SOME of the best and most historical places to visit in Essex have been unveiled, ahead of the bank holiday weekend. 

Visit Essex has launched its new Staycation campaign showcasing the county's rich historical appeal and heritage.

A new film accompanies the launch, delving into surprise connections from the past such as the saffron trade in Saffron Walden and Henry VIII's royal hunting grounds in Epping Forest.

The film also creatively recounts the Pilgrim Fathers' journey from Harwich on the Mayflower and the Battle of Maldon in 991 AD.

Lisa Bone, tourism and place marketing manager of Visit Essex, said: "Essex has a surprising past and has been home to some of history’s most remarkable people and events; from Highwayman Dick Turpin to Queen of the Iceni, Boudicca, who defeated the Romans in Colchester.

"There’s so much more to our dynamic cities, bustling market towns and picturesque villages when you know the history behind them.

"We’ll be exploring the county’s heritage throughout 2024.

"This will support the county’s historical attractions and the wider tourism economy.

"We’ll be working to entice more visitors for short breaks, long weekends and day trips."

Recent figures indicate visitor numbers are on the rise, with 50.3 million day trips recorded last year, up from 37.1 million the previous year, bringing in just over £2 billion.

A record 2.1 million overnight stays also brought in more than £466 million to the county.

Essex offers a broad expanse of heritage attractions, from historic castles, spectacular mansion houses and gardens, to top-notch museums and visitor centres.

To support the Staycation campaign, Visit Essex has released a list of its top ten historical attractions.

Essex's top ten historical attractions:

  • Colchester Castle

  • Hedingham Castle

  • Beach Huts

  • Audley End House and Gardens

  • Thames Sailing Barge

  • Chelmsford Museum

  • Southend Pier

  • Tiptree Jam Museum and Tearooms 

  • Epping Forest and Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge

  • Historic Harwich

Essex also boasts a variety of atmospheric places to stay, perfect for visitors wanting to immerse themselves in the county's heritage.

Downham Hall, Castle Hedingham, Layer Marney Glamping, Greyfriars Hotel, Wivenhoe House Hotel and Down Hall Estate are just some of the historic sites now available for overnight stays.

To discover more historical attractions across the county, visit