Local to Manningtree or West Mersea and looking for something fun to do with the family this half term?

We’ve done all of the searching for you and have compiled a list of fun and FREE activities for you and your family.

Please see below for a range of activities and locations to visit this half term:

Wrabness Nature Reserve – Manningtree, CO11 2TB

The ideal walking spot to enjoy with family. Wrabness nature reserve is brimming with amazing bird species in every corner and every month of the year. Why not take up some bird watching and see what different species you can find on your visit?

With stunning views over the Stour Estuary, bring along a family picnic and sit waterside to take in those views.

Fun fact: The nature reserve here previously served as a mine depot established by The Ministry of Defence, until it closed in 1963.

Mersea Island – West Mersea, CO5 8AT

Known as Essex’s best-kept secret, Mersea Island features the picturesque West Mersea Beach. With a fantastic reputation for its stunning scenery and its nod to history, this is the ideal place to visit as a family with so much on offer.

Grab a bucket and spade and head down to the beach to build sandcastles or spend some time on the floating pontoon crabbing.

For an additional cost you can also take advantage of the walking ferry tour around the island or take part in the many water sports available, such as kayaking, paddleboarding and wind surfing.

Mersea Island also features a café and shop, where you can unwind with family after a busy and energetic day.

Colchester Castle Park – Colchester, CO1 1XN

Castle Park puts Colchester’s distinctive heritage on full display. Marked as a site of national importance, this park contains around 2000 years of history and its landscape has been moulded by the people of Colchester over many eras.

Take a scenic walk around the grounds and enjoy the green oasis or picnic amongst the wonderful flowers and trees.

Whilst here you can get involved with one of the many trails on offer, whereby you can explore the history of Castle Park and its wildlife on your own with your family and friends – you can download your trail maps on the website here: · Colchester City Council

For an additional cost, you can go inside the Castle Museum and take part in guided tours, use the interactive displays and exhibits or you could have go at building a Norman archway for yourself.

Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve – Colchester, CO2 EU

Abberton Reservoir is one of Europe’s top wetland sites and it’s a great day trip for the family.  Whilst here you can explore in depth and record your species findings, with up to 7 different bird species present at this reserve. You’ll also see wild ducks, swans, and water birds on your travels here. Available at the visitor centre are bird books, where you can note down the species you find.

Cudmore Grove Country Park – East Mersea, CO5 8UE

When visiting, start first at the information centre and talk to one of the educational rangers to help plan your day, they will go through site maps and help you get the best out of your exploring.

Cudmore Grove has its own sandy beach as well as woodland and nature surrounding it, if it’s bright you could paddle in the water, or take a welly walk around the woodland, there are lots of environments to choose from here.

Also here is a playground for the children that features climbing apparatus, slides, swings, and a whole lot more!