From trampolines, BMX dirt ramps and raft building challenges, to lazy days on the canal or rambling walks in the rolling fields, there are many ways to explore Chelmsford and the surrounding countryside.
Activities in Chelmsford
Located in the heart of the charming Essex countryside, Chelmsford offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Explore a variety of city centre parks, or head to the surrounding forests, fields and rivers with our guide for things to do in Chelmsford.
Suited to all ages and abilities, from the kids just finding their wheels to the adrenaline junkies practising their backflips, Radical Bikes is a great day out. The BMX, trials and dirt jumping centre is open throughout the summer season, with coaching sessions available for those who want some pointers, or affordable full-day tickets if you just want to ride around and perfect your skills. All ages can develop new moves in a safe environment – progress from the Foam Pit to the popular Resi Ramp and you’ll be whizzing over the dirt jumps in no time!
For a wide range of activities to enjoy in the great outdoors, Skreens Park Activity Centre is located in the Essex countryside, just 20 minutes from the city centre. Family fun days can be tailored to your group, with anything from abseiling and climbing, kayaking, archery to raft and bridge building on offer on their 55-acre site.
For a more relaxing appreciation of the Essex countryside, the whole family can enjoy a day on the water with Blackwater Boats. Hop aboard the Blackwater Dawn, a wide beam traditional boat at Sandford Lock (with boat trips and charters available) and chug along the canals with your knowledgeable captain. The kids will enjoy learning how to operate the locks and can have a go at steering the boat as you explore Chelmsford’s waterways from a new perspective.
Alternatively, if you’d like to view the water networks and rolling fields from above, you can book a romantic and unique experience with Virgin Balloon Flights Chelmsford. Launching from the grounds of the 15th-century manor Newland Hall, it’s perfectly situated to enjoy views of Chelmsford’s historic centre and the surrounding rolling countryside of the home counties during your flight.
Virgin Balloon Flights
Chelmsford History Walks
There are plenty of things to do in Chelmsford during the day or night, even if the weather isn’t on your side. Let the kids blow off some steam, get the whole family involved with bowling or ice skating, or sit back and relax with Everyman’s comfortable cinema experience, complete with leg room, drinks and burgers brought straight to your sofa seats.
The whole family will enjoy getting active at the Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre, an easy five-minute walk from our conveniently located City Centre hotel. This is an ice skating rink that offers skates for hire, with plenty of family-friendly sessions, as well as the chance to see the experts at Chelmsford Chieftains’ fast and furious ice hockey games. The centre is complete with a gym, swimming pool (with a diving platform), sports hall and squash courts, café and children’s soft play.
For the energetic amongst you, you can go for a bouncy adventure at Jump Street trampoline park, complete with climbing wall, a ‘Toxic Wipeout’ rotating beam challenge and ‘The Bag’ gigantic crash mat for you to try out your somersault skills! Activities such as fitness classes, Jump Tots sessions (for under fives) and dodgeball tournaments are worth checking out. Or, if it’s just the kids who need a runaround, head to the family-run soft play centre Mace Place, just a five-minute drive from our Springfield hotel. Praised by visitors on TripAdvisor for its high standards, good café area with very reasonable food prices and great play facilities for all ages (including a dedicated baby section), your whole family will stay entertained.
If it’s your brain that needs flexing, try out the latest craze in team-building and group activities at the Chelmsford Escape Rooms. Highly reviewed on TripAdvisor and offering four different themed rooms equipped with puzzles, clues and challenges, put your teamwork to the test and try to escape in under 60 minutes.
Always a popular activity for adults and children alike, there’s also the Chelmsford City Bowl, open seven days a week for daytime or evening fun, with a pool room, bar and food also on offer.
A large number of cycling pathways provide routes through Chelmsford’s green spaces, all within easy access to the city centre. The Chelmsford Springfield Canal Cycle Route is very easy to reach from both our Premier Inn Springfield and Boreham hotel, looping along the canal and around the outside of Beaulieu Park for just over seven miles.
Venture into the Essex countryside along the Chelmsford to Maldon Cycle Route, following the Chelmer and Blackwater canal with easy terrain for all abilities and roughly 14 miles each way if you take the full route. The historic town of Maldon enjoys great views over the Blackwater estuary – the perfect spot for a halfway refuel if you’re cycling the round route. There are also many small country roads in the area on which you will see more bikes than car traffic, making it great for planning a circular route to start and end in Chelmsford. And of course, there’s plenty of refreshment stops in the villages and country pubs along the way!
If you’d like to find out more about the history of Chelmsford, join one of the insightful guides with Chelmsford History Walks. With a varied schedule of walks running through different parts of the city and focusing on themes – such as industrial heritage or combining local history with art – the walks are run by locals and provide a great addition to your day out. Special themed tours are also available, including ghost walks about the dark side of the city’s history, so check out their timetable for something for all interests. Please note that booking for all walks is essential.