Take your family on an Essex holiday; the historic county of Essex offers an exciting and surprising glamping holiday in lush countryside just up the road from London. Set in the east of England, the county boasts its own major airport, Stansted, as well as excellent road and train connections. The county borders London to the south, Suffolk to the north and enjoys the North Sea along its long eastern coastline. The large historical towns of Chelmsford and Colchester boast bustling shopping centres and a variety of restaurants and entertainment. The county is also dotted with a huge number of picturesque villages, notably Finchingfield, Wendons Ambo and Castle Hedingham.
Traditional seaside towns and small fishing villages make up the whole of the coastline, where visitors can enjoy some of the UK’s best weather. This historic county is also home to a number of heritage attractions which include Colchester Castle, the largest Norman keep in Europe, as well as Hedingham Castle, Ingatestone Hall, and Audley End. Other options for excellent family days out are the award winning Colchester Zoo and the contemporary visual arts centre Firstsite, also in Colchester.
With easy connections to London and the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, Essex is the ideal base to explore the whole of East Anglia. The entire family will enjoy the diverse attractions found across this large county, which surprises and delights at every turn. Have a look at Feather Down glamping to book an Essex holiday, and take the whole family on a truly unforgettable trip.
Canvas Frills Lodge separate shower
Layer Marney Tower and it's estate are beautiful and glamping guests are able to freely explore; we could easily have kept ourselves occupied for the whole weekend without leaving the estate, however we also visited picturesque Flatford Mill, inspiration for several Constable paintings and historic Coggeshall. We had planned to go to Colchester Castle and Zoo but ran out of time. No shortage of local attractions!
Check is the estate is open at the time of booking so you may benefit from the free passes and climb the beautiful tower.
We had an excellent family day out at Walton on Naze, clean sandy beach and dreadful amusements on the pier that the children loved!! We also LOVED Colchester Zoo. Best zoo we've been to and worth the entrance fee. It's a shame the at the staff at Layer Marney weren't more helpful regarding where to go. They seemed shocked that we asked them and then they had a debate amongst themselves. The customer service really wasn't great.
West mersea and layer marney tower.
Crabbing on Mersea Island. Book tickets in advance if going to the zoo. Layer Marney Tower is spectacular.
Definitely do the pizza making. We took our own deckchairs which were comfortable and easy to move to the firepit for marshmallow toasting. If you like hot drinks we would suggest taking a 1 ring camping gas burner with you to avoid having to wait for the stove to heat up. The tower is not open on a Friday so don't wait till then to visit.
If you're staying just a long weekend as we were, you don't really need to leave the site too much. If you have small kids with you, I would recommend renting the chickens. And the walk around Layer Marney Tower was great, again, a hit with the kids. Pizza-making on Saturday night was good fun and sociable. The giant field at the end of the lane was brilliant for running around and ball games, and the wildlife walk was also an enjoyable distraction. Outside of the site, we went to Mersea beach, which was an easy 20 minute drive, and to Great Notley Park.
There is no where else to write about negatives so will do it here. The noise from weddings late at night on 2 out of the 3 nights we stayed was very intrusive therefore would not stay at this venue again
I would suggest a local walk (includes a rampart fort structure that is the alleged site of the last stand of Boudicca)http://www.walk4life.info/walk/layer-marneyAlso the Combined Forces Museum in Maldon is excellent.And a short drive away in Sudbury which is definitive Gainsborough country.Mersea Island is a good place for a day out by the sea.
Learn how to make fires See the farm and animals Buy local
Enjoy the farm land around you great for walking, day trip to Colchester zoo and take a trip to Mersea Island
We heard Chichester Zoo is a great day out as is the Castle. We went to the beach at Mersea which was fun.
Don't order too much veg and fruit (not per person!) didn't use the bbq, the outdoor wood burning stove more than sufficient. Don't forget marshmallows to toast on the small open fire pit. Chickens are fantastic and recommend requesting especially if you have children.
We were so happy there that we didn't go anywhere and simply enjoyed the woods nearby and reading in the hammock!
Mersea Island is worth a visit for old school seaside charm. We really like Dedham too.
Colchester Zoo Bisto pub at Messing (picturesque village 5 miles away) Oyster Bar at Mersea Island Dedham Walk around Coggeshall Parkland at Colchester Castle and tea/cakes at Tymberleys The Barn Brasserie For a cheap pub meal: The Sun Inn at Kelvedon
Early season wrap up warm. Don't put too many pots on the stove to get hot water as this stops the heat for the tent. Check the showers are hot my shower was fantastic and hot but the others in my party had cold showers.
