Over 30 February Half Term Activities in Essex

CLICK HERE FOR UPDATED 2024 FEBRUARY HALF TERM POST . February Spring Half Term in Essex is from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th February 2023. It can be a difficult half term to plan for because it is often cold and wet. To make it even more challenging many of the best attractions in Essex don’t open until Easter, but luckily a few open during half term with special events for children. Whether you are looking for indoor or outdoor activities for children this half term, I have pulled together this list with lots of ideas of places to go and things to do.

As well as the special events taking place in half term remember that there are lots of inside places to go in Essex where you can get out of the house, but keep warm. I have posts about where to go soft play, bowlingswimming, trampolining, climbing wallspottery painting, laser quest, mini golf and more in Essex. 

A child looking at snowdrops on post of February half term activities in Essex
Whether February half term feels like the start of spring or not there is lots on for children in Essex

Where To Go In February Half Term With Children In Essex

See Baby Animals (with some added Princesses and Dragons)

Barleylands, Barleylands Road, Billericay CM11 2UD
Lambing Live is running throughout half term with newborn lambs, farmers on hand to answer questions and interactive talks about shepherding. Advanced tickets online cost £15.50 per person.

Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Colchester CO3 0SL
Colchester Zoo celebrate their 60th Birthday with “Zoo crew celebrations” during February half term. Party with them on stage and follow a trail round the zoo to get a sticker reward. On the gate price is £21.99 adults, £17.99 children (small saving if purchased in advance online).

Get To Know Animals, Forest Lodge Commercial Complex, High Rd, Epping, Essex, CM16 5HW
Finally opening to the public on February 13th check out this new mini zoo and indoor experience centre. Over 10 year olds are £15, 10 and under £12, save money by booking online. Read my review here.

Old MacDonalds Farm and Fun Park, Weald Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5AY
Half term special guests are the Singing Princesses (and there might be some princes and Dragons too). Adults £19, children £18 on the gate, small saving online.

Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers CM3 5WP
Half term at Marsh Farm will be a day filled with fairies, knights, dragons and fairytale frolics. Previous year's events have included learning to be a knight, a dragon's disco, crafts and the chance to meet a unicorn (or maybe it's a pony in disguise). Fancy dress optional. 
Entry £14.99 on the gate (everyone over 2 years, 6 months to 2 years are £4.99). Small saving if bought in advance.

Willows Activity Farm, London Colney, Hertfordshire AL4 0PF
(In Hertfordshire, but worth travelling for). During the February Frolics half term event there will be live lambing, newborn lamb bottle feeding demonstrations, crafts and a show where Bo Peep has lost here sheep. Tickets in advance for anyone 2 or over is £19.95 plus booking fee, I assume it costs more on the gate, but I can't see the price.

A child standing in front of a painted board saying "I am a dragon" taken at Marsh Farm February Half Term fairy and dragons event
Princess, Fairy, Dragon or just animal lover, Essex farm parks are catering to all at February half term


Step Back In Time With A Visit To Essex's Museums And Castles

Audley End House and Gardens, Audley End Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4JF
Meet historic performers, discover the Victorian's top 10 worst jobs and enjoy hands-on activities.
10am to 4pm all of half term. £19 adults, £11.40 children

Chelmsford Museum, Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, CM2 9AQ
From 11th February until 31st March Chelmsford Museum has a special trail to celebrate the release of a new children's book: Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum written by comedian Alasdair Beckett-King and illustrated by Claire Powell. Grab an activity sheet and solve puzzles as undercover detectives. Remember to pick up a free moustache bookmark. Museum open 10am to 4pm and entry is free.

Colchester Castle, Castle Park, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1TJ
Over half term Colchester Castle has a Love at the Castle Trail (£5 for trail sheet and includes a prize). They also have Love at the Castle Fun & Games everyday (a room full of crafts and games and special and family tours of the castle on 13th, 15th and 17th and costumed characters on 16th. These are included in the entrance ticket price: adults £11.95, children (aged 4-16) £6.75.

If you are looking for something really different they have the Knightzzz At The Museum sleepover 7pm Saturday 11th to 9am on Sunday 12th February. Suitable for age 5 plus. There are activities before bed and you can enjoy a tour of areas of the museum not normally open to the public. You can choose where you want to sleep and it costs £35 per person for public areas and £45 to sleep in the prison or vault which are normally closed to the public. Call 01206 282939 to book. Next event is 1st April. 

Essex Fire Museum, Grays Fire Station, Hogg Lane, Graysm RM17 5QS
The museum is open Tuesday 14th February 10 til 4pm. Prebook at museum@essex-fire.gov.uk. 

