Last Minute Easter In Essex: Easter Egg Hunts That Don't Need Prebooking

Easter seems to have come round faster than ever this year, but don’t worry if you haven’t managed to grab tickets for an Easter event yet there are plenty of Easter Egg Hunts in Essex that don’t need to be prebooked, and some of them are even free! 

Over Easter weekend there are a HUGE number of events happening in Essex and you can check out my full list here, but in this post I have pulled together the events on Easter weekend that say you don’t need to book in advance. 

A patch of grass with daisies and Easter Eggs
Essex Easter Egg Hunts You Don't Need To Prebook

I have also listed the attractions in Essex with Easter events over the school holidays where you should be able to visit with last minute booking, especially outside of Easter weekend, so you can wait to see what the weather is doing before you make plans.

I recommend checking attractions social media accounts (especially Facebook and Instagram stories) for last minute availability, closures and announcements.

Essex Easter Egg Hunts Over Easter Weekend You Don't Need To Book

Bourne Mill, Bourne Road, Colchester, CO2 8RT

Bourne Mill and the grounds are open on Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April 2024 and will have a National Trust Easter egg trail. Have fun following the trail around the mill and garden between 11am to 4pm (last entry at 3pm). Entrance is free and the Easter egg hunt is £3 and children will get a trail map, pencil and chocolate egg. There will also be activities, crafts, talks, books for sale and refreshments.  

Chelmsfords For You, Chelmsford City Centre

An Easter Egg Hunt with a difference. Shops and businesses across Chelmsford City Centre will have Super Hero themed eggs in their windows, download the trail card from Friday 29th March to find out where they will be and count how many there are for a chance to win prizes. On March 30th there is also an Egg Painting activity in High Chelmer Shopping Centre from 10am to 1pm. The Chelmsford For You Super Easter Egg Hunt runs until Sunday 14th April. It's also worth visiting on 13th April when they have the Chelsmford Takeover with loads of Super Hero themed workshops and activities in the City Centre.

Forty Hall, Forty Hill, Enfield, EN2 9HA (sneakily just over the border from Essex)

NOW SAYING THEY ARE SOLD OUT AND NO TICKETS ON THE DOOR. This year's Easter Egg Hunt at Forty Hall is running on Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April between 11am and 3.30pm. You can book via the website for £3.50 per child or it's £4.50 on the door. Once the clues are all solved children get a reward. Recommended for children age 4 to 10.

The Green Barn Farm Shop, North Benfleet Hall Fishery, Benfleet SS12 9JR

This farm shop and cafe has an egg hunt, animal handling, crafts, Easter bunny and photo opportunities on Saturday 23rd March to 14th April (excluding Easter Sunday). Open 10.30 to 3pm a visit is expected to last between 90 minutes to 2 hours. £12 per child, accompanying adults and under 1s free. You can book online, but they say tickets also available on the day.  Worth noting the postcode takes you to their office not the shop so check the website for directions.

The Harvey Centre, Harlow, CM20 1AP

On Saturday 30th March there is an Easter Party at The Harvey Centre shopping centre with free activities and games (an added bonus is these are inside in the warm). There are two parties one at 11am and one at 2pm. There is also a Town Centre Easter Egg Hunt where you can get a sweet treat and there is also a chance to see the Easter Bunny between 12.30 and 1pm and 1.30 and 2pm. Both activities are free and don't need prebooking. 

Herts & Essex Community Farm, Fold Croft, Harlow, Essex CM20 1SE

On Saturday 30th March between Midday and 2pm there is an Easter Fun Day at the Community Farm. There will be an Egg Hunt as well as games, food and refreshments. £3 per child with prizes for all, adults free. Just turn up and take part.

Pets' Corner, Harlow Town Park, Harlow, Essex, CM20 2QG

Pets' Corner Easter Egg Hunt is running from Friday 31st March to Friday 12th April, between Midday and 3.30pm. It costs £1.50 per person taking part and it doesn't need prebooking. They also have lots more activities over the holidays that don't need booking, which I have shared below.   

Rainham Hall, The Broadway, Rainham, Havering, London, RM13 9YN

This National Trust property has an Easter trail running Thursday 28th March to 1st April from 11am to 4pm (last entry 3pm). There will be activities in the garden for children to join in with as well as the Easter trail.  The trail costs £3 per child including a map, pencil and treat. If you want to go in the hall you need to prebook, but the gardens are free and you don't need to prebook the trail. There is no on site car park; some parking nearby in Tesco (3 hours free for customers) or in a pay and display car park. 

Smyths Toys, All stores including Loughton, Romford, Harlow, Lakeside, Chelmsford, Colchester and Rayleigh Weir. 

