Summer holidays activities

Essex County

With all legal COVID restrictions been lifted this Summer, we’ve compiled events from around Essex to help you keep the children entertained. Many have taken a hit to their social and emotional health so we must do all we can to help them cope and support their emotional needs. One way to do this is to keep our children busy- learning, moving, and doing.

We hope you and your children enjoy wonderful and safe days out this summer!

Please check  COVID-secure measures on individual website’s before attending, and notes changes to booking requirements, as the vast majority will require pre-booked tickets until the foreseeable future.


Essex ActivAte is the new holiday activity and food programme run by Active Essex in partnership with Essex County Council and funded by the Department for Education. This Summer, they will be delivering the biggest ever summer programme across the county. Book now onto clubs in your area

Essex Wildlife Trust  is recommencing outdoor learning and drop-off days such as forest school, dinosaur discovery and pound dipping events.

Junior parkrun is back– With 5k events returning in England on 24 July, 11-14 year olds will be able to walk, jog and run at junior events in England from and after 25th July: in Cudmore Grove, Great Notley, Hadleigh, Marsh Farm and Weald.

Summer Reading Challenge 2021 in all the libraries:  Sign up to read six books this summer as part of Wild World Heroes. To take part in the challenge, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library, where they will be given a collector folder to keep a record of their Summer Reading Challenge journey.

Walking routes in Essex – There are so many great walks throughout the beautiful Essex countryside, we’ve rounded up all the information you need.

Cycling in Essex – Many of us have found a new found love for cycling during lockdown, see a round up of cycling routes and activities on our dedicated page.

Essex Book Festival until 29th August – Essex Book Festival are running a series of four interactive creative writing workshops and guided tours at our parks and places as part of the Story Hunters project. There is also a writing competition so don’t forget to enter it.

50 things to do before you’re 5! The time you spend playing together will help them learn all sorts of things before they start school– from counting and writing, to exploring and making new friends.

Change 4 Life Disney FREE Activities: Change 4 Life has collaborated with Disney to create a huge selection of 10 minute shake ups to get our children active. Explore games themed around Toy Story 4, Frozen and Marvel!

Musical activities by Essex Music Service which is offering a wide range of musical activities to keep children busy. Costs are from £5 to £45. Workshops in song-writing, African drumming, singing and trying a new instrument. In addition to these face to face opportunities, there are also online music courses in Theory, GCSE and also Music Tech support. Click on the link to register now.


Barleylands Farmlympics– Until 5th September- Booking is essential

Barnards Miniature Railway– The gardens will be opening on Thursdays from 22nd April until the 2nd September. The railway will be open on the Thursdays during the school holidays.  Pre-booking is essential.

Summer SEND activities covering South Essex (Brentwood, Basildon, Billericay, Wickford, Castle Point and Rochford)

South Essex gymnastics club fun sessions Fun sessions run every half term and end of term. Children have to be over the age of 5 to attend but children aged 4 and above are able to attend on a Friday between 10am-12pm. Booking is essential.


Xplorer events -Explore the parks of Halstead, Witham or Bocking, find the markers, complete the challenge, have fun together!

Skate park events in Witham, Braintree and Halstead. Aimed at 13 to 19 year olds.

Summer holidays at Braintree Museum– From 28th July to 28th August- Space crafts which include movies, art, science and fun.  Activities are aimed at children aged 5  to 11.

Sky Ropes at Great Notley Country Park – With high ropes adventure courses to suit the whole family from tiny tots of two years to big kids and adults, Sky Ropes offers great, safe family fun. And why not make a day of it – tuck into lunch at Lily’s at Notley Cafe and explore the county’s longest adventure play trail.


Family Fun Days: Brentwood Centre is holding a series of family fun days throughout the summer from 23rd July to 27th August- Rides, sports activities, crafts and stalls. Most information to follow. Wristbands are £4 per child. Adults go free. Parking is limited so please try and walk or cycle where possible.

Brentwood Park Ski and Snowboard Centre– If your child is enthusiastic and wants to learn skiing or snowboarding, this is the perfect place to do it.

Summer SEND activities covering South Essex (Brentwood, Basildon, Billericay, Wickford, Castle Point and Rochford) which include cycling sessions for children, online activities for children and young people with any special needs or disabilities.

Gruffalo trail at Thorndon Country Park–  Discover the magic of the Deep Dark Wood with this self-led trail (around 45 min long) searching for the amazing hand-crafted carvings of Gruffalo characters. Buggy friendly, no booking required.

Castle Point

Active kids activities at Castle Point Leisure Centre.

Camp Epic – (Summer Holiday Activity Club) Camp Epic Started in 2014, as an alternative to soccer schools and theatre workshops, trying to give kids a whole range of different activities and making a camp that everyone loves.

