There are some truly excellent outdoor activities for you to choose from here in Basildon. You can pay a visit to the ruins of a once-resplendent castle overlooking the Thames Estuary, feed the ponies of The Salvation Army’s working farm, explore the waterways of an RSPB birdlife sanctuary, or simply see a film at our local cinema in Basildon.
Activities in Basildon
One of the top attractions in Essex is Barleylands, a huge working farm and craft village with endless activities for all ages, which provides one of the best family days out in South East England. The Farm Park features a fantastic reptile house where you can handle lizards and snakes and find out all about their fascinating lives. There’s also an indoor sand pit filled with 10 tonnes of sand, a bunny village filled with friendly rabbits, and a petting zoo where you can feed lambs, sheep, goats and alpacas. Best of all, Barleylands is less than a fifteen-minute drive from all of our Basildon hotels.
Barleylands isn’t just for youngsters. The Village is the dedicated arts and crafts area where you can browse the boutiques to pick up a souvenir, stop off for a scone at the Tiptree Tearoom, and even take part in a class with workshops ranging from glass blowing to unleashing your inner Patrick Swayze on the pottery wheel. As if that wasn’t enough, the outdoor options at Barleylands are even better, including the walk through aviary that's home to exotic birdlife from around the world, zip wires and play areas for the kids, go-karts for adrenaline junkies, and a fleet of mini tractors to drive around the Farm Park.
The mighty fortress of Hadleigh Castle stood watch over the Thames Estuary for centuries. It was built during the reign of Henry III and, thanks to the picturesque, panoramic views became a favourite of Edward III, who expanded and remodelled the castle to that it could serve as a sublime private residence near the capital. Sadly, only a fraction of Hadleigh Castle survives in ruins today. There’s not much to explore, but the views haven’t diminished, and the surviving tower makes for a wonderful photo opportunity; a pretty pit stop if you’re planning a visit to Hadleigh Farm.
Speaking of, Hadleigh Farm is a lovely afternoon activity for families. You can feed the animals, and learn all about the rare breeds that call Hadleigh home, including ponies, woolly pigs, goats, sheep and chickens. The estate is owned by The Salvation Army, and primarily serves to help unemployed and marginalised members of society with training and finding employment. It’s mainly a picturesque part of the countryside with a nice little maze to get lost in, plenty of picnic spots, and a play area for the kids.
Wat Tyler Country Park
If you enjoy walks in the country, Wat Tyler Country Park is well worth making the ten-minute drive from our Basildon South hotel. It’s home to 125 acres of walking routes, which explore the lovely saltmarsh and heathland habitat, which offers great views with every step. The area is fantastic for local wildlife. Take the time to visit the RSPB visitor centre to learn about the different species of birds you can see from hides including cuckoos, green woodpeckers and great tits. Even if you don’t strike lucky, you can still have some fun on the miniature railway before making your way back to the hotel.
Outdoor activities are all well and good when the weather is playing ball, but should it take a turn for the worst then the shelter of indoors will be high up on your list of criteria when it comes to Basildon activities. The good news is the town has its own Cineworld where you can catch all the latest blockbusters with creature comforts of luxury seating and fist fulls of popcorn and sweeties. It also has the added benefit of being on Festival Park, next door to the state-of-the-art Hollywood Bowl, where you can kill some time with some tenpin bowling. And better still, they’re both on the doorstep of our Festival Park hotel.