FOR many people, the coronavirus lockdown has been a serious test of patience.

It's now been seven weeks since the Government called for the lockdown which has seen everyone isolated in their homes, unable to enjoy the outdoors as much as they'd like.

There is no doubt that many people across the county would like to see the lockdown lifted but when it will be safe to do so is still unclear.

None the less, many Essex residents will no doubt be missing their favourite spots around the county.

As we're seven weeks in, you've probably been planning what you're going to do once the lockdown is finally lifted.

If you are still thinking about what you are going to do with your first taste of freedom, we've compiled a list of ten of the most popular attractions in Essex to help you decide.

Ranging from family attractions to cultural escapes, I'm sure we'll have something here which you'll be interested in enjoying.

Gazette: Colchester ZooColchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo has been a mainstay in Essex for over 50 years and is continuing to provide fun and entertainment for families across the county to this day.

The zoo was forced to close its doors during the lockdown and has been struggling with a lack of income over the last seven weeks.

With the end of the lockdown the zoo would be an ideal place to take the kids.

The zoo boast an impressive range of animals with more than 260 species on display in more than 60 acres of parkland and lakes.

There is plenty to see and do at the zoo and it is a no brainer choice for anyone looking to entertain the family once the lockdown is over.

To find out more about the zoo, visit

Gazette: Southend PierSouthend Pier

Southend Pier

If you are looking for a variety of things to do on your day out, Southend Pier could be the attraction for you.

The pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world and hosts and wide range of activities and venues.

On a visit to the pier you can enjoy some great food and drink with the Salt Cafe and Pier Tearoom while also enjoying some active fun on the pier's mini golf course.

The pier's Royal Pavillion is also a great attraction, hosting a range of unique events such as exhibitions, concerts, plays and much more.

To find out more about the pier, visit

Gazette: Hedingham CastleHedingham Castle

Hedingham Castle

Another venue which offers a variety of things to do, Hedingham Castle has something to offer for all types of visitors.

The castle boasts a rich history so is a great attraction for anyone seeking a more cultural day out.

However, there are also a number of activities and events hosted by the castle during the year from medieval festivals to romantic getaways.

The castle is located in the village of Castle Hedingham, just a few miles from Braintree and Colchester.

To find out more about the castle, visit

Shopping Centres

You're getting four for the price of one with this entry on the list because the venues offer similar experiences across different parts of the county.

For many people, shopping has become a genuine pass time and, when the lockdown ends, there will no doubt be a fair share of people looking to scratch that shopping itch.

Braintree Shopping Village in Braintree along with Intu Lakeside in Thurrock, High Chelmer in Chelmsford and the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Basildon are the perfect places to shop.

Allfour have a wide variety of stores along with food venues and entertainment making them the ideal shopping experience.

If you're looking to spend some money or even just browse the latest items, shopping in these Essex centres are the perfect pastime.

For more information on each centre, visit,, or

Jump Street

After being in lockdown for more than seven weeks, you may have little bit of pent up energy.

If that's the case, Jump Street may be the best venue for you.

With locations across Essex in Chelmsford and Colchester, Jump Street offers a fairly unique experience.

The floors, and even walls, of the massive rooms at Jump Street are covered in trampolines, allowing visitors bounce and fly all day long.

Adults and kids are welcome with multiple different games, attractions and even fitness workouts on offer.

To find out more about Jump Street, visit

Escape Live

If you're looking for challenge, Escape Live could be the day out for you.

Perfect for a team of friends, Escape Live is an escape room puzzle attraction tasking teams to figure out the clues and escape a locked room before the time runs out.

With venues in Southend and Chelmsford, Escape Live is one of the best escape rooms in the country, offering a wide variety of rooms, each with a unique and interesting puzzle.

Rooms can also range from horror to mystery to adventure so there is always something perfect for each visitor.

To find out more baout Escape Live, visit

Gazette: Adventure island (Paul Tait)Adventure island (Paul Tait)

Adventure Island

Here's an entry which sure to get the blood pumping and is perfect for anyone seeking a post-lockdown thrill.

Adventure Island is a top quality theme park in Southend and offers a wide range of fun and thrilling activities ranging from rides and rollercoasters to go-karting, dodgems and golf among many more.

The theme park is perfect for all comers whether you're group of friends, a couple or a family with rides also catering to kids.

There are also a number of themed events which takes place every month, making the theme park a different experience on each visit.

To find our more about the theme park, visit

Gazette: East Anglian Railway MuseumEast Anglian Railway Museum

East Anglian Railway Museum

Here is another venue which has something to offer for everyone.

The East Anglian Railway Museum, just on the outskirts of Colchester, has plenty to offer.

The museum is the ideal attraction for any train lovers with a wide variety of railway activities and events, some letting visitors in to the cabs and at the controls of the museums locomotives.

There is also a variety of non-railway themed events such as the museums twice a year beer and real ale festival as well as classic car days and even escape rooms.

To find out more about the museum, visit

Topsail Charters

Tired of being on land?

Topsail Charters in Maldon is the perfect day out for anyone looking to get the wind in their hair and feet of dry land.

The company offers visitors the chance to go aboard one of their historic barges and enjoy a range of great cruises.

Activities range from bird watching to weekend breaks and offers visitors a tranquil and peaceful escape from the lockdown.

The cruises also offer some great food to enjoy while you sail the waters.

To find out more about the charters, visit .top-sail.

Gazette: Colchester Castle (John Chivers)Colchester Castle (John Chivers)

Colchester Castle

Colchester Castle is a great venue for anyone looking for a cultural but also varied day out.

The castle boasts an impressive history with plenty to see and do within the castle walls.

The fortification is also conveniently located in the Colchester Town Centre making it ideal for anyone who wants to do other activities.

There are plenty of clothing and food stores nearby as well as pubs.

The nearby Castle Park is also a great place for anyone looking to enjoy the sun.

To find out more about the castle, visit