Summer SEND activities covering South Essex (Brentwood, Basildon, Billericay, Wickford, Castle Point and Rochford)


City camps by Chelmsford  City Sports– a huge range of activities and games to burn off some of that energy!

Hyde Hall Wonderland– Until 31st August- Step into a garden adventure with Alice in Wonderland this summer

Kids holiday activities at Riverside Leisure Centre– From  22nd July to 31st August- Jam-packed Summer courses are the perfect holiday fun for kids aged 0 to 16. Get the most out of our holiday activities by reading the pre-course information before booking.

The School of Golf holiday courses-Golf camps are ideal for boys and girls who wish to experience playing golf during the school holidays. They are a unique and fun way to learn and improve golf skills, make new friends and have fun! Only half day camps currently running.


Decoding the Roman dead exhibition From 24th July 2021 to 6th Jan 2022 – Family-friendly exhibition where you will be able to discover more about Colchester’s Roman past and uncover stories surrounding those who lived and died here almost 2000 years ago!

Colchester United Football annual summer camps– From  26th to 30th July- Come and enjoy 5 days of fun filled football for all abilities with our UEFA & FA qualified coaches.

Colchester Natural History Museum– This popular family museum is back open again. Visitors can explore wildlife habitats, learn more about stag beetles (one of Colchester’s success stories!), discover more about the secrets of the drowned world beneath the North Sea, and immerse themselves in a day of interactive fun!

Summer holiday fun for kids at Colchester Leisure World– Until 27th August- Full day of action packed supervised activities for children aged 5 – 12 years. There will be a range of activities including swimming, as well as themed arts and crafts sessions, dodgeball, badminton, short tennis, football games, indoor rounders and cricket, plus team building games and treasure hunts.

Epping Forest

Epping Ongar Railway Special events during this summer for the whole family, from Peppa Pig, Paw Patrols  to the Gruffalo visits. Tickets need to be booked online.

Summer SEND activities covering West Essex (Harlow, Epping Forrest, and Uttlesford Districts).

Multi Sports Days : Epping Forest Multi Sport Days gives young people ages 5-14 the chance to take part in fun packed days of exciting and engaging activities including woodland adventures, wildlife discoveries,  multi-sports days, forest fun, play in the park, learn how to make a pizza, or a seed bomb.


Harlow Leisure Centre Summer activities– Until 27th August- Multi activity and fun swim days

Summer SEND activities covering West Essex (Harlow, Epping Forrest, and Uttlesford Districts).

Parndon Wood Nature Reserve summer events: Nature and sand art craft workshops- See more details on their Facebook page.


Summer in Promenade Park– Enjoy the best of summer on Maldon promenade with plenty to do including the splash park (you will need to book your session online), beach huts, parks, boat lake and of course a delicious ice cream!

Discover sailing for free at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club– On Sunday 8th August- you can try a number of activities out on the water including paddle boarding, keelboat sailing, rowing, and so much more!


Get Active Plus Project for young people in Rochford10 weeks of free physical activity, for young people aged 13 years old and over, at a range of sites in the Rochford District, throughout July, August and September.

New Summer youth wellbeing group– At the Megacentre from 4 August, for 11+. It will be an informal group, with a mix of chat and social activities, and a focus on mental health. Contact Lucy Ramsay on for more information or to book.

Summer SEND activities covering South Essex (Brentwood, Basildon, Billericay, Wickford, Castle Point and Rochford)

Rayleigh Leisure Centre fun activities during the school holidays. Ball pools, crash mats and obstacle courses will make sure that all their energy will be used up at our centre and not at home.


Octopus Ahoy-Until 5th September- Follow the trail by downloading the free Octopus Ahoy! app and find octopus sculptures – and win prizes for scanning each one, from cuddly octopus keyrings through to free afternoon teas, and much more!

Clacton Air show/ Clacton 150 flypast – 26th and 27th August- Due to Covid-19 restrictions throughout planning the air show could not happen so this year’s event will be replaced by the Clacton 150 anniversary flights featuring the RAF Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).

Brightlingsea Lido a classic 1930s open air swimming pool run by the community for the community,  the place for a few hours of family fun on a sunny day. Booking online essential.


Summer SEND activities covering West Essex (Harlow, Epping Forrest, and Uttlesford Districts).

Fit for Sport activity camps at Lord Butler Leisure Centre- From multi-sports to messy arts & crafts, from outdoor adventures to themed activities, join Fit For Sport for lots of active fun at your local Activity Camp this holiday! For ages 5-12 years.


Hares About Town | Southend 2021– Southend is hosting one of its most spectacular public art events ever…

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