Hedingham CastleBayley Street, Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DJ
Go to Knight School and learn how to fight in duels and team battles using padded weapons. In each 1 hour session, you are coached in combat techniques by members of the Historical European Martial Arts team. Sessions run at varying times on 13th, 14th and 15th February. Suitable for adults and children 6+. Tickets for Knight School cost £2.50 on top of entry to the castle and grounds (£11 adults, £9 children although they also do family tickets where you can have any number of children as long as they fit in the car).

Audley end house and the formal garden in the sunshine
History comes to life this half term at Audley End House 

Enjoy A Walk Amongst The Spring Flowers

As the plants slowly start to come to live you can get outside and explore some of the earliest spring flowers. While you can walk any where, these gardens are worth a visit, especially the ones with trails and activities to keep children happy.

The Gibberd Garden, Marsh Lane, Harlow, Essex, CM17 0NA
The Gibberd Garden has some preseason opening days including on 12th, 15th and 19th February for visitors to see the snowdrops and Hellebores. Tickets available on the door: £5 adults, £1 children.

RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon Common, Chelmsford CM3 8ET
Activities during half term include face painting (13th and 16th), making a cress head (13th), story telling (14th) and craft workshops (16th). The cress head and craft workshops require tickets and prebooking (separate to entry) and cost £1.50 and £2 respectively. Entrance to the gardens costs £12.95 adults and £6.55.

Markshall Estate, Marks Hall Road, Coggeshall, CO6 1TG
Between 10th February and 19th March (open every day in half term and Friday to Sunday in term time)  children can enjoy a mini beast trail around the gardens. 20 painted wooden animal shapes are hidden around the estate, find them all and you get a small prize. We enjoyed their Halloween trail which was a similar principle. Tickets are: £8 adults, £4.30 children. The trails costs £2 for adults and under 3, but is free if child or family tickets are purchased. Read more about visiting in my review.

Capel Manor Gardens, Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 4RQ (just over the border from Essex).
Children will be provided with an activity sheet designed to encourage them to use all their senses and engage with the natural world on their Five Senses Nature Trail. Running from Monday 13th to Friday 17th between 10am and 5pm. Tickets cost £8 for adults and £5 for children. Prebooking encouraged to guarantee entry. You can read about our visit to Capel Manor for their Easter Trail here

Looking at a fairy door and playing with wooden stumps at Markshall Estate
There is lots to explore at Markshall Estate and the Mini Beast Trail will keep children interested

Catch A Show Or Let Children Show Their Star Qualities

There is lots on in Essex Theatres to entertain families this half term.

Chelmsford Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1JG
There are masterclasses for children on in half term including: Musical Theatre on Monday (age 5 to 11), Film Making on Wednesday (age 11 to 16) and Junkyard Puppetry on Thursday (age 8 to 11) as well as a classical ballet performance of The Princess and The Frog on Tuesday.

Harlow PlayhousePlayhouse Square, Harlow CM20 1LS
Family Friendly performances in half term including film, puppetry and live events: Amazing Bubble Man (Saturday), Squidge (Wednesday), Breathe (Thursday), Milkshake Live! (Friday) and Ministry of Science Live (Saturday).

Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT 
The performances over half term look most suitable for children age 12 plus, but there is a 4 day SEND story telling workshop for children 7 to 14 and 13 to 17 which sounds good.

Thameside Theatre, Orsett Road, Grays, RM17 5DX
Nicky Trix All New Fabulous February Show is on 14th February at 2pm. Hosted by a children's entertainer expect: comedy, magic tricks, sound effects and a special visit from the very naughty Nambu the elephant.

Victoria Hall Theatre, Bury Road, Old Harlow, CM17 OED
Half Term Productions have performances of The Hare and The Tortoise at this community and volunteer run theatre from Monday 13th to Saturday 18th February. Shows at 10.30 and 2.30pm. Described as  "comedy, music, songs, slapstick, puppets and the greatest race ever run! Fun for all the family". Prebooking required and tickets tend to sell out early.

If these don't appeal to you then how about a trip to the cinema? February releases include Puss In Boots: The Last Wish and Ant-Man and The Wasp (To be released on 17th Feb) and some cinemas have special showings of other films on for half term. Find details of all Essex cinemas here. 

Activities For Train Lovers

Of course you could catch a train anywhere, but these heritage train events make the trains the focus onf the day. 

