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70+ Events May Half Term Guide 2024 - What's on in Essex

The Essex May Bank Holiday Half Term Guide

Read on to find out what's on in Essex this May Half Term holiday! Here you can find the best family friendly events in Essex this May, including May Bank Holiday Events in Essex.

Of course we have tonnes of great playgrounds listed if you are looking for free days out in Essex. Our Directory has A-Z of over 100 Parks in Essex. We also have a list of Over 50 playgrounds which have FREE PARKING.

If you are looking for family friendly days out in Essex, keep reading for over 70 events. You can find days out at farms and zoos in Essex, as well as kid friendly museums in Essex.

10 Popular Days Out Posts

The following events are listed A - Z by location. Click the location for a direct link to book events where applicable. More events will be added as the month goes on so make sure to check back regularly.


You can find an Essex Wildlife Trust Nature Discovery Centre at Abberton Reservoir. The Wilder Learning Team run brilliant events during the school holidays. Events this May Half Term at Abberton Reservour include Pond Dipping, an Over 5s Drop Off Day and the CBBC Deadly Scene Trail! Become a nature detective!

27th - Pond Dipping £5

29th - Drop Off Day £30

31st - CBBC Deadly Scene Investigation Trail £5

Enjoy a day out exploring the spacious grounds and estate of one of England’s grandest mansions, English Heritage Audley End.

25th - 2nd - Kids Rule - Try your hand at some of our traditional Victorian lawn games. Test your skills at lawn billiards, croquet and cups and balls. Experience a day of old-fashioned fun and hands-on activities! Admission applies.

Enjoy a family day out at Barleylands Farm Park.

27th - 2nd - Magic Mayhem - There are TWO fantastic entertainers for May half term at Barleylands Farm Park, Skittleman & Colonel Custard! Enjoy the usual farm favoruites; small animal handling, tractor rides, meet the goats,feed the pigs, bird of prey shows, indoor soft play barn, indoor sandpits and outdoor play equipment.

There are plenty of events at the Bedfords Park Nature Discovery Centre. This May there are events for children of all ages, including a special Nature Tots session and the FREE Bee Bonanza event! Follow our self-led bee trail and enjoy making wildflower seed bombs.

27th - Nature Tots £5

28th - Bee Bonanza FREE!

There are plenty of nature events at Belfairs Woodlands Nature Discovery Centre this May Half Term. Activities at this Essex Wildlife Trust woodland include family forest school, bug hunting,

25th - Family Forest Afternoon - £8

28th - Family Wildlife Workshop: 30 Days Wild(life) £5

30th - Woodland Explorers £7

31st - Drop Off Day £30

31st - Drop in Clay Creations £3

There is a great woodland adventure playground at Belfairs Woodland Centre! The Belfairs Park Playground features in our Guide: The Best Woodland Playgrounds in Essex

PYO at Cammas Hall Farm! Pick your own fruit will be open for the season shortly! Check out the Cammas Hall Farm website for up to date pick your own info. In the meantime there you can enjoy crafts and animal encounters.

29th - Create a Bear and Sand Art - Drop in craft activities! There are a variety of bears available which start at £16.50. This includes a heart, birth certificate, t-shirt which you can personalise and a carry bag. Sand-art bottles start at £4.

31st - Animal Encounters - get up close and personal with some fascinating animals. £6.95 per child

A great family fund raiser!

27th - Hospital Radio Fun Day - Enjoy arena attractions, children's rides, charity stalls, food and drink, Colchester Duck Race, and lots more! A Great Day Out for the whole family!

25th - 2nd - Puppet Trail - a nostalgic quest to uncover the secrets and stories behind the captivating puppets from classic television shows. Trail sheets £5 on top of castle admission, includes a prize.

27th - 31st - Costume Characters - Visit the Castle this half-term to meet some of our wonderful costumed characters. Head back in time to answer their riddles, play their games, and grab a sticker! Admission applies.

27th - 31st - Family Tours Romans - Embark on a fascinating family journey through time with our Norman-themed tour of Colchester Castle! Admission, plus £3.50

27th - 31st - Puffet Crafts - Be inspired by Colchester Castle’s newest exhibition, Thunderbirds & Co: The Joy of Puppetry, as you design and bring your own puppets to life. Use colours, textures and endless possibilities as you create your very own masterpiece! Free, admission applies

It's time to celebrate our Essex Zoo with Love Your Zoo Week!

25th - 2nd - Love Your Zoo Week - Nature area with a live pond table, exploratorium, discovery den and face painting!

Danbury Country Park is fantastic for walkers who enjoy muddy, nature walks. Children will love the bug and bee hotels and also pond dipping.

