A TRIO of top attractions have been named the best in Essex thanks to votes from youngsters and their families who enjoyed their experience.

Colchester Castle was named the best museum or historical attraction, while trampoline park Jump Street on Mason Road, Colchester, was awarded best indoor play or activity centre and Colchester Zoo scooped the title for best animal encounters.

The Essex Star Awards were presented by Primary Times - a free what's on guide aimed at parents of primary school pupils which is published just before each of the school holiday periods during the year.

Readers were asked to vote for their favourites at the end of last year and Colchester attractions came out top in three of the six categories.

Colchester Council's culture boss Tim Young (Lab) said he was thrilled Colchester Castle had been given some recognition.

He said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this Primary Times Star Award for best Essex museum or historical attraction.

“It recognises Colchester Castle’s importance as one of the region’s leading heritage attractions.

"The castle is always bringing through something new to bring history to life for families – from updates to its cutting edge virtual reality apps, regular special events and activities and new displays such as the fascinating Fenwick Treasure- there is something for everyone.

“We would like to thank the Primary Times and its readers for their support and we hope that you will visit again soon to take in the new developments.”

A Jump Street spokesman said: "We are thrilled to be a Primary Times winner, especially as it is the second year.

"It is extra special as it is the readers who vote for the award.

"At Jump Street we aim to be the best inclusive indoor park experience in Essex so to win this category is superb.

"We have lots going on in 2017 so those who have visited us before can continue to enjoy all the thrill of the park alongside some extra fun.”

A Colchester Zoo spokesman said: "We are delighted to have been awarded a Primary Times Star Award for the fourth year in a row.

"It is fantastic for the zoo to be acknowledged for the up close encounters which we strive to offer for visitors to learn about species from all over the word and the importance of conservation.

"We wouldn’t be able to assist conservation projects worldwide without the support of our loyal and valued visitors so thank you very much indeed."

Crepeaholic in Cullen Mill, Witham, was named runner-up in the best family-friendly independent cafe or restaurant cafe and Great Norley country park came second in the best outdoor activity venue section.