AS lockdown eases, springtime in Essex is going to look a lot more different to how it was a year ago.
Will the Government’s roadmap successfully moving onto step two, members of the public can get back outdoors, enjoying this like haircuts, shopping, or a pint with some mates.
Now we are allowed travel around the county, we have put together a list of ten great things to do while the sun is out.
Get a scoop of ice cream and walk along the pier in Southend
Rossi Ice Cream comes from Southend and has been hand-made to an Italian recipe in the town since 1932.
Southend Pier is a major landmark in Southend-on-Sea.
Extending 1.34 miles into the Thames Estuary, it is the longest pleasure pier in the world.
A pier spokesman said: “We’re open from 10.15am to 6pm, so even though the weather isn’t great, you can wrap up warm and hop on the Pier Train.
“There’s plenty of places at the Pier Head where you can grab a hot drink or some fish and chips to warm you up, as you once again take in the stunning estuary views you won’t find anywhere else in Southend!”
Have afternoon tea and try Tiptree jam
The county is home to Wilkin & Sons of Tiptree and a proper afternoon tea will be served with on the brand’s famous preserves.
Choose from one of the ten Tiptree tearooms located throughout the county.
A spokesman said: “We are currently not taking bookings at any tea room but please pop along when you can and we will seat you as soon as possible.
“Although we will be implementing a smaller menu, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.”
Tiptree Tea Rooms and Jam Shop are all reopening for outside dining, retail, and takeaway so go and enjoy a special Tiptree cream tea.
A walk around historic Hedingham Castle
Hedingham Castle is one of the most iconic buildings in Essex.
Built 900 years ago, the ancient defensive landscape of the motte and bailey castle, along with the Norman keep form an impressive heritage treasure that is well worth a visit.
Surrounded by the formal gardens and undulating woods and stunning lake, it is a place to explore, picnic, and create your own adventure.
They will be hosting an April walks this month until the 25th.
A spokesman said: “Visit for a stroll in our beautiful grounds, or why not make a day of it and bring a picnic!
“Our takeaway Keep café will be open serving some delicious treats as well as hot and cold drinks.
“A two-adult family ticket includes entry for two adults and as many children under 18 that you can fit in the car (up to 5).
“A one-adult family ticket includes entry for one adult and up to six children.”
Watching the skies at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome
The aerodrome is the oldest surviving in the world. You can experience the site and even attend an event where you get to watch the vintage aircraft fly in.
Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome confirmed it will reopen on May 21, subject to government guidance.
It will have its new opening hours of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10am-4pm.
The signature annual Wings and Wheels event will take place on the May 30 bank holiday weekend when visitors can see fabulous historic aircraft take to the sky, alongside a great array of classic cars on display
Be a zookeeper for the day at Colchester Zoo
Step into the boots of a keeper or just enjoy a visit to Colchester Zoo. You’ll be able to meet meerkats, elephants , giraffes, penguins, sea lions, tigers and primates.
To find out more about the zoo or book tickets, visit colchester-zoo.com/plan-your-visit/tickets.
Walk among the flowers at RHS Garden Hyde Hall
Spring time is the right time to admire nature’s colourful bounty.
Set in the heart of rural Essex, and enjoying stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, RHS Garden Hyde Hall is one of the finest gardens in the east of England.
This 360-acre site is a haven of peace and tranquillity, encompassing a diverse mix of garden styles from traditional to modern.
Highlights include the Dry Garden with its fantastic range of drought resistant plants, and the Hilltop Garden with its roses and herbaceous borders.
A bit of retail therapy at Braintree Village
Discover Braintree Village, an outlet shopping village where over 80 premium aspirational brands such as Reiss, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker, BOSS and Radley London can be found at great value, outlet prices.
The outlet has a combination of fashion, homeware and accessories, and restaurants.
A great lunch of fish and chips in Wivenhoe
Fry Magazine has named Henley’s of Wivenhoe as one of the top 50 takeaways in the UK as part of its Fry Awards 2021.
Industry expert mystery shoppers marked the firm on more than 40 different aspects of its business – ranging from the quality of its grub to its Covid-safe practices.
And the chip shop is clearly the plaice to go for fish and chips in north Essex as it was the only takeaway in the area to make the list.
Enjoy your award-winning meal along the coastline.
See the animals at Blackwater Alpacas & Pygmy Goats
The smallholding is based on the outskirts of Bradwell village, situated between Braintree and Coggeshall.
They offer Alpaca Walking Experiences and private farm tours which include feeding and petting the animals.
Organisers will be adding Alpaca Walking Experience event times and dates on their Facebook page in the events section.
All events must be pre-booked by telephone.
A peaceful walk along the Naze seafront
Go hunting for sharks teeth and fossils dating back to the Ice Age at The Naze. This wondrous part of the Essex coast also boasts the Naze Tower.
The historic 86ft landmark was built in 1720 and now houses an art gallery showing exhibitions by East Anglian artists.
There is also a museum about the history of the Tower and The Naze, tea rooms serving all day and a viewing platform with spectacular coastal views at the top.
The plan is to open going up the Naze Tower for the views and museum from the May 17 – in line with the government roadmap – and the Summer Art Exhibition will start June 12.