From 9am on Saturday 30th March Smyths Toy stores are giving away free Easter eggs. Complete the clue sheet (it’s worth bringing a pencil) and every child will get a free egg as well as being entered into a draw to win other prizes. 
We are lucky to live near to a Smyths so we often go along for their free events. They aren’t worth travelling miles for, but if in the area they are a bit of fun and include a free small treat. It should be running at all their stores from 9am while stocks last (so don't leave it too late).

Southend Pier & Railway, Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1EE

From Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April there is an Easter Egg Hunt on Southend Pier. It costs £2.50 per child plus the normal entry prices (these vary depending on if you are walking down the pier or getting the pier train). Complete the activity sheet and take it to the Offshore Bar & Restaurant for a prize.

Attractions in Essex with Last Minute Availability For Days Out In The Easter Holidays

While most of these Essex attractions encourage prebooking and you may save money if you do, they are unlikely to sell out (other than maybe Easter weekend) so you can wait and see what the weather is doing before booking.

Audley End House and Gardens, Audley End Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4JF

The Easter Adventure Quest takes place from Saturday 23rd March to Sunday 14th April 10am to 5pm at this English Heritage Property. Hunt for eggs by solving clues and claim a chocolate reward. Easter quest tickets cost an additional £2 to the entry price of Adults £20.90, Children £12.70 (Weekends and Bank Holiday) or Adults £18.10, children weekdays £11.30. Under 5s entry is free and English Heritage members free entry (but still need to pay for the quest).

On Saturday 6th to Sunday 14th April 2024 there is a big LEGO build event in the stables area where children can add to the LEGO build.  Prebooking not required, but will speed up entry.

Barleylands, Barleylands Road, Billericay CM11 2UD 

Visit the farm park for Spring Easter fun including crafts and lamb bottle feeding from 29th March to 14th April.  Includes animal holding, springtime crafts, lamb bottle feeding and the Skittleman the Entertainer as well as normal activities including soft play and animal displays.
Price for adults and children 2 years £17 a ticket, under 6 to 24 months £3. Prebooking is recommended and speeds up admission, but not essential. Save 15% by buying tickets in advance online. 
Read about our visit to Barleylands here.

Chelmsford Museum, Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, CM2 9AQ

From 3rd to 5th April Chelmsford Museum have a "Victorian Easter Cards" craft drop. In this free activity you can make a Victorian inspired Easter card with help from volunteers. The museum is free entry too and will be open 10am until 4pm. It's worth following them on Facebook for other events they announce in the Easter holidays because they normally have other activities in holidays too.
Read more about what to expect from Chelmsford Museum here.

Clacton Pier, 1 North Sea, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex CO15 1QX

Across the Easter Holidays Clacton Pier has a number of Easter activities including: meet and greet with the Easter Bunny, an Easter trail to get a prize and a Golden Egg Hunt: if you find a golden egg you win an annual pass. You can pay as you go on the rides at Clacton Pier or prebuy a wristband (24 hours in advance for best savings) for the rides, soft play, golf, dinosaur encounter and more. Less thrill rides than other pier attractions so better suited to younger ones. There will also be free fireworks display on 31st March, but not until about 9pm when it's dark.

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

There is a Spring Treasure trail running from 29th March to 14th April. Solve clues and get a prize at the end. Suitable for 4 years plus. Trail costs £5 in addition to entry cost. From 1st to 5th and 8th to 12th April there are Dragon Egg themed guided tours (lasting 40 minutes) which cost an additional £3.50. They normally have some crafts and games in the holidays too (included in ticket price).  Admission costs £12.50 for adults, £6.95 for children, but worth noting that you can convert it into an annual pass for free (if a Colchester resident) or £5 adults, £2.30 children.

Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Colchester CO3 0SL

To celebrate the opening of their new dinosaur area Colchester Zoo has a St-EGG-osaurus Easter event with a range of activities including performances, parades and crafts. Running 29th March to 14th April. There is also a special Dinosaur Day with extra events on 13th April and an Aquatic Animal Weekend on 6th and 7th April. Current tickets cost £22.50 (adults) and £18.50 (children) on the gate with a discount if bought online in advance, however these prices are valid until 28th March so they may go up for Easter.
Read our tips for visiting Colchester Zoo here.

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, Sawyers Hall Farm, Sawyers Hall Lane, CM15 9BZ

Hopefield reopens for the season on 29th March. On 30th and 31st March there is a fun weekend with extra activities and entertainment. Meet the Easter Bunny, follow the Easter trail, go on inflatables, enjoy performances and more. Early bird tickets are £9 for adults, £11 for children (including a donation).  They also have an Easter trail and crafts from 1st to 14th April, advanced tickets for these dates are £8 children, £9 adults (tickets are £1.50 extra per person on the gate) .