East Anglian Railway Museum, Chappel Station, Colchester, Essex, CO6 2DS
EARM is open for Diesel Days on 12th, 15th and 19th Feb. Catch unlimited rides on the vintage carriages and wagons and enjoy the train themed playground. Museum open 10am to 5pm and trains run between 10.30am and 3pm. Adults £10, children £7 and add on a trail map for £1.50 (includes a treat). Discount with advanced booking. 

Epping Ongar Railway, Ongar and North Weald Stations
On Wednesday 15th  to Sunday 19th you can enjoy steam and diesel engine pulled train rides. You can also get a heritage bus from Epping station to the start on the route making it easy to get public transport. A special half term offer for tickets mean adults cost £18 and children are just £1. Book online.

A diesel train and a bridge at Epping Ongar Railway
Enjoy a day on the train at Epping Ongar Railway

Something Different

I admit I didn't quite know how to categorise the next 4 as they didn't fit in any of the other categories. 

Party Monster, The Civic Hall, Blackshots Lane, Grays, RM16 2JU
Party Monsters have a Valentine's Party on Tuesday 14th February at 10.30am and 2pm. They promise magic, puppets, bubbles, games, soft play and lots of fun. Tickets cost £5 toddlers, £13 children and £4 adults (plus booking fee).

Princess & Pirate Party with Joe Banana & Bam Bam, The Civic Hall, Blackshots Lane, Grays, RM16 2JU.
See the Britain's Got Talent star and friends for a party this half term. Taking place on Wednesday and Thursday at 10.30am and 2.30pm. Children £10, adults £5. Bam Bam also has a party at the Player's Lounge in Billericay on Tuesday 14th at 10.30am and 2pm. 

Adventure Island, Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1EE
The seaside 'theme park' reopens for the season on 12th February with a wide range of rides and rollercoasters to enjoy. If you haven't been before then you basically purchase a wristband which lets you go on all the rides you want that day. The wristbands cost £28 per person onsite or £26 if bought online in advance. Lots of places sell them at a further discounted rate though eg our school PTA sell them for £15.50 and I have heard other places sell them for even less. It's worth checking the height restrictions before purchase to make sure your children are tall enough to make it worth it. If it's wet the inside area (Adventure Inside) is open every day. 

LuminoCity Southend, Around the City Centre, Southend-on-Sea
From 15th to 18th February between 5pm and 10pm you can see 12 light installations in LuminoCity Festival of Light. The installations are around the city centre and free to see. If you start at the sea end of the high street the first installation is on the pier. They are then on or near the High Street and beyond more or less in a line ending at Central Museum. You can see the map here or pick up a guide from local businesses including Southend Central Station and the museum. 

Nuclear Races, Wild Forest Obstacle Activity Centre
On 14th and 16th February 10am to 12.30pm children can take part in fun (and probably muddy sessions). Separate sessions for 6 to 10 and 11 to 16 year olds. Both will involve the obstacle course and bushcraft activities, but the younger group will be inside for bushcraft.  

Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Ln, Pitsea, Basildon SS16 4UH
Pond dipping and soft archery sessions are running Monday 13th to Friday 17th, suitable for 4 years upwards, costing £5.25 per person. Each session lasts 30 minutes and can be booked on 01268 205267 week days before 4pm

A girl with a magnifying glass at a forest school session run by essex wildlife trust
Wrap up warm and get outside with one of the many Essex Wildlife Trust sessions this half term

Get Back To Nature With Essex Wildlife Trust

As always in the school holidays Essex Wildlife Trust are running lots of sessions for children. Book quickly as they often fill up fast, especially the drop off days. More information on all these sessions including prices and booking links are on the Essex Wildlife Trust website.

Family Forest Fun Sessions

Saturday 11 February
    Abberton (Colchester) Family Fun 10:30am - 12:30pm, 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Sunday 12 February
    Hanningfield (Billericay) Family Forest School Fun 10am - 12:00pm
Monday 13th February
    Chigwell Meadows Family Forest Fun (3-10 years) 10am-12pm
Tuesday 14th February 
    Bedfords (Havering-atte-Bower) Family Forest Fun (3-10 years) 10am-4pm
Wednesday 15 February
    Fingringhoe Wick (Colchester) Family Forest School 10am - 12pm
    Ingrebourne (Hornchurch) Forest Family Fun (3-10 years) 10am-12pm
    Hanningfield (Billericay) Family Forest Adventures (5+) 10am-12pm
    Langdon (Basildon)Family Forest Fun (5 years+) 1pm-3pm
Thursday 16 February 
    Belfairs (Leigh On Sea) Family Forest School 10am - 12:30pm
Friday 17 February
    Chigwell Meadows Family Forest Fun (3-10 years) 1pm-3pm
    Ingrebourne (Hornchurch) Family Forest Fun 10am-12pm
    Hanningfield (Billericay) Family Forest Adventures (5+) 2pm-4pm

