RESIDENTS are being encouraged to spend New Year’s Day exploring the hidden gems in Essex.

Tourism and destination management organisation, Visit Essex, has highlighted a number of destinations in Colchester and around the county to visit without breaking the bank.

The following events and destinations have been listed as “the best places to go” this New Year’s Day.

1. Crank Up and Wassail at the Museum of Power, Maldon

Chelmsford Weekly News: Wassail: Morris dancers at the event last yearWassail: Morris dancers at the event last year (Image: Museum of Power)

Dancers and musicians are set to entertain visitors to the museum as they celebrate their annual New Year’s Day Crank Up and Wassail.

Every year they complete a traditional Wassail song in their orchard to ask for a bountiful crop.

The pagan tradition aims to encourage the spirits to ensure a good harvest. The Astaria model village at the site will be open as well as the miniature railway.

A spokesman for Visit Essex said: “For something unique to do this year, why not visit the Museum of Power on New Year’s Day? The museum is ringing in the new year by cranking up their engines and blessing the fruit trees in their orchard to ask for a bountiful crop with their Wassail Song.”

2. New Year's Day walk at High Woods Country Park, Colchester

Chelmsford Weekly News: Outdoors: High Woods Country Park Outdoors: High Woods Country Park (Image: Colchester City Council)

Visit Essex has suggested a New Year's Day walk at High Woods Country Park in Colchester.

The park hosts an official three-mile walk led by a park ranger, where walkers can enjoy a cup of mulled wine and a mince pie.

The walk will take place between 11am and 1pm and tickets cost £5.50.

3. Fingringhoe Ho Ho Reindeer Trail at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Discovery Park in Colchester

Chelmsford Weekly News: Centre: visitors centre at Fingringhoe WickCentre: visitors centre at Fingringhoe Wick (Image: Essex Wildlife Trust)

A fun family reindeer trail will be held at the discovery park to find Santa’s reindeer and win a prize.

The trail costs £3 and is being held from 10am to 3pm.

A spokesman for Visit Essex said: “Bring the whole family to keep the Christmassy feeling going with Fingringhoe Nature Discovery Park’s Reindeer Trail.

“Santa’s reindeer will be hiding around the reserve, and children will be challenged to find them and answer their wintry questions to win a prize.”

4. Upside-down house at Lakeside in Grays

Families are being encouraged to have some fun at the unique upside-down house in Lakeside.

The interior design was decorated by the interior design team of Ikea.

Venue entry costs £4.50 per person and children aged three and under go free.

On the Bank Holiday, the house will be open from 10am to 6pm.

5. New Year's Day trail at Weald Country Park

The Stick Man play trail at Weald Country Park in Brentwood is free to use and trail maps can be purchased for 80p from the visitor centre car park.

Councillor Mark Durham, chairman of Visit Essex, said: “New Year’s Day is a chance to set resolutions and make a commitment to yourself. Why not start the year by exploring your own county? There are plenty of different and cheaper things going on across Essex this year.

“We understand that Christmas is an expensive time, so we’re showing you how you can see the county for less. Bring the whole family and enjoy yourself right in your backyard.”