Places to visit in Essex

Whether you love getting active, prefer a gentler pace, or simply want to be wowed by wildlife, you will be spoilt for choice in this spectacular county.

Close up of the exterior of Bourne Mill

Bourne Mill

A delightful piece of late Elizabethan playfulness, built for banquets and converted into a mill in the 19th century. Set in tranquil grounds, still with its own working waterwheel, it's the perfect place to start your exploration of the Essex countryside.

Couple with a black and white spaniel look out across the grey, green and brown salt marsh

Copt Hall Marshes

Under leaden skies with a face full of wind there's nowhere like Copt Hall for refreshing the mind and blowing away the cobwebs.

Couple walking with their dog on Danbury Common, Essex.

Danbury Commons and Blake's Wood

The second largest area of commonland in Essex after Epping Forest, the open landscape at Danbury and Lingwood Common is great for long walks and wildlife spotting. As is Blake's Wood, another of Essex's hidden gems. This ancient woodland is colourful all year round.

Eastbury Manor House, an Elizabethan gentry house. It is one of London’s hidden architectural gems.

Eastbury Manor House

After being the country house of gentry families for the earlier part of its history, by the 18th and 19th centuries, Eastbury Manor House was inhabited by a succession of tenants such as yeoman farmers, butchers and graziers.

Male volunteer stands in gateway. Grange Barn is in the background with black weatherboarding and orange roof tiles

Grange Barn

Built by the monastery at Coggeshall, this 13th century barn is one of the largest medieval timber-framed building in Europe, with oak timbers soaring into a cathedral-like roof. The sheer size of the construction is one to marvel.

View of the pastures and oak trees beside the street coppice at sunset in Hatfield Forest

Hatfield Forest

With owners from kings to commoners, this medieval hunting forest is home to ancient trees over 1000 years old. Peaceful giants - just imagine what these magnificent living sculptures have lived through and the stories they could tell. Explore at your leisure and keep your eyes peeled for fallow deer.

A boat sits alone next to Northey Island causeway as the tide comes in

Northey Island

The closest you'll get to true wilderness in Essex. This remote island in the Blackwater Estuary is the site of the oldest recorded battlefield in Britain.

Paycocke's is a half-timbered 16th century merchant's house

Paycocke's House and Garden

With its richly decorated exterior and stunning carved ceiling, this wealthy merchhant's house was a medieval des res built to impress. Follow the changing fortunes over a 500 year period and enjoy the tranquil cottage garden whilst you're there.

Boy looking at a boat in a bath tub

Rainham Hall

Step inside Rainham Hall, which has re-opened following a £2.5 million conservation project. This charming house is one of the country’s finest examples of an early 18th century merchant’s home.

Two girls running down the grassy slope at Rayleigh Mount

Rayleigh Mount

An early medieval motte and bailey castle site, Rayleigh Mount is now an urban wildlife haven and offers sweeping views across the Crouch Valley.