Days out can be expensive so we’ve pulled together some free activities to keep the kids entertained.
Uttlesford has an abundance of beautiful open spaces to explore, the perfect place for a walk and some fresh air!
Hatfield Forest has lots of things to do for free but bear in mind you will need to pay for parking which is currently £8. There’s space for den building, acres of ancient woodland to explore, trees to climb and ducks to feed.
The Flitch Way is 15 miles in length and covers around a third of the breadth of Essex. You can access the Flitch Way in Great Dunmow, this section runs alongside Olive Woods, great for exploring and den building.
Noakes Grove Nature Reserve is a 9 acre nature reserve in Sewards End, near Saffron Walden and is open to the public. They have a small flock of sheep too!
Geocaching trails can be found around the district. Kids will love following the clues to find the hidden treasure. Download the free Geocaching app and channel your inner detective! Just remember to take something with you to leave for the next explorer to find!
Kids love to look for things whilst out and about, so why not keep them entertained by downloading our scavenger hunt.
Uttlesford Wildlife have routes following quieter lanes which each take you on a tour past some special roadside verges with their summertime wildflowers and butterflies.
Hatfield Forest is better suited to younger families or cyclists who are less confident on the road. Cycling along the boardwalk is a great way to spot wildlife too!
The Flitch Way is perfect to cyclists too, a former railway track which is now an important greenway and wildlife corridor.
The Mazes of Saffron Walden make a fun day out for all ages. Pop into Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre to pick up a leaflet. There are four mazes to find around the town. Can you make it to the end of the turf maze or will you be stuck forever in the hedge maze at Bridge End Gardens?
There is so much to see and do in Dunmow. In the heart of the town is an array of independent shops to look around. The Uttlesford Community Hub has a kids’ corner, stocked with books and toys to keep the little ones entertained whilst you enjoy a complimentary cuppa! The Doctors Pond is perfect for feeding the ducks nor take a scroll to the recreation ground and along the River Chelmer to St Mary’s Church, who are offering a free treasure hunt this summer.
A beautiful town, with a parade of shops and historical buildings including John Webb’s Windmill. A fantastic place to explore this summer.
The village boasts a Grade II listed windmill – open on the first Sunday of each month throughout the summer. It’s 50p entry for children!
Saffron Walden’s One Minet Park has a main skate park with three deep bowls and a street section and is limited to those aged 10 years and above. The mini skate park and rail area are suitable for beginners and younger users. There is ample room for picnicking on the adjoining field. It is situated next to the Lord Butler Leisure Centre which has a swimming pool and other facilities for non skating family members.
Great Dunmow Recreation Ground has a small skate park, next to the town’s main park. The recreation ground offers wide open space for picnics, river walks and ball games.
Thaxted Recreation Ground includes a playing field, a basketball/netball court, skate park and children’s play area.
Museums and Libraries
Saffron Walden Museum is free to visit for children, and has so much to see and discover. They are also running an art trail over the holidays ‘Wild about Walden’ – find the large lion sculptures dotted around Saffron Walden town centre. There are also kids craft activity sessions at £2.40 per child, more information can be found here.
Great Dunmow Town Museum is free to visit for children, and features many artefacts and displays illustrating the social life and history of the town – including the Flitch Chair still use today in the famous Dunmow Flitch Trials which take place every leap year.
Join in the summer reading challenge at your local libraries. The Summer Reading Challenge runs throughout the summer holidays in all Essex libraries and mobile libraries. There are also lots of free activities for children including storytime, rhymetime and craft clubs!
Places of Interest
The Gardens of Easton Lodge are open on Thursdays throughout the summer and on specific Sundays throughout the year, and is free entry for children under 16. There is a treehouse, lily pond, walled kitchen garden and a glade walk. Whilst visiting here, why not stop off at Little Easton Manor and enjoy a walk around the lakes.
Cammas Hall Farm have a free nature walk and playpark. You can choose to pay to go fruit picking or take part in their new football golf.
Down Hall Hotel & Spa have free live music events throughout the year. They also have a children’s play area and giant chess board to keep your little ones entertained.
Buffy Bus provides pre-school children with an opportunity to play, socialise and have fun in comfortable and safe surroundings under the guidance of experienced playleaders. It is free to visit Buffy, but donations are welcome.