Forest School Drop Off Sessions

Tuesday 14th February
    Abbotts Hall (Colchester) Over 8's 9 - 4pm
    Ingrebourne (Hornchurch) Over 5’s 9 - 4pm
    Hanningfield (Billericay) Over 5’s 9 - 4pm
Wednesday 15th February
    Chigwell Meadows (Chigwell) Over 5 years old 9 - 4pm
    Abberton (Colchester) Bushcraft themed. Over 5 years 9 - 4pm
Thursday 16th February
    Chigwell Meadows (Chigwell) Over 5 years old 9 - 4pm
    Langdon (Basildon) 5 years + 9 - 4pm
    Fingringhoe Wick (Colchester) Bushcraft themed, 11 years +, 10am - 3pm
Friday 17th February
    Bedfords Park (Havering-atte-Bower), 5 years +, 9 - 4pm
    Belfairs (Leigh on Sea), 5 years +, 9 - 4pm
    Fingringhoe Wick (Colchester), 5 years +, 9 - 4pm.

Story Time Sessions

Monday 13th February 
    Bedfords (Havering-atte-Bower) Story time session based on 'Owl Babies' (2-6 years) 10am-11.15am
    Thameside (Stanford-Le-Hope) Woodland Story time 10am-11:30am
Wednesday 15th February
    Thameside (Standford-Le-Hope) Woodland Story time 10am - 11.30am
    Thorndon (Brentwood) Story time session based on 'Blackbird, Blackbird, What Do You Do?' (2-6 years) 1:30pm - 3pm
Thursday 16th February
    Ingrebourne (Hornchurch) Storytime Session (2-6 years) 10am-12:45pm
Friday 17th February 
    Chigwell Meadows session based on 'Owl Babies' (2-6 years) 10-11.30am
    Langdon (Basildon) Woodland Story Time 10am-12pm

Bird box building to support National Nest Box Week 11th to 19th February

Langdon (Basildon) Bird Box Building Monday 13th 10am - 3:30pm
Thameside (Stanford-Le-Hope) Tuesday 14th and Saturday 18th 2 - 3.30pm  
Belfairs (Leigh On Sea) Wednesday 15th 10am - 12pm
Hanningfield (Billericay) Monday 13th and Thursday 16th 10am - 12pm

Other Essex Wildlife Trust Sessions In Half Term

Sunday 12th February
    Abberton (Colchester) Brambly Hedge Adventure 10:30am - 12:30pm. Listen to a Brambly Hedge story before heading out to meet the mice and complete and challenges.
Monday 13th February 
    Abberton (Colchester) Brilliant Birds 10:30am - 3pm. Bird themed fun including making a bird box, natural crafts and a bird-based trail. 
    Chigwell Meadows Bird Balls and Crafts (3-10 years) 1:30pm-3:30pm. Create your own bird balls, themed crafts and have fun exploring on a bird/nature walk.
Tuesday 14th February   
    Thameside (Stanford-Le-Hope) Bird Brains 10am - 12pm. Bird themed fun and games    
    Belfairs (Leigh On Sea) Woodland Discovery (Over 8s) 10am-12pm. Discover the woodland and create some natural crafts in Belfairs Woods
    Naze (Walton-on-the-Naze) Family Fossil Discovery 10am-11.30am. A group fossil hunt on the beach.
    Abberton (Colchester) Winter Warm-Up 10:30am - 12:30pm, 1:30pm - 3:30pm. Join an outdoor    adventure to explore and get moving.
Wednesday 15th February
    Bedfords (Havering-atte-Bower) Bird Crafts  10am-12pm
    Fingringhoe Wick (Colchester) Woodland Wildlife Exploration 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Thursday 16th February
    Thorndon (Brentwood) Bird Feeder Frenzy 10am - 12pm. Make some DIY bird feeders and bird crafts.
    Thameside (Standford-Le-Hope) Super Scientists 10am - 12pm Explore the world of Science at Thameside.
    Naze (Walton-on-the-Naze) Family Fossil Discovery 2-3.30pm. A group fossil hunt on the beach.
    Hanningfield (Billericay) Bird Feeder Fun 2pm-3:30pm Make a bird feeder for our feathered friends
    Thameside (Stanford Le Hope) Dinosaur Discovery 2pm - 4pm
Saturday 18th February 
    Hanningfield (Billericay) Drop In Crafts 10am-2pm

No comments

Thanks for your comment (unless it's spam in which case, why?)