Go wild in the country - activites in the Essex countryside
PUBLISHED: 13:10 26 February 2013 | UPDATED: 21:16 26 February 2013
If you're looking to have an active holiday, you'll find plenty of variety on offer in the Essex countryside - from archery and horseriding to golf and off-road driving, there's something for everyone...
Go wild in the country!
If youre looking to have an active holiday, youll find plenty of variety on offer in the Essex countryside from archery and horseriding to golf and off-road driving, theres something for everyone
As if the picture-perfect beauty of the rural parts of the county isnt enough, there are a huge variety of activities and attractions to be found throughout the Essex countryside. Whether your idea of the perfect day is walking along a riverbank in the heart of Constable Country, dashing around a woodland shooting a paintball gun or learning to ride a horse, youll be able to enjoy some very memorable holiday moments.
A holidays the perfect excuse to try something different, so why not have a go at a new sport? There are numerous golf courses in the area that offer beginners lessons, including Stoke by Nayland, Crowne Plaza Five Lakes, Warley Park and Epping but, wherever youre staying, youre bound to find suitable facilities and tuition nearby.
If you would rather pick up the reins than a set of clubs, then book in for a riding lesson at one of our regions many British Horse Society-approved establishments, such as Runningwell Equestrian Centre near Chelmsford, High Beech Riding School in Epping Forest or Shopland Hall Equestrian Centre in Rochford, to name but a few.
For something more at the extreme end of the spectrum, venture to the Gosfield Lake Resort for a spot of water skiing. Alternatively, you could learn to canoe or kayak at the Lee Valley White Water Centre or even enjoy a white-water rafting experience. This brilliant centre is now renowned worldwide, following its use as the canoeing and kayaking venue for the London 2012 Olympics, and the best news is that you dont even need to have any watersports experience to enjoy white water rafting on the same course that Team GB tackled in order to win their silver and gold medals! If, however, you prefer to get your kicks on dry land, then skiing or snowboarding might be the challenge youre looking for, so investigate the options available at Brentwood Park Ski and Snowboard Centre.
And if all that sounds like to much effort, but you fancy a day out with a sporting theme, why not find out if theres a fixture on at Essex County Cricket Club or Colchester United Football Club? There are usually some great family hospitality packages available. For a holiday experience with a twist, check out some of the more unusual activities available in our county. Essex Falconry Days, based near Halstead, offers a variety of bird of prey experiences ranging from an hour to a four-day course, as well as archery lessons. If you would like to learn to shoot a shotgun rather than bows and arrows, the Essex Shooting School near Epping offers lessons to teach you how to pick off those clay pigeons. Or maybe its yourself you would like to launch into the air? The Stapleford Flight Centre near Romford is the place to go for a trial flying lesson either in the air, or in a simulator. Alternatively, if youd rather just marvel at aerial views, take one of their scenic tours instead.
Another great place that offers a wide range of energetic things to do is Rope Runners, based at the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch. Among other things, you can ride a quad bike, enjoy an award-winning high ropes adventure, go caving or walk on water in a zorb! If youd prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground (or at least very close to it), then why not get on your bike? Essex was, after all, the home of the mountain biking events during London 2012, and while the Hadleigh Farm Olympic venue itself isnt yet open to the public, the Hadleigh Legacy Project will ensure that this wonderful facility will offer public access in the future. In the meantime, you can cycle (or indeed walk or jog) around the nearby Hadleigh Country Park, or alternatively check out cycle route maps for other parts of the county, at www.visitessex.com/cycle.
If that all sounds like rather too much adrenalin-fuelled excitement, you might like to consider the more refined exercise option of rowing and hire a boat at Flatford to explore the beautiful countryside along the River Stour. Or you might decide that a gentle stroll is quite enough activity for your holiday or day out. If this is the case, then take a trip to one of our regions many beautiful gardens. We have a wealth of beautifully crafted plots to choose from, including the Beth Chatto Gardens in Elmstead Market, the Gibberd Garden just outside Harlow, the Gardens of Easton Lodge near Great Dunmow and the RHS Garden Hyde Hall.
