Days Out, Exploring & Having Fun

This corner of the Essex/Suffolk border has a fabulous range of things to do for all ages, adults and children alike.

Local Highlights

North Essex offers a huge variety of possibilities for days out from the farm – here is a selection that our guests have told us they have enjoyed

Things to do Days Out

Eating & Drinking

We’re spoilt for choice with places to eat and drink on the doorstep, ranging from family budget-friendly pubs and restaurant chains, to cosy bistros, pubs with their own breweries and great craft beers, or Michelin listed restaurants. It’s also easy to get hot food delivered by local takeaways. There’s too many for us to list here, so if you need any help deciding or finding the place that’s right for you, please contact us and we’ll be happy to guide you through the choices. Please keep in mind that it can be difficult to find places open for food on Sunday evenings or Mondays especially. 


Leaflets with details of local walks can be found in your cottage when you arrive, and there is plenty of choice, whether you are looking for a gentle stroll or serious hike (though there aren’t any big hills nearby to challenge you!).

Breweries, Vineyards and Distilleries

There are a number of local vineyards and breweries to visit and enjoy, and a distillery. Some offer tours and tastings, but please check websites such as these for details of events, bookings, costs and opening times. 

Shopping & Cinema

When you need some retail therapy, the nearest ‘high street’ shopping can be found about 15 minutes away at the outlet shopping destination of Freeport, also known as Braintree Village. With discounts on designer brands including Nike, Barbour, Clarks, Havaianas, Kate Spade, le Creuset, North Face, Reiss, Ted Baker and Timberland to name just a few, you’ll also be spoilt for choice for places to eat. For the non-shoppers, there’s also the possibility of a trip to Clipnclimb across the road (some of the best fun to be had, for sure), or a film at Cineworld


The nearest local golf course is at Gosfield Lake, with 18 and 9 hole parkland courses, just over 5 minutes away. Other nearby courses can be found at the Essex Golf and Country Club (18 hole, par 73) and the Colne Valley Golf Club (18 hole, par 70), both in Earls Colne .

Local Artists

The local Suffolk market town of Sudbury is the birthplace of celebrated 18th Century artist Thomas Gainsborough. The newly redeveloped Gainsborough’s House has been transformed to create a new national centre for art with the largest art gallery in Suffolk, and a programme of national and international exhibitions  This could be followed by lunch at one of the great places in Sudbury or a walk by the river Stour Water Meadows in the town. If you still have the energy after this, you could check out the Quay Theatre in the town, or venture back into Essex to the picturesque town of Flatford in the Dedham Vale, where Flatford Mill (a National Trust property) further along the river Stour is the water mill featured in a number of John Constable’s paintings including the Hay Wain. Rowing boats can be hired here for a trip along the beautiful river in either Flatford or nearby Dedham

Seaside & Seafood

If you fancy a trip, there’s a couple of places it’s worth taking the time to discover. First up is West Mersea, a small island (NB check tide times before you travel) off the coast of Essex on the river Blackwater estuary (about 50 minutes from the farm). There’s a 13 mile ‘round the island’ walk to challenge you (and shorter ones if you prefer), with a number of beaches to discover and enjoy. Take the foot-ferry to neighbouring Brightlingsea, visit the vineyard shop and have a tasting of Essex wines, but, most importantly stop and have some of the incredible seafood, especially the oysters that West Mersea is famous for. Alternatively, if you fancy a proper English day at the seaside with ice creams, fish and chips and sand in your toes, Clacton-on-Sea and Frinton-on-Sea are both less than an hour away. Clacton is the more lively of the two with a pier and arcades (and an airshow during the week before the August bank holiday), whilst Frinton tends to be a bit quieter.

