Fairground rides, tenpin bowling, historic gardens, wakeboarding parks, adventure farms and the best beaches – we’ve got all the essential Clacton-on-Sea activities rounded up below.
Activities in Clacton-on-Sea
At the heart of the seaside action and directly opposite our Clacton-on-Sea Seafront hotel, Clacton Pier offers everything from arcade games, rollercoasters and fairground rides to a 10-pin bowling centre, an aquarium and plenty of food and drink outlets. Opened in 1871, the latest addition to the 350-metre pier is the 50-metre Helter Skelter tower, which looks out towards the Offshore Wind Farm. The pier and attractions are open daily and, if you head down during the summer, you’ll also get to check out their special Circus Fantasia shows that run twice daily. As well as hosting the fireworks display for the Clacton Airshow, the pier has seven other free fireworks displays during the year – they can get popular so get down early to bag the best viewing points. There are seven food and drink outlets on the pier spanning everything from candy floss and fast-food burgers to the Sunshine Terrace, the perfect place for a sundowner cocktail or two.
Part of the Clacton Pier complex, the SeaQuarium covers a wide range of aquatic life, including freshwater and tropical fish, and explores the natural sea life found around the pier. A small but action-packed aquarium that’s good value for money, star attractions include the school of red-bellied piranhas and their array of lobsters, stingrays and their very own ‘Nemo.’
Garden of Remembrance
Positioned at the entrance to Clacton Pier, the Garden of Remembrance is a compact but colourful garden and war memorial in honour of those who died in World Wars I and II. Erected in 1924, the garden features over 30,000 bedding plants, which come alive during the spring and summer. With plenty of seating and benches, the small park is a wonderfully peaceful and tranquil space and is open into the evening thanks to a series of floodlights.
The latest addition to Clacton’s entertainment scene is The Pavilion, a multimillion-pound centre spread over three floors housing a wide range of activities situated next to the pier. Kids and thrill-seekers will love the Fun Park with a wide range of rides to suit all ages, adventure golf and a 5D cinema loaded with special effects. Elsewhere, there’s a ten-pin bowling centre, an arcade, a high-rope course and several bars, restaurants and cafés.
Hasty’s Adventure Farm
Aimed at children aged 3 to 11, Hasty’s Adventure Farm packs a lot into their converted farm space, including ride-on tractors, a giant sandpit, a covered wooden climbing frame, pedal go-karts and a large animal contact area where you can pet goats, pigs, sheep and cows. The farm is open daily from March to November and there’s a small on-site food and drink kiosk if you get hungry, as well as plenty of picnic benches for your own food and drinks.
Curve Wake Park
Look no further than Curve Wake Park when it comes to water sports in the area. From an inflatable aqua park that runs through the summer to wakeboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and swimming, it all takes place on Mill Dam Lake in St Oysth, a five-minute drive from our Clacton-on-Sea Colchester Road hotel. The park is closed during the winter months and open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during spring, before opening full time through the summer. And when you’re finished in the water, the Cafe by the Lake is open for breakfast, lunch, drinks and snacks.
Stretching for over a mile next to the pier, Clacton-on-Sea Beach is considered one of the best slices of coastline in Essex. A largely sandy beach with a few areas of pebbles, it’s lifeguard-protected during the summer months and tends to get busy as soon as the sun threatens to burst through the clouds. Plus, with the Victorian pier close by and plenty of cafés, shops and amusements, you’re never far from your next ice cream or go on the dodgems.
Heading down the coast towards Colne Point is Jaywick Beach, a relatively quiet and secluded stretch of coastline. The facilities are pretty bare – a public car park and set of toilets – but the real attraction is the wilderness and gentle sand dunes, where you’ll also find several well-preserved Martello towers, round forts built in the 19th Century to defend the coastline from French attacks.
Said to be the driest place in the UK with just over 50 centimetres of rain each year, St Osyth Beach is already off to a good start. Located five miles west of Clacton, the beach backs onto a large caravan park, which can make it busy during the summer months, and part of the beach is reserved for nude sunbathers. But at nearly two miles long, there’s plenty of room and privacy and low tide reveals plenty of rock pools, perfect for kids both big and small to explore.