If kids ever tire of the pool, the snooker, the hot tub, the tennis court and the outdoor play area, whisk them off to Colchester Zoo for a wild family day out with over 160 species roaming 60 acres of parkland and lakes. Or get down to Jump Street in Colchester to test out 50 interconnected trampolines.
Watch the energy evaporate at Great Notley Discovery Centre, a country park and play trail featuring a giant seesaw, climbing forest, tyre swings, sand pits, rope climbers, slides, forts, sky ropes and water play. Or watch the latest big-screen blockbusters at Cineworld in Braintree and live action at Colchester Theatre.
Investigate sheep milking at Boydell’s Dairy Farm. Get close to 100 species and breeds, from capybara to crocodiles, pigs to pelicans and even monkeys at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, with handfeeding and special animal talks and activities. Or ride the miniature railways with the Colne Valley Railway.
Build a Norman archway, dress as an Iron Age Briton, steer a Roman chariot or fire a replica ballista at Colchester Castle. Explore the national story of Roman and Norman conquest and the Boudiccan revolt at Colchester Natural History Museum. Or just pack your bucket for beaches at Frinton, Mersea and Walton-on-the-Naze.
There’s plenty going at The Essex Golf and Country Club in Earls Colne. Play a round on the course or play around on the tennis courts. Pamper yourself in the spa, swim, hit the gym, take an aerobics class. Enjoy more 18-hole action at Braintree Golf Club, Gosfield Lake or Colchester.
Book a group session and find out who’s top dog on the professionally designed track at Anglia Indoor Karting. Tackle over 150 climbs and bouldering challenges at the Colchester Climbing Project. Refresh yourself with local premium craft beer at the Colne Valley Brewery or a rich, centuries-old heritage of brewing at Bishop Nick.
See the countryside on four legs with Rayne Riding Centre. At Fennes Shooting School, shoot clay under the guidance of qualified instructors from a mix of stands and landscaping, with trap towers up to 120 feet. Or chill out with a paddling adventure on the tranquil River Stour with Stour Valley Adventure Centre.
Go Ape on the high ropes and zip wires at Thetford. Lace up your boots and tackle walks around Greenstead Green, The Flitch Way, Castle Hedingham, Halstead and Bourne Brook, The Hedinghams and Cobs Fen. Fish Gosfield Lake. Try wakeboarding and tubing with Curve Water Sports. Then sink a pint in The Bull Hotel.
If you’re organising a hen or stag do, making it memorable will need to be a priority. So you’ll be pleased to know that all the ingredients are here. So let’s get cooking. You can do that on the Aga or, better still, call in our professional chef for a one-off celebratory meal or even a fully catered break.
In a fully restored Georgian manor house, you can bet the finery’s in place. You’ve got 7000 square feet of the stuff, plus an events barn if you fancy holding the wedding here, too. You can’t move for panels, chandeliers, parquet flooring and fine furnishings. But what about the fun? We’ve got that covered as well.
Let’s start with the indoor pool. Ten metres by five and heated to 30 degrees, it offers guaranteed year-round fun. When you’re done, take a dip in the hot tub and enjoy a sweatfest in the sauna. Next door, a fully equipped gym offers treadmill, rowing machine, Smith machine, free weights, yoga mats and medicine balls.
Out and about, book yourself a spa day to remember at The Essex Golf and Country Club, have a friendly flutter at Chelmsford Racecourse, or have a go at paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing or wing foiling at Mersea Island Watersports. Enjoy outlet shopping in Braintree and book an Uber for the lights and sights of nearby London.