden stories of Colchester’s earliest inhabitants. 
From July; times vary; Colchester Castle, CO1 1TJ; colchester.cimuseums.org.uk

A Roman cremation vessel that is part of Decoding The Roman Dead

A Roman cremation vessel that is part of Decoding The Roman Dead - Credit: Douglas Atfield

Macbeth, Hylands House, Chelmsford 
For one night only in the open-air, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men invite you to join them for a, ‘play of supernatural magic, vaulting ambition and an examination of the dreadful consequences of the insatiable lust of power’. Bring a chair, sit back and enjoy while you are transported back to watching Shakespeare in the open air as it would have first been performed. 
Wednesday, August 11; doors open at 6pm; admission: £8-£16; Hyands House, London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 8WQ; hylandsestate.co.uk   

Heritage Live, Audley End House, Saffron Walden 
Heritage Live concerts are staged at some of England’s most beautiful and culturally significant venues, including the beautiful Audley End House and Gardens which will serve as a stunning backdrop for a catalogue of incredible stars. This August Van Morrison, Boy George & Culture Club, James Blunt and the Heritage Proms with Russell Watson and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra will be putting on a show to remember with some extra special guests.  
Thursday, August 12 - Monday, August 16; admission: prices vary; gates open at 4 pm; Audley End House and Gardens, Saffron Walden, CB11 4JF; heritagelive.net 

The Jungle Book, Marks Hall Estate Coggeshall  
Looking for the perfect treat for the whole family to enjoy? What better way than to watch a larger-than-life family musical, The Jungle Book, set amongst the beautiful nature at Marks Hall Estate. What are you waiting for? Join Mowgli and his friends on a madcap jungle adventure as they meet and attempt to outwit a slithering snake, some cheeky monkeys, and the fierce tiger. 
Saturday, August 21; 1.30pm to 4pm; admission prices vary; Marks Hall Estate Coggeshall, CO6 1TG; markshall.org.uk 

Smoke & Fire Festival, Colchester Castle Park
The UK’s largest BBQ Festival welcome’s everyone for a weekend of fire, fun and flavour. The three-day event will feature the first British Open BBQ Championships, Oasish (top Oasis tribute act), plus the chance to watch and learn from some of the most skilled and experienced fire cooks and BBQ pitmasters with live demonstrations, masterclasses and tasters. There will also be award-winning street food traders and exhibitors from around the world, competitions, live music and children’s entertainment. This festival will be raising much-needed funds for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance. 
August 20-22; admission prices vary; Colchester Castle Park, C011UG; smokeandfirefestival.com 

Enjoy the tastes of the Smoke & Fire Festival

Enjoy the tastes of the Smoke & Fire Festival - Credit: soupstock - stock.adobe.com

Open Day, The Forgotten Gardens of Easton Lodge, Dunmow 
There is always something to see at the delightful gardens of Easton Lodge, but this Grade II listed garden is celebrating with a special open day. This is a great opportunity to wander the stunning surroundings and immerse yourself in nature. There will be locally sourced bacon, cheese or hummus rolls; homemade cakes; and hot and cold drinks available. 
Sunday, August 22; 11am-4pm; admission prices vary; Easton Lodge, Dunmow, CM6 2BD; eastonlodge.co.uk 

Essex Sausage and Cider Music Festival, Barleylands Farm, Billericay 
Returning for its fifth year running, this Essex Sausage and Cider Music Festival is bigger than ever, hosting some of the best tribute acts from around the world and a very special Bolddog Freestyle Motor X Team performance. There will be incredible activities, including baby/toddler music, kids yoga and a silver parachute display. Also, an extra day has been added before the festival commences for a 90s concert with headliners Vengaboys and supported by other famous 90s acts – the real thing, not tributes.  
August 27-29; Barleylands Farm, Billericay, CM11 2UD; barleylands.co.uk 

Parkfest, Great Notley 
PARC (Essex) invites you to get your boogie on and bring your good vibes for its first Parkfest. There will be live music from The PARC House Band with special guests, a fully licensed bar, food, cars and motorbikes, funfair attractions and more. This event will help raise money and awareness for PARC (Essex), a registered children's charity based in the beautiful setting of Great Notley Country Park that provides support and play opportunities for children with additional and special educational needs. 
Sunday, August 29; PARC (Essex), Play & Resource Centre, Great Notley, CM77 7FS; eventbrite.co.uk 

Raver Tots Festival, Southend on Sea
This is said to be the biggest-ever family-friendly raver and festival brand event in the UK and it is coming to Essex. An exhilarating day out for the whole family, not just the kids. There will be well-known DJ’s playing big tunes to dance to, funfair rides, play areas, inflatables, big top tents with a full raver tots production, giant parachute games, fancy dress, multi-sensory fun and activities for all ages - the list is endless.  
Monday, August 30; 12pm-5pm; admission prices vary; Garon Park, Southend on Sea, SS2 4FA; ravertots.co.uk

Raver Tots goes live

Raver Tots goes live - Credit: Courtesy of Raver Tots

Clacton on Sea 150th anniversary
To mark the town’s official 150th anniversary a brand new 30-meter Ferris wheel has been installed on Clacton Pavilion to offer visitors spectacular views of the Tendring coast, but the celebrations don’t stop there. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has funded a seafront heritage trail in Tendring, from Jaywick Sands to Holland Haven, which will cover five miles of stunning coastline and includes innovative technology to help bring it to life. There are plenty of other projects and events to enjoy too, including the Octopus Ahoy! art trail which offers the chance to visit fantastic art creations in parks, on streets and in open spaces across the region, with prizes to be won if you know what to look out for! 
On until September 5; octopusahoy.co.uk