Find Outdoor Play Spaces and Parks in Essex using our comprehensive directory, including their locations, facilities and main attractions for families.

From large outdoor spaces and parkland to waterways, playgrounds, woodland and mazes, there’s lots of wonderful greenspace to discover in Essex.


Outdoor Play Spaces and Parks in Essex


Wat Tyler Country Park
Wat Tyler Country Park offers 125 acres of stunning parkland in the heart of the beautiful south Essex marshes in which to relax and explore. Excellent amenities for a great family day out for all ages.


Great Notley Country Park
Great Notley
Great Notley Country Park near Braintree covers some 100 acres of open space. The site is home to Sky Ropes and Essex’s longest play trail – 1.2km – including a giant see-saw, climbing forest, tyre swings, sand pits, rope climbers, slides, forts and a water play area, making it a great place for all ages to explore. The park is also popular for birdwatching, walking, cycling, fishing, horse riding, football, picnics and kite-flying.


High Woods Country Park
High Woods Country Park, Turner Road, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5JR
High Woods Country Park is one of Colchester’s beauty spots. The Country Park includes woodland, open spaces (ideal for picnics) a lake and wildflower meadows. Along with marshy areas, hayfields and scrubland, High Woods provides the right habitat for thousands of different birds and mammals. It’s free for humans too. The Council’s High Woods team looks after this gem throughout the year. Their welcoming approach to visitors and creative management of the park has lead to it holding the prestigious Green Flag Award since 2004. All in all, a place not to be missed by walkers, cyclists and families alike.


Green Island Gardens
Green Island Gardens are private gardens, open for the public to visit in Ardleigh near Colchester, Essex. Professionally designed by its owner Fiona Edmond, Green Island Gardens are laid out as a series of structured gardens displaying a huge range of unusual trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs – ‘A Plantsmans Paradise’. Surely one of the best gardens open to visit in Essex. Recommended in Great British Gardens 2016 and Essex Days Out.
01206 230455


The Beth Chatto Gardens
Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex CO7 7DB
The Beth Chatto Gardens began in 1960. From an overgrown wasteland with poor gravel soil and boggy hollows, it has been transformed into an informal garden harmonising with the surrounding countryside. The gardens are an inspiration to anyone who visits them – the art of planting at its best.
01206 822 007 /


RHS Garden Hyde Hall
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8ET
Enjoy a day out at the Beautiful RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Essex. Join in the fun with all year round events. Free to RHS Members
0845 265 8071 /


Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum
Marks Hall, Coggeshall, Essex, CO6 1TG
General Tea rooms serving drinks, cakes, freshly prepared lunches, cream teas Plant centre selling wide variety of plants Gift shop for that little reminder of Marks Hall Free parking with separate mobility spaces 20 m from Visitor Centre Toilet facilities.
01376 563796.


Weald Country Park
South Weald, Brentwood, CM14 5QS
At Weald Country Park, enjoy over 500 acres of woodland, lakes, hay and wildflower meadows, deer park, open grassland and spectacular views. The park is famous for its wildlife, including fallow deer, cattle, herons, mallard ducks and other water birds. Feed the deer with deer food from our shop or bring your own vegetable cuttings, or enjoy the new Stick Man play trail.


Abberton Resevoir Visitor Centre
Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre, Church Rd, Layer-de-la-Haye, Colchester, Essex, CO2 0EU
A wetland site of international importance for wildfowl. Up to 40,000 ducks, swans and geese visit each year. Excellent bird watching opportunities and fabulous views over the reservoir.
01621 862960 /


Cudmore Grove Country Park
Bromans Lane, East Mersea, CO5 8UE
At the eastern end of Mersea Island, at Cudmore Grove you’ll find a sandy beach, impressive views, grassland, meadows for relaxation and walks that will take you past interesting historical sites and an abundance of wildlife. The park is popular on hot summer days, with its sandy beach and cooling sea breeze. Winter brings wading birds and wildfowl, including flocks of brent geese.


Bridge End Garden
Bridge End, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1HR
Bridge End Garden is a series of seven interlinked gardens laid out by the Gibson family in the nineteenth century. These Grade II listed gardens are open to the public each day free of charge. Careful restoration has replicated gardening techniques and designs typical of the Victorian era and has brought the garden back to its full splendour.


The Gibberd Garden
Marsh Lane, Harlow, Essex, CM17 0NA
The Gibberd Garden is an inspirational, Grade II listed garden, full of beauty, peace and tranquillity, where every turn reveals another aspect or a work of art. The garden has formal lawns, pools, streams and glades, a dramatic mature lime avenue (complete with medieval fonts), a brookside walk with a waterfall, a wild garden with a tangle of paths where children love to hide, a moated castle with drawbridge and a Barn Tearoom run by friendly volunteers – with cakes, ice creams and refreshments.
01279 442112


Hanningfield Resevoir
Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre, Hawkswood Road, Downham, Billericay, Essex, CM11 1WT
Providing panoramic views over the 870 acre reservoir. The visitor centre is set in mature woodland and has proved a popular bat roost, with a beautiful carpet of Bluebells in the spring.


Paycocke’s House and Garden
25 West Street, Coggeshall, Colchester, Essex, CO6 1NS
A stunning Tudor merchant’s house whose walls have more than a few stories to tell. Discover what happened to Thomas’ house through hundreds of years of history as you piece together its timber framed secrets and the fascinating story of its riches to rags decline and Edwardian 20-year restoration. Don’t miss the nation’s favourite pastime of drinking tea and finding crafty gifts in our garden room coffee shop.


Thorndon Country Park
The Avenue, Brentwood, Essex CM13 3RZ
Thorndon Country Park offers 500 acres of countryside, filled with diverse wildlife and lots of wooded and open spaces for families to explore. The main paths are suitable for buggies and wheelchair users, and the public toilets has baby changing facilities. The park is most famous for its highly popular Gruffalo Trail, a self-led walking tour with hand-crafted carvings of Gruffalo characters to discover along the way. A map of the trail cost 50p and can be purchased frm the Countryside Centre at Thorndon North. The park is open from 8am until dusk.
01277 211250 /


Two Tree Island
Two Tree Island, Nature Reserve, Leigh on Sea, Essex
This 640 acre island is situated south of Leigh on Sea train station. The island itself consists of grassland, scrub, reedbed and lagoons and supports a wide variety of birds, particularly migrants. Avocets breed on the island each year.
01621 862960 /


Waltham Abbey Gardens
Abbey View, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1XQ
Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the Rose Gardens or take yourself and the family on a trail to explore hundreds of years of history as you discover intriguing art works along the route which will uncover the site’s invisible past.
08456 770 600 /


George’s Playing Fields
Ingrave Road, Brentwood, Essex CM14 5AE
King George’s Playing Fields is a large centrally located park offering the following facilities: formal gardens exquisite in spring -time and beautiful all year round, children’s play area, paddling pools,    a unique garden for the blind with many flowering and non-flowering plants which appeal to senses other than sight playing fields for football, cricket, rugby and kick about areas, bowling greens with 12 rinks, crazy golf, skate park, café and excellent facilities for the disabled and able-bodied alike.
01277 214830 /