28th - Family Forest School - First Child £10, £6 Siblings

Daws Hall is a 25 acre private nature reserve on the Essex/Sussex Border.

29th - Holiday Activities - Minibeast hunting, pond dipping with a picnic and marshmallows by the fire at Lunchtime. £8 per child

27th - Meet Bluey - Join our vintage London bus service from Epping station, to North Weald, before joining the heritage tran to Ongar for a break of approximately 90 minutes, to see Bluey. Also at Ongar, you can see a magic show and follow the clues to find the pictures of animals hidden around the station. Adults £16, Children £6

There are amazing birdwatching opportunites at this Essex Wildlife Trust Nature Discovery Centre. Explore bird hides with estuary views. There are regular family friendly events hosted by EWT.

27th - Wild Craft £7

28th - Bugs and Pond Beasts £7

28th - Pond Dipping £5

31st - Drop Off Day £30

Flatford lies in the heart of the beautiful Dedham Vale.

28th - There will be craft activities to try, trails to follow and nature clues to hunt. FREE

This hidden gem is a fantastic community space offering sports facilities, well being activities, meeting spaces and so much more. The park plays host to many different musical, family events and festivals throughout the year.

27th - Southend Leisure & Tennis Centre is transforming into a fabulous fun festival! Picture this: massive inflatable playgrounds, giant slides, and super cool bouncy castles.

There are activities to suit all the family at Hadleigh Park! There are dog friendly walking trails, a playground and lovely cafe. Hadleigh Park is perfect for bike lovers. There is a mountain bike course, bike hire, bike workshop and bike wash. There are FREE family activities at Hadleigh Park in May Half Term. Activities run between 10am and 12pm. No booking required.

28th - Family Games FREE

29th - Sunflower Planting FREE

30th - Biscuit Decorating

There are plenty of excellent nature activities this May holiday at Hainault Forest.

28th - Forest Explorers: Introduction to Woodland Tools & Wild Adventures: Introduction to Woodland Tools - Woodland Tools. Saws, knives, axes and hand drills….learn how to use all of these tools safely and create a craft project to take home! £5

30th - Forest Explorers: Shelters & Dens - Have a go at putting up a tarp shelter and find out the best way to make a debris shelter from branches and twigs £5

27th - Come by to find out about local opportunities for young people! This FREE event features: Open Mic for local musicians, food and drink stalls, workshops and stalls from local organisations.

Hanningfield Nature Reserve has fantastic woodland walks around the reservoir. There is a Wind in the Willows themed nature sculpture trail which children will love.

28th - Drop Off Day £30

29th - Pond Dipping £5

31st - Nature Tots £5

Did you know it is FREE to enter Pets' Corner at Harlow Town Park! There is also 2 hours free parking, making this a great free day out in Essex. Read our post all about it HERE!

Hedingham Castle is great for a family day out. There is plenty of history! The keep is nearly 900 years old and the House now over 300 years old. There are plenty of family events at Hedingham Castle throughout the year.

26th - 27th - Knights of Royal England Joust - Explore the ancient Castle and stunning gardens, as well as experience many medieval pursuits including archery, axe throwing, birds of prey and much more. Juniors £16, Under 4s Free, Adults £21.50

2nd - Hawks & Friends - get up close and personal with Eden Falconry and their beautiful kestrel, hawks, buzzards and Owl!

31st - The Great Mini Beast Hunt - Join the rangers for the Great Mini Beast Hunt at High Woods Country Park and discover some of the millions of creatures who call High Woods home. £6 per child (pre-booking is essential)

31st - Pond Dipping - Join the education rangers for a pond dipping session at High Woods Country Park and discover what creatures hide under the surface. £6 per child (pre-booking is essential)

25th - 27th - Family Festival - inflatables, soft play bus, BBQ, saddle up bar, live performances. Activities included in admission fee. Children from £7, Adults from £8

28th - 2nd - May Half Term - Children from £7, Adults from £8

We love a visit to RHS Hyde Hall! There are lots of kid friendly activities at Hyde Hall including the adventure playground and the fruit and vegetable grows!

25th May - 2nd June - Family Gardening Festival - Family Gardening Festival with Burgon & Ball. Join family crafting, garden trails, planting activities and storytelling.

Entrance to the gardens Adults £15.85, Children £7.95, Under 5s Free

28th - Storytelling - Drop in, Admission fees

28th 29th - Sow a Sunflower - Admission plus £2.50

30th 31st - Face Painting - Admisson + £5

30th 31st - Craft workshops - Admission + £2.50

Langdon Nature Reserve is maintained by the Essex Wildlife Trust. It is the home of the Peter Rabbit wooden sculpture trail.

