Top 10 Best Tourist Attractions to Visit in Essex, UK

The United Kingdom has been a tourist destination since the 1800s, and it remains one of the most popular spots for travelers today. It is easy to see why many people find themselves drawn to this country’s historic landmarks, quaint villages, and diverse natural landscapes. The UK offers something for everyone who visits – from history buffs to nature lovers.

If you’re traveling to Essex and want to visit some of the most famous attractions, read on. We will take a look at some of the best places that tourists can’t miss out on visiting. 

Essex is one of the UK’s most popular counties for hosting visitors from all over the world which means there are plenty of interesting sites to see and things to do when you come here. Whether you’re visiting family or friends, looking for seaside adventures or just want somewhere new to explore, these are some top picks for anyone heading this way. 


  1. The Chelmsford Mystery Treasure Trail, Chelmsford – Essex

In December 2015, a Chelmsford resident discovered an old map in the attic that was created by her Great Uncle. The map contained clues to hidden treasure and it took over 10 months for the family to locate and find the chest of gold coins. 

The Chelmsford Mystery Treasure Trail has been designed to take participants on an adventure through the beautiful and historic countryside of Essex, UK. There is a variety of things to see such as WWII bunkers, rare species of wildlife, intriguing local history and much more. Participants will be given clues that lead them around the trail which can be followed using any map or GPS device. At each stage they must find one item from their clue sheet before continuing onto the next location. The last clue leads them back to where they started so they can collect their prize! The Chelmsford Mystery Treasure Trail takes place every Sunday at 10:30am starting from either Chelms.


  1. The Cressing Temple Barns, Braintree – Essex

One of the most enchanting places to visit in Essex, England is The Cressing Temple Barns. The temple barns are a series of ancient timber-framed buildings with an entrance hall and four galleries surrounding it, which was used as the center for managing the estate when it was built in 1290. It has been listed as one of England’s best historic gardens because of its beautiful surroundings and well-maintained grounds. The Cressing Temple Barns are open all year round from 10am to 5pm daily except Tuesday’s during winter months (November – February). 


  1. Maldon Treasure Hunt Trail, Maldon – Essex

Being in close proximity to London, the county of Essex is home to many great treasures. One such gem can be found at Maldon’s Golden Hill, also known as “Maldon Treasure Hunt Trail.” It is here that visitors will find a series of clues leading them on an adventure through time and space. As one explores this intriguing trail they’ll learn about important figures in British history like John Hampden and his role in the English Civil War. Along with enjoying historical facts, visitors are encouraged to play games which lead them through various parts of the country where people who have influenced our lives today were born or grew up.  The treasure hunt trail follows an 11 mile path through different parts of the town, including tourist attractions such as St Mary’s Church, which overlooks the River Blackwater estuary. There are also some interesting landmarks along the way including the old pumping station on Newland Road.


  1. The Wind in The Willows Sculpture Trail, Billericay – Essex

The Wind in the Willows Sculpture Trail is a series of sculptures created by local artists, based on Kenneth Grahame’s novel. There are over sixty bronze sculptures spread out across the River Blackwater Valley and its surrounding towns from Tillingham to Hadleigh. The story follows four anthropomorphised animal friends as they go on adventures together and learn important lessons about life, friendship and society. The sculpture trail is a fantastic way for families with children to have fun exploring nature while learning something new at the same time!


  1. Layer Marney Tower, Colchester- Essex
    Layer Marney Tower is an iconic building in Essex, UK. It was built by Sir Thomas Tresham between 1588 and 1597 to act as a symbol of his wealth and power. The monument has been named after the nearby village of Layer de la Haye which also belongs to the same estate. It is one of the most prominent Tudor monuments in England with its unusual design resembling more like a medieval keep than anything else. The tower stands on top of a hill overlooking the River Colne valley, where it guards over both villages – Layer de la Haye and Layer Marney – that are surrounded by lush green fields full with crops such as barley, wheat, hops and beans that were grown on this land centuries ago. 
  2. Rayleigh Windmill, Rayleigh – Essex
    If you’re looking for a picturesque and charming spot to snap some photos, Rayleigh Windmill in Essex,UK is the perfect place to go. Rayleigh Windmill is a Grade II listed smock mill in Essex, UK. Dating back to 1836, the mill is one of the oldest in the country and has been restored to full working order. It is open to the public on selected days throughout the year. Windmills have been used for centuries to grind corn and other grains into flour. Rayleigh Windmill is one of only a few remaining operational smock mills in the UK, and it offers visitors a chance to see how these mills work. The mill also features exhibits about its history and how wind power is used today.
  3. The St Katherine Docks Treasure Trail

The St Katherine Docks Treasure Trail is a part of the Essex’s Cutty Sark Tall Ships Regatta. It features an interactive treasure hunt for families to enjoy while they explore the docks and surrounding areas. The trail includes activities such as a scavenger hunt, a quiz, and other games that are designed to test your knowledge of pirate history or geography. The event will be held on Saturday, August 8th from 10am-2pm in the area around the Docklands Museum in London Road SE16 4RY. The St Katherine Docks Treasure Trail is an opportunity for family members to have some fun together while also learning about pirates through different games and challenges that lead them through this historic district of London!

  1. Room Escape Southend

Southend’s newest room escape game is the perfect thing to do for a team building day out. Room Escape Southend has been voted by the Essex Times as one of the top attractions in and around Southend. With two different room escape games to choose from, you will be sure to find something that suits your tastes. The first game is called “The Great Escapologist” where you must use your wits and solve puzzles in order to escape before time runs out. This game is great for those who like a challenge but don’t want anything too scary or intense. The second game is called “The Last Room”. While this game does not have a set time limit, it can take up to 45 minutes for someone new to escape on their own.

  1. Southend Pier and Train

This tourist attraction is one of the longest pleasure piers in the world, measuring in at 1.34 miles. Visitors can stroll along the pier, take a ride on the train, or enjoy some delicious food at one of the many restaurants and cafes. This historic pier offers stunning views of the Thames Estuary, as well as plenty of activities to keep you busy. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a fantastic train ride to take you through the picturesque countryside. 

  1. Dedham Treasure Hunt Trail

The Dedham Treasure Hunt Trail is a perfect activity for those looking to explore the Essex countryside. This self-guided trail takes visitors through scenic areas of Dedham Vale and the Constable Country, with stops at various points along the way where clues must be solved in order to progress to the next checkpoint. The trail is suitable for all ages and can be completed at your own pace, making it the perfect option for a day out with family or friends. So if you’re looking for something fun and challenging to do in Essex, be sure to check out the Dedham Treasure Hunt Trail!

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