Alternatively, if expansive vistas are more your cup of tea and you would prefer plenty of room for kids to run about then head to one of Essexs wonderful country parks. Theres one near almost every sizeable town, and many offer facilities such as cafs and visitor centres, as well as dedicated play areas and sometimes fishing lakes.
The north of the county is served well by Highwoods Country Park in Colchester and Great Notley Country Park & Discovery Centre, among others, while mid Essex boasts several, including Marsh Farm Country Park and Danbury Country Park. Further south, youll find an even greater selection, including Belhus Woods Country Park, Thorndon Country Park and Weald Country Park, to name but a few.
Whatever your taste in exciting activities, theres such a wealth of them available in Essex that it would take many weeks and an awful lot of energy to try them all!
For a holiday with great fitness facilities right on your doorstep, choose to stay in one of these fantastic hotels
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa
A golfers paradise, this luxury hotel (which also offers high-end self-catering Country Lodge accommodation) boasts two 18-hole championship golf courses, a Technogym, pool and indulgent spa, as well as a yoga and aerobics studio, and a squash court. In addition, a number of walking routes around the grounds offer wonderful views of Constable Country. For details visit www.stokebynayland.com
Down Hall Country House Hotel
An elegant Italianate mansion set in a 110-acre estate, this country house hotel offers simple, typically English pleasures, including croquet on the lawn, a giant outdoor chess set, and a number of walking routes that enable guests to enjoy the woodland, parkland and landscaped gardens. In addition, theres a 10m indoor pool and two hardsurface outdoor tennis courts. ind out more visit www.downhall.co.uk
Greenwoods Hotel & Spa
The ideal location for a couples holiday or romantic weekend away, this 17th-century Grade II listed manor house boasts 21st-century fitness facilities. The adults-only leisure suite features a 20m pool, a gym thats equipped with a Power Plate machine, and, of course, spa facilities to help you unwind after your workout. For further details about this luxurious hotel, on to www.greenwoodshotel.com
Crowne Plaza Resort Colchester
With all the fitness and exercise facilities at this Crowne Plaza Resort, you could spend your entire holiday on-site! As if two 18-hole parkland golf courses, an indoor pool, luxury spa and Technogym werent enough, there are also facilities for tennis, badminton and squash, as well as an aerobics studio. In addition youll find a full-size football pitch, and there are plenty of walking/jogging routes around the grounds. To find out more, visit www.cpcolchester.co.uk
Find out more
Beth Chatto Gardens www.bethchatto.co.uk
Brentwood Park Ski and Snowboard Centre www.brentwoodskicentre.co.uk
Colchester United Football Club www.cu-fc.com
Country Parks www.visitparks.co.uk
Epping Golf Course www.eppinggolfcourse.org.uk
Essex County Cricket Club www.essexcricket.org.uk
Essex Falconry Days www.essexfalconrydays.co.uk
Essex Outdoor Activities www.essexoutdoors.org
Essex Shooting School www.shooting-school.org
The Gardens of Easton Lodge www.eastonlodge.co.uk
The Gibberd Garden www.thegibberdgarden.co.uk
Gosfield Lake Resort www.gosfieldlake.co.uk
High Beech Riding School www.highbeechridingschool.co.uk
Lee Valley White Water Centre www.visitleevalley.co.uk
Rope Runners www.roperunners.co.uk
RHS Garden Hyde Hall www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall
Runningwell Equestrian Centre www.runningwell.co.uk
Shopland Hall Equestrian Centre www.shoplandhall.co.uk
Stapleford Flight Centre www.flysfc.com
Warley Park Golf Club www.warleyparkgc.co.uk
Taken from Visit Essex 2013.
For more information please visitwww.visitessex.com