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Things to do in Essex

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Shopping Centre
“One of the best shopping centre's in the city - brilliant for food, shopping, and everything in between.”
  • 495 locals recommend
Rock Climbing Spot
“The Olympic Park is a sporting complex in Stratford. It was built for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics. It contains the athletes' Olympic Village and several of the sporting venues including the London Stadium and London Aquatics Centre, besides the London Olympics Media Centre. The park is overlooked by the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower and Britain's largest piece of public art. Top things to do there: Go to the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit for great views across London. Whizz down the slide that goes from the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Take one of the free trail guides. Take kids swimming at the Aquatics Centre Cycle at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Between March and October run through the fountains next to the Orbit. Take a boat tour along the canal Watch West Ham play at the Go shopping at Westfield Stratford City ”
  • 347 locals recommend
Music Venue
“The O2 is home to the world’s most popular music, sport, comedy, entertainment and so much more. With premium outlet shopping at ICON Outlet, bars and restaurants, a multi-screen Cineworld, Oxygen Freejumping trampoline park and 12-lane Hollywood Bowl, it’s the ultimate destination. See a different side of the city by climbing the famous roof at Up at The O2 and experience incredible 360-degree views of London.”
  • 292 locals recommend
“London Stadium is located few stops on the Central Line Underground which is 10 minutes walk from the property.”
  • 81 locals recommend
Convention Center
“ExCeL London is a £500 million international venue offering an incredible 100,000m2 of flexible event space, including London’s International Convention Centre (ICC London ExCeL). ICC London ExCeL includes the UK’s largest auditorium (up to 5,000), London’s largest banqueting hall (3,000 guests) and a stunning, multi-function conference suite with fabulous reception and registration areas (2,500 delegates). The ICC is seamlessly integrated with ExCeL London’s existing meeting and exhibition space, including fully appointed meeting rooms, a self-contained conference facility and expansive Event Halls, ideal for large-scale events. ExCeL London has 7 on-site hotels, ranging from luxury to budget, offering 1,400 rooms between them. In addition, there are over 10,000 hotel rooms within 20 minutes of ExCeL London. The venue boasts excellent transport links for both national and international visitors with 3 onsite DLR (Docklands Light Railway) stations, easy access to London Underground, onsite parking for 3,700 cars and London City Airport just 5-minutes away. The venue is positioned in the heart of London’s ‘events district’, with great hotels, shops, bars and restaurants all ideally located within close proximity of Canary Wharf, The O2 and the Olympic Park.”
  • 76 locals recommend
Electronics Store
“Huge shopping mall with loads of designer and all the high street shops in.”
  • 105 locals recommend
Cable Car
“Really great way to see views of London, just get the DLR from Stratford to Royal Victoria and use your contactless card to board the emirates air line over the Thames to North Greenwich ”
  • 75 locals recommend
“The impressive Aquatics Centre, one of the 2012 Olympic Games’ iconic venues, is now open to the public For about £5, you can go for a swim in the Olympic pool in this wonderfully light and sunny building. To nurture your inner child, try one of the Aqua Splash sessions where they put giant inflatables into the pool. ”
  • 72 locals recommend
Natural Feature
“A 2,400-hectare area of ancient woodland between Epping in Essex to the north. It has old growth forest, walking trails, rivers & ponds.”
  • 46 locals recommend
Convention Center
“One of the busiest International hub, Excel is the London award winning convention and events venue also offers a comprehensive selections of food on site. Excel address:Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL Getting to Excel: Custom House Station by DLR”
  • 33 locals recommend
“Creative, Modern British cuisine served in an elegant, white linen dining room overlooking river.”
  • 45 locals recommend
Art Gallery
“Neon heaven! An eclectic space filled with neon works. There's also a cafe on site.”
  • 61 locals recommend
“One of the best restaurants in Walthamstow's village. Modern British cuisine.”
  • 55 locals recommend
“During your visit you will see species from around the world and learn more about them at daily encounters, giving you the chance to see the animals being fed, watch a training session or perhaps just quiz the keepers! As you navigate your way around Colchester Zoo you’ll visit many different habitats; from the humid home of our Komodo Dragons to the zoo’s very own Africa plain, Kingdom of the Wild, home to white rhino, giraffes, ostrich, zebra and kudu. You can also take part in some fantastic activities with the opportunity to hand feed the elephants and giraffe at daily public feeding sessions! Colchester Zoo also has many undercover areas so you can stay warm and dry on even the wettest of days! With so much to see and do including a full calendar of events you may find you want to return throughout the year, Colchester Zoo’s Passes allow you to do just that with unlimited visits for 12 or 24 months.”
  • 22 locals recommend
Monument / Landmark
“It's the longest tunnel slide in Europe. Located in the beautiful Olympic Park”
  • 28 locals recommend
“A visit to Colchester Castle is better than ever before with interactive displays and star exhibits, like the Colchester Vase and Fenwick Treasure. Visit the museum to have a go at building a Norman archway, excavating a Roman doctor’s grave or steering a chariot. Be wowed as a large scale ‘son et lumière’ projection transforms the east wall with light and sound. Expert-led tours down into the Roman vaults and up onto the panoramic Castle roof can also be booked. ”
  • 23 locals recommend

Top restaurants

“Creative, Modern British cuisine served in an elegant, white linen dining room overlooking river.”
  • 45 locals recommend
“One of the best restaurants in Walthamstow's village. Modern British cuisine.”
  • 55 locals recommend
“The O2, visually typeset in branding as The O₂, is a large entertainment district on the Greenwich peninsula in South East London, England, including an indoor arena, a music club, a Cineworld cinema.”
  • 26 locals recommend
“Brewery/tap room in industrial space with nice outdoor seating. Good on a nice evening!”
  • 39 locals recommend
Japanese Restaurant
“Sushi and Japanese dishes in rustic, contemporary dining room with central, open grill kitchen.”
  • 24 locals recommend
“This is the most wonderful little cafe/brunch place on Francis Road. A couple of seats outside let you sit in the sunshine and eat your breakfast - lots of little sharing platters.”
  • 28 locals recommend
“(5 min walk): On the high road, the best pub of the area! Enjoy a nice pint and a Sunday roast in this beautiful building which used to be the council hall.”
  • 32 locals recommend
“Excellent food, delicatessen, bakery and butcher. Cafe and restaurant with spectacular views of the River Orwell. ”
  • 15 locals recommend

Get to know Essex

Guidebooks from local hosts

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