Living Local History

The castle of Castle Hedingham (which can be seen from the farm) is argued to be the best preserved Norman Keep in England. There are five floors of history to discover, and it’s worth checking out their special events including medieval jousting (really exciting!), classic car events, live music, and falconry displays. There’s plenty of choice for refreshments afterwards in the village,

Less than half an hour away in Long Melford you will find the impressive Kentwell Hall. The house and gardens provide a great day out, with a tea room and gift shop. Keep your eyes out especially for their ‘living history’ weekends, where you can step back in time in a fully interactive experience, meeting the whole community living as they would have done hundreds of years ago. Adults and children alike love it

Picturesque Suffolk Wool Towns

These towns and villages are some of the prettiest and best preserved in Suffolk. Built in medieval times when the wool trade was at its peak, these were among the wealthiest places in the country, with grand churches and fine timber framed houses. The best known are Lavenham, Long Melford, Sudbury, Clare, Bury St Edmunds and Hadleigh, all within easy reach of the farm. Highlights include the Lavenham Guildhall, Clare Castle and Melford Hall. You’ll be spoilt for choice for places to eat and drink, and if you enjoy shopping for antiques, check out the shops in Clare and Long Melford

Classic Colchester

Colchester (about 40 minutes drive away) was an important Roman city and the first Roman capital in Britain. Still a garrison town (and home now to the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Paras), you will be able to see surviving ruins, and explore the Castle Museum, which holds archaeological collections covering 2,500 years of history. Try your hand at building a Roman archway, excavating a Roman grave, or steering a chariot.  Family events are scheduled through the year. Also in the town (about 20 minutes walk from the Castle) is the Roman Circus visitor centre, the site of Britain’s only known roman chariot racing track. Colchester town centre provides an opportunity for eating and shopping once you’ve finished, or perhaps take a trip to Colchester Zoo or take in a show at the Mercury Theatre in the town centre.

Historic Cambridge

A bit further afield, but undoubtedly worth the trip, is the famous and historic university city of Cambridge. Whether it’s punting on the Cam, discovering the city’s streets and shops, visiting the world class collections of the Fitzwilliam museum, or exploring the Botanic Gardens, it always makes for a great day out and is a definite favourite with our guests. The city’s park and ride makes it easy to get there.

War-time Essex

Traces of World War II can be found all around Essex, not least in the over 20 airfields that were built in the county, used by both the RAF and USAF. There are still several near the farm, with one in easy walking distance at Gosfield and others at Wethersfield and Ridgewell (where there is a small free museum with limited opening times). Duxford (about 45 minutes from the farm) was a larger base, and is now home to a branch of the the Imperial War Museum. It offers a huge day out with hundreds of aircraft housed in the hangars, alongside vehicles, boats and more, with flying displays, activities and experiences. . For something a bit different further afield, there is also the post-war ‘Secret Nuclear Bunker’ at Kelvedon Hatch, but you might need another day to take that in as well!

Horse Lovers Day Out At Newmarket

If you love horse racing, you’re sure to love this. It’s almost an hour away, but it’s so worth it! Discover Newmarket offers tours of the National Stud, a thoroughbred breeding farm that has around 8 stallions and up to 200 brood mares, or you could have a morning at a racing yard and visit the training grounds.

Serious Fishing

There are a number of fishing lakes not too far away (10-15 minutes), including Fennes fishing, Pebmarsh Lake and Earls Colne Fishing Please contact the lakes directly for details of availability and prices.


The nearest indoor pool is available at Halstead Leisure Centre , whilst Gosfield Lake offers open water swimming

Steam Trains

The nearest trains can be found just 5 minutes away at Colne Valley Railway, Great Yeldham. With almost a mile of line, the site features relocated and restored station buildings, signal boxes and bridges, with a large and varied collection of vintage steam and diesel engines carriages and wagons. Check their website for details of when trains run .  
Slightly further away (about 20 minutes), the East Anglian railway museum is a family friendly, living railway museum. Open weekends and Wednesdays from 10-5, the museum hosts events throughout the year including opportunities to drive trains and Steam Galas.

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