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.

Family walking dogs

Which places are open and what you need to know before you visit 

We’ve opened more than 100 gardens and parks in England and Northern Ireland through advanced booking. From Monday 6 July, we’re gradually opening gardens and parklands in Wales. Tickets are released on Friday for the following week. More than 200 coast and countryside car parks are open across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. All National Trust houses remain closed for now. Read this article to find out what's open and what to expect from your visit.

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

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.

The red poll cattle amongst the buutercups

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.

Northey Island on the Essex Coast

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.

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.