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

The Easter trail is running from Friday 29th March to 14th April when children can hunt for giant colourful eggs hidden around the garden. Children will receive a NOMO egg (which is 'free from', vegan and really yummy) from the garden centre when they have completed the trail. On Tuesday 2nd and 9th April there are storytelling sessions throughout the day. On Thursday 4th, Friday 5th and Monday 8th there are children’s Easter craft sessions throughout the day (additional £2.50 a child) and Face Painting (£5) and a bubble show on Wednesday 10th April, but these are likely to get fully booked.  Entry free to RHS members and under 5s, £15.85 adults, £7.95 children. 

Lathcoats Farm, Beehive Lane, Great Baddow, Chelmsford CM2 8LX

The Easter event is running 9 til 5pm 23rd March to 13th April (closed Sundays). Collect your activity sheet and pencil from the farm shop till point and then head to the animal area to start the Easter Trail. Complete the puzzles and sheet on your adventure and then return to the farm shop to collect a prize. £5 per participant (although you can save 50p by booking online). No more than 2 non-paying participants with 1 paying participant. 
Read more about what to expect at Lathcoats Farm here.

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

The Easter Eggstravaganza will run from 29th March to 1st April and the Spring Spectacular from 2nd to 14th April. At the Easter event you can meet the Easter Bunny, go on an Easter Egg hunt and enjoy their animals, play areas and entertainment. The Spring Spectacular doesn't have an egg hunt, but there will be entertainment and the normal activities. Open 10am to 5pm everyday. Tickets £14.99 per person, 6 months to 2 years £4.99 for Easter Weekend and £12.99 per person for the rest of the holidays. 
Lee Valley is a great place to visit on a warm, sunny day, but if it is cold or wet you are unlikely to want to stay for long.

Markshall Estate, Marks Hall Road, Coggeshall, CO6 1TG

The Great Nest Trail will run from 29th March 10am to 5pm and throughout April. Included in the admission costs children get a booklet to help identify the giant eggs they find. There are also prebookable children's craft activities on weekdays between 1st and 12th April. Included in normal admission price (£9 adults, £5.30 children). 
Find out more about visiting Markshall Estate with children here.

Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers CM3 5WP

There are 3 different events running at Marsh Farm over the Easter holidays. On Easter weekend (Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April) they have an Easter Grotto experience and Egg Hunt. From 2nd to 7th April there will be Easter themed entertainment (but no grotto or Egg hunt). From 8th to 12th April they will have entertainment, shows and all the normal activities without the Easter theming. The normal activities include: train ride, fairground rides, playgrounds, animals, soft play and crazy golf.
Tickets cost £14.99 to £16.99 depending on the date for everyone over 2, £4 for 6 months to 2 years and free for under 6 months (plus 50p booking fee per person online).
Read more about visiting Marsh Farm here.

Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted CM24 8SP

Mountfitchet Castle has an Easter event running from 29th March to 14th April, watch their Facebook for details. Lots to see including giant Easter rabbits and you can collect stamps around the Castle & Museum to claim an Easter prize. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm with last admission at 3.45pm.  £17 for adults, £13.50 for children 3 to 13, no need to book.

Old Macdonald's Farm & Fun Park, Weald Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5AY

The Easter Festival at Old Macdonald's runs from Friday 29th March to Sunday 14th April. Activities include: Easter Egg Hunt, Magic Shows, Baby Animal Encounters, Circus Workshops, crafts (Bank Holiday weekend only) and Puppet Shows. There are also plenty of play areas, a few rides and animals to see. Entry on the door costs £19.50 for adults and £18.50 for children (under 2s free), you save over £3 per ticket if you book online at least 7 days in advance.

Pets' Corner, Harlow Town Park, Harlow, Essex, CM20 2QG

As well as the Easter Egg Hunt mentioned above this free mini farm has Easter activities in the holidays with tickets only available on the day (from the gift shop). It's all free or low cost and has the added bonus of being in Harlow Town Park so children can also enjoy the two great playgrounds and plenty of space to run around.
Activities running:
Easter Egg Hunt - 31st March to Friday 12th April 12 to 3.30pm, £1.50 per person, no need to prebook. Meet the Lambs - dates tbc £3.50
Keeper Talks on owls, ponies, rabbits and ferrets (different sessions) - free at 1.30pm on 1st, 5th, 6th, 9th and 11th April. Tickets available from gift shop on the day (the farm opens at 11am)
Easter crafts session - 3rd, 7th and 12th April, £2, tickets available from gift shop on the day
Meet the Easter Bunny - free on 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 12th April.

*All events may be subject to change or cancellation with warning. This post is meant as guidance for what is happening, these are not endorsements.*

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