Where To Go In Essex With Children This February Half Term

February Half Term across most of Essex is a little later than normal this year: 17th to 25th February. While many of the seasonal attractions in Essex aren’t reopening until the Easter holidays, some are open for February half term. Most London Boroughs and Kent appear to have their half term the week before so bare this in mind if you plan to go to attractions outside of Essex.  

You might also find this post helpful with all the place kids can eat for free during February half term. 

What's On In Essex This February Half Term

From trails to shows there is plenty happening this half term. Whether you are looking for fresh air or indoor activities in the warm there are ideas below for all budgets. 

An excited looking child on a day out in Essex during February half term
What to do with children this half term

Essex Attractions With Special Events Over February Half Term

Adventure Island, Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1EE

Adventure Island, the coastal 'theme park' is back open for February half term from 17th to 25th February. If the weather isn’t great there is always the soft play and arcades to warm up in. Read more about Adventure Island in my post here. 

All Things Alpaca, Lathcoats Farm, Beehive Lane, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, CM2 8LX

Not exclusively available at half term, but at All Things Alpaca you can walk with Alpacas or have a meet and greet session with a range of animals including pygamy goats and pigs. 30 minute experiences start at £10 per person (children can take an adult for free) with Alpaca Trekking starting at £22 for children 8 plus. 

Barleylands Lambing Week, Barleylands Road, Billericay CM11 2UD  

Running 17th to 25th February it’s all about the baby lambs at Barleyland. Check out the latest animals to be born and get a chance to bottle feed them as well as following a lambing activity trail. Normal activities including tractor rides, animal talks and small animal handling are also taking place. There are some indoor areas including the soft play, exotics house and an events barn so there is cover if there are showers and places to warm up, however much of the site is outside so dress for the weather. Save 15% on tickets by booking online, £17 per person on the door (2 years and over).

Art Week at Chelmsford Museum, Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, CM2 9AQ 

19th to 23rd February 10am to 12pm, 1.30pm to 3pm. The free museum in Oaklands Park has art activities on for children in half term. This is a free drop in event. Read more about visiting Chelmsford Museum here.

Chelmsford For You, Various Locations

Chelmsford For You are bring back Book Week with a number of FREE events running in the City Centre Monday 19th - Friday 23rd February. Check out full details here, but they include story sessions, arts & crafts sessions and a book trail where you can win books or a school book voucher. 

Colchester Castle, Castle Park, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1TJ 

There is lots happening at Colchester Castle over half term. On 17th to 25th February there is a new children’s trail where you can discover the heroes and villains of the Roman World. Trail costs £5 in addition to entry to the castle and includes a prize. Prebooking not required. 

On 19th to 23rd February there will be a number of games in the galleries focussing on the Romans. Included in admission price. 

They also have one of their sleepovers “Knightzz at The Museum” on 17th to 18th February. 

Colchester Castle entry is £12.50 for adults, £6.95 for children. Open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. 

Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Colchester CO3 0SL

From 17th to 25th February Essex's biggest zoo is celebrating 'Zooper Heroes' including the Animal Care Team, researchers, educators and record keepers. There will be a trail, meet and greets, enrichment stations and other activities. Tickets cost £22.50 for adults, £18.50 children, with discounts on advanced purchase. 
Read more about the zoo here.

Daisy May's Farm, Hall Road, Elsenham, CM22 6DN

From Saturday 17th to Sunday 25th February 10-4 you can visit the farm to meet baby sheep and goats, hold baby chicks , enjoy a trail, the updated play area and arts & crafts. £6 per person, no booking required. Ride the woodland train for an additional £2 pp, animal feed 50p a bag.

Epping Ongar Railway, Ongar and North Weald 

The heritage railway is running over half term. Get a heritage bus from Epping station before riding diesel and steam trains. Running on 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 22nd, 24th and 25th February. Prebook and children’s tickets are £1, adults are £18.

Essex Wildlife Trust Outdoor Activities, various locations throughout Essex 

Embrace the outdoors with one of the Essex Wildlife Trust events running in half term. Check their website for events near you and make sure to book well in advance for those that are bookable. Activities include a free Snowy Pawprints Trail at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Discovery park (Colchester, 17th to 25th February), make a bird feeder and nature walk at Chigwell Meadows (19th February, 3-10 years, £7 per child) and Naze Family Fossil Discovery Day (20th February, £4 per person).

Check out their events here. 

Foxholes Farm, London Road, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 7NT

A short distance from Essex, Foxholes Farm has their Big Tractors Experience Day returns on Saturday 17th to Monday 19th February, Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th February. £5 per person gives you the opportunity to sit in their tractors and pretend to drive them as well as see some of the animals in their winter homes. 

Hedingham Castle, Bayley Street, Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DJ

Throughout half term you can visit the grounds of Hedingham Castle for the Snowdrop walks, but they have a few extra activities which will help keep children interested including a nature trail (£1 add on and sweet treat reward) and Knight School. Suitable for age 6 plus to adults you can book on to a 1 hour session and be coached on medieval combat techniques. Sessions are available on Wednesday 21st to Friday 23rd February as a £2.50 add on per person.  

Entry for the Snowdrop walk is £11 adults, £9 children, with good discounts for family tickets with multiple children. You can add on Knight School or the nature trail when making your booking. 

Hertfordshire Zoo, White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne EN10 7QA

As the name suggests Hertfordshire Zoo is just over the border from Essex. Previously known as Paradise Wildlife Park it opens with it's new branding on 10th February. Updates expected this year include improvements to the dinosaur area and animal enclosures. 

