They say that you can't be all things to all people - yet if anywhere is the exception to the rule, it's almost certainly the county of Essex.
Essex is an incredibly diverse county - providing culture, cuisine and a rich tapestry of history in equal measure - in many ways, it is a contradiction - a county where beautiful rural walks may be found, whilst also boasting bustling urban centres; a region where there are quaint villages whilst also being home to national attractions, such as Adventure Island, Southend; Colchester Zoo, Colchester and the RHS Garden Hyde Hall, near Chelmsford. There are beautiful landmarks, a glittering array of galleries and museums, and fascinating sites of historical importance, where mere miles away you may find the most modern and breath-taking of architecture.
The Essex Tourist Guide is the only online destination you need for discovering all that Essex has to offer; we list everything from tourist attractions and places to visit, to a never ending range of activities, providing things to do for all ages, and we always keep our visitors up-to-date as to the events taking place in Essex throughout the year.
Here we present some inspiration for things to do and places to visit in Essex - although the sheer scale of all that this hidden gem of a county has to offer certainly warrants exploration past this point (for which, you can head on over to either our Find things to do in Essex or Find places to visit in Essex pages - or check out our Essex events calendar to see what's happening and when).
Need a family friendly day out that you'll all enjoy? Want to visit a region where there's more than enough choice for cheap 'pub grub', whilst plentiful options for gastro, cordon bleu and Michelin Starred experiences?
Essex is a county where every individual is catered for and each family can find days out for all.
For lovers of the great outdoors, there are is a world of Essex parks and outdoor areas to be explored, in addition to Essex's rich collection of nature & wildlife attractions.
For those seeking retail therapy, Essex can rightly be considered to be the UK's shopping centre utopia - providing pure, unadulterated retail bliss and some of the country's best retail hotspots (including Freeport Braintree, Braintree; High Chelmer Shopping Centre, Chelmsford and Lakeside Shopping Centre, Grays).
For sightseers, Essex boasts a packed itinerary that easily rivals any other destination in the world - incorporating exploration by bike, boat, rail and foot.
For fitness fanatics, Essex provides a rich array of sports & leisure activities - spanning spas, hotels, gyms, leisure centres and water sports centres. And if that weren't all enough then there's more than a fair share of indoor activities - after all, as impressive as Essex may be, it can't overcome the notoriously unpredictable British weather!
Essex Attractions - just where do we begin? With the many trips and tours - such as the relaxing Blackwater Boats in Chelmsford - or the spooky Maldon Ghost Walks? Or perhaps with the hundreds of historic buildings - including Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham and Audley End House & Gardens, Saffron Walden. How about we talk of the thousands of family attractions in Essex - for fun filled days out with the kids for all of the family? Maybe we should point out the industry leading galleries, landmarks and museums, favoured nationwide by avid culture vultures - and then there's also the nature and wildlife attractions - just as there are many animal attractions, including Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park, located in South Woodham Ferrers.
It's a pretty tough call to decide just where to start - and an even more difficult challenge putting together a short list of days out when visiting a county with so much to offer.
Yet regardless of this impressive list of Essex attractions, and despite Essex being famed for its affluent collection of residents, Essex is far from a county where attractions cost the earth to attend; discover all that this county has to offer by visiting our Essex free attractions page.
After the packed days out that you'll enjoy in Essex - whether individual traveller, couple or family, you'll most certainly appreciate this county's reputation for leading accommodation. Offering thousands upon thousands of options, Essex is home to a vast array of bed and breakfasts; hotels and self-catering accommodation (spanning camping, holiday homes and holiday parks).
Essex can rightly be considered as the socialite of all UK counties - likely offering more events per square mile all year round than almost any other town, city or county.
Events in Essex span carnivals, charity events, country shows, fairs, farmers markets, art exhibitions, motor shows and concerts, to name but a (very, very!) few.
With so much happening in Essex from month to month and week to week, you need to know what's on, and when it's on. For this, there is our Essex events calendar - simply check our calendar to discover the very latest must-attend shows, family events, free events, festivals and everything in-between. Search by a range of categories that include family, leisure, walks, trips and tours, and much more, or select the dates that you're visiting Essex and explore all that's on.