Layer Marney Tower itself was fantastic. We enjoyed afternoon tea at Tiptree museum and tea rooms, and fish and chips at Mersea Island, unfortunately the delightful craft shops were all shut there on Sunday. Colchester Zoo is also fantastic.
Our day trips were all lovely and we would r commend any of them - Mersea island, ickworth, Melford Hall, Flatford and Dedham Vale.
The Company Shed on Mersea Island and Walton on the Naze
Mersea island is a must. Especially if you have a big group and can use the Routemaster bus to get there.
We went to the Wilkins jam factory for lunch one rainy day. We enjoyed a lovely walk at Maldon and also a trip to Colchester zoo.
The Company Shed for lunch
Colchester zoo was a good place to go in the rain. We loved the family farm day at Layer Marney Tower
This is self-catering but Featherdown don't provide anything they can't sell so take soap as none is provided. Also take basics such as salt and pepper and tealights as well as torches. Take storage bags/boxes for foodstuffs as no cupboards although there is a large coolbox which is very effective.Honesty shop is very small but plenty of shops in nearby towns. No communal showers but the private ones work very well.We visited Isle of Mersea a couple of times for the range of beaches (mostly shingle) and excellent West Mersea Oyster Bar (arrive early for lunch as very popular). Beach at Frinton nice and sandy great for kids if the tide is low but take a packed lunch as no food outlets nearby.Layer Marney Tower ok but at weekends only open on Sunday from 12pm. Nice tea room and a play area for children.
Enjoy the delights of the Tower!
It's a shame that the tower is only open to guests on a Sunday from 12 (we had to leave by 1030 Sunday so would have had to hang around for 1.5hrs before being let in..) ie, the Tower openings don't really fit in well with campers unless you're coming for a whole week. Saturday opening with kids purchasables (ie swords/helmets - eg Warwick Castle) and cream teas would be profitable for the tower and would keep the kids/parents entertained.
Take extra camping chairs for outside, book the hot tub very early as they are limited, consider taking a little gas stove if you need a hot drink to get going in the morning
Every local we met was really proud of Colchester Zoo and urged us to visit - we did - it was fantastic.Layer Marney Tower - we braved the top of the tower and were intrigued by it's history - very friendly family too.West Mersea has the clingiest crabs - they pretty much jumped out of the water onto our crabbing line.The Tiptree Jam Museum - interesting history and delicious ice cream too.
Mersea Island is great
A trip to Mersey Island is a must, only 20 mins by car. A lovely little place on the estuary (check the tide timetable before you visit!), with lovely coastal inns and "the Company Shed" - a very popular seafood hut overlooking the water. We also stopped off at Cambridge to break our journey (about an hour away back to the Midlands). Of course, Layer Marney Tower (an official royal palace, like a mini version of Hampton Court!) and the whole estate is right on your doorstep, and is perfect for a wander or bike ride, and we were opposite a field of deer, which were stunning to just sit and watch!
Maldon was good for small children, great park and amenities._x000D_ _x000D_ Mersea great for crabbing - look out for the friendly seal.
Colchester Castle very interesting with lots of interative exhibits for children. Superb playground at Tower Park - with four children ranging in age from 1 year to 10 years this kept everyone happy for a good two hours followed by ice creams and squirrel feeding!
Layer Marney, The house and walk were a lovely way to pass a relaxing day._x000D_ The Oyster and Seafood Restaurant in West Mersea was great._x000D_ Beth Chatto's Garden, west of Colchester was beautiful_x000D_ Colchester Zoo was amazing for the kids but try and book your tickets in advance or find a voucher to reduce the cost on the door.
Don't come to Layer Marney when there is a wedding on unless you are one of the guests and you are very relaxed around lively dogs.
We recommend Colchester Zoo and Great Notley Country Park as great places to visit with kids.
I would suggest adding a little more info on food you can supply as I ordered x3 breakfast boxes thinking it was x1 per person whereas there is enough in one for a family of x6 (so i had x3 of them) one of which is still in my freezer. Also the fruit boxes are huge we ate most of ours but I had ordered two not knowing the size of them._x000D_ _x000D_ When we arrived the lady said she wondered why we had ordered so much being two adults and a child ... I would suggest a quick call if something like that is flagged or add additional detail in the offering at booking stage. That is my only tip :) everything was fab !