RHS Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon Common, Chelmsford CM3 8ET 

This RHS garden near Chelmsford has a number of activities for children over half term, some of which will need to be pre-booked. Sessions include story telling, planting a chive character, crafts, face painting and a trail through the gardens.

Lee Valley Family Adventure Park, Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey EN9 2EF

If it's a dry half term then a day at Lee Valley should be fun. Expect some animals (including the new wallaby walkthrough), a great playground, mini golf, bouncy pillow and more. Running the 12th to 25th February. Book online in advance for £7.99.

Marsh Farm, Marsh Farm Road, South Woodham Ferrers CM3 5WP

Unsurprisingly (given they are run by the same company as Lee Valley) Marsh Farm are also offering half term tickets (from 12th to 25th Feb) for £7.99 when booked in advance, or £9.99 if booked on the day. There is more to do at Marsh Farm than Lee Valley including a soft play to warm up/ dry off in so this is a great offer. While they don't have any special events on, this is still great value. 
You can read more about visiting Marsh Farm here.

Museum of Power, Hatfield Road, Langford, Maldon, Essex CM9 6QA

From 21st to 25th February there is a Half Term Havoc event at the Museum with plenty of crafts and other activities. The Miniature Railway is running and the Model Village is open. Children 5 to 15 are £5 and adults £8.

Natural History Museum,  High Street, Colchester, CO1 1DN

This museum has a few extra activities on over half term including a Mobile Zoo on 19th to 20th February. Book on to a 30 minute session to meet fluffy and scaly animals, suitable for age 4 plus, £6.50 per person. On 21st February there is a free fun and games session for under 5s, booking recommended. 

Entry to the museum is free and it's open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm (11am on Sundays)

Old MacDonalds Farm, Weald Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5AY

The farm reopens on 17th February with a magical week of activities thanks to The Singing Princesses and Dragons making appearances through out the day. Check the website to discover which princesses are expected on each day. 

Old MacDonalds Farm is a fun place to visit for younger children with farm animals, plenty of play areas and some fairground rides. Activities are mostly outside so wrap up warm. 

Thames Chase, Broadfields, Pike Lane, Upminster, RM14 3NS

On Friday 23rd February Thames Chase has Monster Face Making sessions suitable for primary school age children (and older). Children will get to make and paint a monster face to take home made from natural materials. Costs £6 per person, prebooking required. Call 01708 642970 to book. They also have a drop in children's craft activity session on Wednesday 21st between 10.30 and 12.30 (this is advertised on their Facebook, but not currently on their website).

Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, Basildon, Essex, SS16 4UH

Book one of the half term activities at Wat Tyler for half term. There is pancake making, pond dipping, soft archery and a spacewalk! Prices from £6 to £11.55. To book call 01268 205267 between 10am-4pm. . For more about whats at the Country Park read this post.

Inside Places To Go With Children in February Half Term 

If you are looking for somewhere to keep warm and dry then I have a great range of suggestions here including: where you can go to the cinema, soft play, ceramic painting or mini golf. If you have tweens or teens to entertain then check out the suggestions in this post. 

Particularly worth noting for half term:

Chelmsford Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford CM1 1JG

Shows at Chelmsford Theatre this half term includes: Ministry of Science Live 2024 on Sunday 18th February £15 to £16.50 and Peppa’s Cinema Party 21st to 22nd February episodes of Peppa Pig on the big screen. 

Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 7RA

See the Wizard of Oz straight from The London Pavillion from 20th to 25th February. Based on the 1939 film the musical stars RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner and Dancing On Ice star The Vivienne as The Wicked Witch Of The West and Gary Wilmot as The Wizard. Book tickets here.

Harlow Playhouse, Playhouse Square, Harlow CM20 1LS 

This theatre in Harlow has a great range of shows for children over half term. From comedy to science, music to dinosaurs there is something for everyone. There is a circus stage show on 19th, a Dinosaur Show (Jurassic Earth) and a comedy show for children on 20th,  Science Museum the live Stage show on 22nd, a Little Mix tribute show on 23rd and Milkshake! Live on 24th including two Channel 5 presenters.

Kids Play Bouncy Castles Stay and Play, Debden Park High School, Willingale Road, Loughton IG10 2BQ

Taking over a large hall in the Debden Park High School Kids Play Bouncy Castles will set up a main area of inflatables for 4 to 11 year olds and a smaller area with inflatables and soft play for children age 6 months to 3 years. Running from Monday 19th to Wednesday 21st February there are 3 bookable timeslots lasting 2 hours. £13 per child, prebooking online. 

Princess Afternoon Tea at Wivernhoe House, Park Road, Colchester, CO4 3FA

Enjoy an afternoon tea with added princesses, singalongs, story telling, crafts and surprises. Takes place at 1pm on 22nd February, prebooking essential, £30 per person.

Scotts of Southend, Sutton Road, Rochford, SS4 1LQ

From February 22nd to 24th there are 2 hour meet the farm animal sessions running at the garden centre. This costs £3.50 per person and must be prebooked. They also have free Children's Tomato Planting sessions on 18th and 25th (must be prebooked) and a VR ride (£5 PP).

Essex Libraries, various locations

There are lots of events for children in local libraries over half term. These include stories, LEGO clubs , Pokemon card clubs and crafts. Check out events at your nearest library here.

Other fun inside places to visit in Essex during half term include:

Did you know I have a Facebook group where I share ideas of where to go in Essex with children? Why not join my Family Days Out in Essex group?

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