29th - Nature Tots Easter Special £7

29th - Seed Bomb Drop in £3

30th - Drop Off Day £30

31st - Family Forest Fun £7

Layer Marney Tower is a Tudor Palace! There are various events throughout the year. Admission - Adults £11, Children under 13 FREE!

27th - Village Fete - All the fun you'd expect for an old-fashioned village fete, open to everyone. There will be live music and Morris dancing at intervals throughout the day.

2nd - Tower Tours

Explore the Arboretum and stunning landscapes at Markshall! Markshall Estate is home to trees from across the world, inspiring gardens and ancient woodland.

Entry Adults £9, Child over 3 £5.30, Under 3 free entry.

27th March - 31st - Bonkers About Bugs - delve into the fascinating world of minibeasts - wildflower seed planting, craft clay minibeasts, butterfly crafts, nature frames and stories in the wild woods.

The Naze nature reserve has beautiful, coastal walking trails. It is the home of the iconic Naze Tower. Kids will love fossil hunting on the coastline. There are also great events held by Essex Wildlife Trust.

27th 29th 31st - Fossil Discovery £4

28th - Drop Off Day £30

30th - Seashore Explorers £8

28th 29th - Just get over it - Are you ready to beat the wall, climb walls, swing on the mighty monkey bars. £23 per child

25th - 2nd - Magical Mayhem - the usual Farm Fun plus silliness! Admission applies.

Priory Park is a great park. There is lots to do here and there is a large, fenced off playground suitable for toddlers and bigger kids. Read More about Priory Park HERE.

The circus is coming to Priory Park this half term!

22nd - 27th - Circrus Zyair - Fearless acrobats and daredevil stuntmen guarantee maximum thrills by risking life and limb daily for your entertainment. The dazzling combination of high energy, jaw dropping talent and electric atmosphere promises a magical and unforgettable experience for the whole family. Book HERE

27th - Inflatable Family Fun Day - 70ft assault courses, ginormous inflatable slides, large bouncy castles, large football dart board and a variety of inflatable games including .There will also be a separate area specifically for toddlers. Book HERE

2nd - Mud Run! - Maldon's unique Mud Race sees 300 fund-raising competitors plough through the River Blackwater's famous mud and chilly water from Promenade Park to the other side of the river at Heybridge and back. The park will be packed, with DJs, entertainment, stalls and food, plus giant TV screens to help visitors capture every moment.

Entry is now closed but you can still attend to support those mud racing for charity!

25th - 1st - Downs Steam Fair - A traditional vintage steam fair opening daily to entertain visitors with vintage rides from days gone by. Rides include Steam gallopers/carousel, big wheel, chair-o-planes & Helter Skelter. Plus children’s rides & games. Ride prices vary, tokens purchased onsite.

Promenade Park also has a great play park! The highlight is the large, wooden ship. The ship has a variety of climbs and slides, making it suitable for all ages.

28th - Nature Tots Special £7

28th - Marvellous Minibeasts £5

29th - Pond Dipping £5

30th - Drop Off Day £30

31st - Family Forest Fun £7

30th - The Great Mini Beast Hunt and pond dipping - Join the rangers for pond dipping and the Great Mini Beast Hunt. Swish through the long grass with sweep nets or see what you can find in ponds. Drop in between 10 - 11.30am FREE

31st - Romans in Space - A special Roman themed version of our standard planetarium show, as part of half term's Roman Day at Central Museum. £11

The Thorndon Nature Discovery Centre is situated in Thorndon Country Park. There are some fantastic walks through ancient woodland including the Gruffalo Trail!

Essex Wildlife Trust's Thameside Nature Park is amazing for families, walkers and little explorers. The reserve has nature hides to sit and observe birds and nature from, walking trails and a visitor centre with a viewing deck. Small children will love the boat themed playground and there is also a wooden assault course for bigger kids.

28th - Dinosaur Discovery

29th - Pond Dipping £5

30th - Wild Night Out £5

30th - Campfire Cookout £5

30th - Wildflower Art and Crafts £7

Wat Tyler Country Park has fantastic opportunities for wildlife spotting, great country walks and an huge inclusive children's play park.

28th - 31st - Pond Dipping £6.55

28th - 31st - Soft Archery £6.55

30th - Woodland Crafts - Learn how to use natural materials to make everything from a fidget spinner to your own wooden naughts and crosses. Welsh Wood Forest School area from, drop in any time between 1.30pm and 3pm. FREE

Don't forget to check the Park Directory for more park inspiration -


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