The only way is Essex

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Popular TV series, The Only Way Is Essex, is not only proving to be a hit with millions of viewers but local tourist boards are finding that more and more people are looking for coach holidays in Essex in order to visit some of the locations featured in the show such as the Sugar Hut Club, Brentwood amongst many others. As a result of this increased interest in Essex breaks, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the other popular attractions to be found in this hip and happening part of England – maybe there is somewhere we’ve forgotten, just let us know!

The Lakeside Shopping Centre

The Lakeside Shopping Centre is a huge out-of-town shopping paradise located in West Thurrock and one of the biggest Malls in Europe with an amazing 250+ shops so all you shopaholics out there will literally be spoilt for choice! Grab your designer labels in classic stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser and not forgetting Brit fave Marks and Spencer. Bargains can be found in popular high street stores such as Primark, check out the latest technical gadgets to be found in Panasonic and for something a little different, check out the delights in Cult and Accessorize. Why not complete your shopping adventure (or refuel those batteries) with a choice of 50 cafes and restaurants, so you won’t go hungry either! It’s a day full of fun and shopping at Lakeside Shopping Centre!


Southend-on-Sea boasts seven miles of amazing beaches, the longest pleasure pier in the world, top shopping facilities, theme park thrills, a dazzling nightlife and that’s just for starters! When in Essex, why not treat yourself to a relaxing day at the beach and build sandcastles with the family or take a dip in the clear seawater – you might even be lucky and grab some sunshine too. Maybe the idea of a little excitement draws you to Essex? If so, why not visit Adventure Island, one of the UK’s favourite theme parks, and go on some thrilling rides or perhaps try out Kite Surfing or Power Kiting for something a little different. As night falls, dance your cares away at one of the many glamourous nightclubs that Southend-on-Sea has to offer, try your luck at one of the casinos or catch the stars in a top music concert or West End musical at the Cliffs Pavilion! If you want to stay overnight, there is a wide variety of high quality accommodation to choose from such as luxury hotels, charming guesthouses and quaint B&B’s.

Colchester Zoo

Perhaps one of the finest Zoos in Europe, set in beautiful parkland with lakes to explore and over 260 species to
observe – there is so much to see and do at Colchester Zoo! You can watch sea lions swimming over your head at ‘Playa Patagonia’, see the cute baby white rhino ‘Zamba’ playing along with the giraffes, zebras and ostriches or watch as the herd of four elephants get up to mischief. If you’re lucky you may even get to help the keepers feed the giraffes and elephants yourself – isn’t that exciting? Finish your trip to the Zoo by getting up close to the big cats such as the rare Amur tigers and leopards or watch the Orang-utans in their beautiful new home. Colchester Zoo promises everyone a great and fun day out!

Audley End House

Audley End House is one of England’s grandest stately homes and well worth a visit! A magnificent house originally built to entertain royalty but now allows visitors to experience history in a fun and interactive way. You’ll find a Victorian Service Wing complete with kitchen, laundry and a dairy – not forgetting the acres of beautiful grounds to explore too! Visit the recently restored historic stables and make friends with the four horses living there! Younger visitors are taken care of at Audley End House with its brand new themed play area just crying out to be played with. If you’re feeling hungry after all that exploring, don’t hesitate to have a great meal at the Cart Yard Café. You’ll soon find out that there is so much to see and do at Audley End House, so when are you planning your next visit?

RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Essex is the perfect location if you’re looking to get closer to nature and there’s no better place to do so then a visit to RHS Garden Hyde Hall. It will surprise you with its many sweeping panoramas, blue open skies (if the weather is kind) and far reaching views. Don’t miss the hilltop garden with its beautiful ponds, fragrant roses and luscious green lawns – the Mediterranean styled Dry Garden is certainly another must-see! After a leisurely stroll around the gardens, you maybe a little hungry so go and grab a snack in the café or for something a little more filling, check out the Barn Restaurant and recharge those batteries before another bout of exploring in the afternoon. Depending on when you choose to visit, you’ll see blossom in its full gorgeousness in spring, an opulent display of colour in summer, beautiful turning leaves and ripe fruits in autumn and frost glazed fields and trees in winter. As you can see, it doesn’t matter when you go, you are sure to have a splendid day at Hyde Hall!

Saffron Walden

Take a journey through time and plunge into the Middle Ages with a visit to the medieval town of Saffron Walden. The best way to explore this town is to follow the Saffron Walden Town Trail, which will lead you to the town’s many interesting buildings and tourist attraction such as the Parish Church of St Mary (the largest in Essex), the Market Place and Castle Ruins. Soak up the town’s history with visits to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, the Mountfitchet Castle Experience and see the Great Dunmow Maltings. Head over to Swan Meadow and let the little ones feed the ducks, explore Bridge End Gardens (try not to get lost in the Hedge Maze) and finish your day off with Afternoon Tea in one of the town’s charming tea rooms – or maybe sample local wine from the Vineyards. So get all your knights, ladies and little ones together and make a visit to the beautiful town Saffron Walden!