You may want to get closer to nature by enjoying an aerial experience up in the trees or splash about in one of Essex's amazing lakes.

Or if it's chilly, what better way to keep the kids amused than by taking them to one of our great soft play centres or indoor play parks?

Located in four different areas in Essex, Essex Outdoors centres offer a wide range of popular outdoor activities such as abseiling, BMX biking, canoeing and zip wire.

Essex Outdoors also has a fifth location, which is known as The Lock Climbing Wall in Harlow, which offers anyone from the age of seven the chance to enjoy quality climbing experiences no matter what ability level you're at.

Prices for the Essex Outdoors centres vary, although both the Danbury and Mersea centres offer a 'Pay and Play' fee that means you only pay for the time that you are there.

It costs £8 per person for a single hour or £20 per hour for a family of four - saving £12 every hour for a fun-packed family activity day.

Land - archery, rifle shooting, grass sledging, mountain boarding, bushcraft and woodland construction

Motor sport - quad bikes, 4x4 driving, jet ski rides, power boat driving, banana rides and inflatable sofa

They also offer family packages including Pay and Play, Big Adventure Mondays and Family Adventure Weekends.

They offer wakeboarding at all levels so you can go there if you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro.

They have a beginner’s cable, a slow cable and a main cable so you can work your way through the levels - and you can start from as young as eight-years-old.

As well as wakeboarding, they also have a popular aqua park which features two Jungle Joes, two Blast Bags, a huge trampoline, a Jungle Jim, a Zulu Slide, two Foxtrots, two Sierras, a Walking on Water walkway, a Cyclone (hamster wheel) and the Kaos.

Opening Times: May – September from 11am to 5pm or 5.30pm, depending on the day. It’s weather dependent so check before you leave.

One of the only splash parks in this part of Essex. This is a brightly coloured, fun place for kids when the sun’s out. There are fountains, water jets and arches to run through. It’s the most fun way to cool off when it’s hot across the county.

Little kids absolutely love this place. When you’re done, there’s the playground and whole of the promenade to explore too.

Average Price: Wakeboarding £25, stand up paddleboarding £15 per hour, aqua park £20 per session, kayaking £15

There’s lots of water sports on offer at Curve Wake Park. You can try your hand at wakeboarding, paddleboarding, kayaking and ringo rides - not forgetting the new and improved aqua park and obstacle course.

They’ve just added some new features for 2019 which include monkey bars and a catapult - which you sit on and it flings you into the water.

There’s also a new inflatable wave which you have to run up when it’s wet - and it proves pretty tricky.

When you want to relax afterwards, there’s also a new cafe with hot food, a ping ping table and chill out area.

Here you will find a range of activities including a huge kids’ soft play apparatus with steps, slides, climbing areas, ball pits, laser tag games, mini zip wire, role play rooms and separate areas for toddlers.

Unusually for soft play centres, there’s an outside area too with wendy houses, ride-on toys and tunnels.

It’s aimed at younger children so you can book birthday parties here, but they also host teen nights, charity nights and corporate events.

Opening Times: This varies but it’s generally weekends and school holidays. Check times before going.

After strapping on a harness, you get to climb and clamber up ladders and across rope bridges and beams.

There are two levels, so you can start off with the lower one and work your way up to the higher one if you prefer.

You get a safety briefing and then you are free to choose your own route and explore the skies at your own pace.

Average Price: This varies according to the time of day and age of your child, but for example: under 1s peak on the door £2, 1-3 peak online £5, 4-13 off peak on the door £6.95.

The main soft play apparatus has multiple levels, bridges, climbing areas, tunnels, ball pools, role play shops and laser games.

There’s a large play frame on one side complete with trampoline, mini zip wire, giant balls, tunnels, slides and climbing areas.

At the far end, you’ll find separate areas for both babies and toddlers so the little ones are kept safe.

Mace Playce hosts special activities every day in the week such as arts and crafts, Moo Music, puppet shows and character dancing.

Opening Times: Bowling 10am - late seven days a week, skating - times and dates vary, Monkey Puzzle - Monday to Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-6pm

Average Price: Bowling starts from £4.75 plus shoe hire, skating starts from £9.95 per person, Monkey Puzzle starts from £3.

The great thing about Madison Heights is that there are lots of activities under one roof. You can have a go at bowling, roller skating, soft play or try out food at one of the four places to eat.

The bowling alley consists of ten pin bowling with fully automated lanes, computerised monitors and the option of lightweight balls.

Sk8ters is a full-size roller skating rink with music, lighting and air conditioning. As well as the normal fun sessions, you can book parties and private lessons.

Monkey Puzzle is a large, indoor soft play centre with a main frame set across four levels and it’s more than six feet high. There are slides, tunnels, ball swings, steps and tubes.

If you’re hungry after your chosen activity, there are four places to eat - Henri’s Steakhouse, Izumi oriental buffet, the Bakehouse cafe tearoom and snack bars.

Average Price: It varies according to age and time of day but for example: 6-11 months peak is £3, 1-2 years off peak is £4.95 and 3-4 years peak is £6.

Inside the large main play frame, you’ll find a 360 coiled snake slide, aerial glides, rope bridges and a jungle assault course.

There are separate areas for toddlers too with a mini ball pool, rockers and interactive play equipment.

Pre-school children and parents also enjoy the daily timetable of activities including Baby Ballet and HartBeeps.

There are so many things to do on the lake. You can try your hand at water-skiing, lake swimming or a day out with the family.

The lake is 36 acres and is surrounded by lovely countryside so it’s a good way to get back to nature.

This is a huge aqua park where they claim to host ‘the ultimate day out’. The equipment is made up of a giant, floating obstacle course which includes climbing walls, rope swings, slides, walkways and platforms. There’s even a mini floating sports arena.

Children from age six and up can go on the park, but everyone needs to be able to swim 50m, unassisted, with a life jacket on.

Average Price: Open Jump around £10 per session, Clip ‘N Climb around £12.95 per session, Kendrick’s Kingdom between £2.50-£6 per session.

The Chelmsford centre offer various activities including Open Jump, where you can bounce around to your heart’s content on the huge network of trampolines and tumble tracks.

At Clip ‘N Climb, you can choose between 32 themed climbing challenges including the Leap of Faith, the Stairway to Heaven and the Vertical Drop Slide.

The Bag is a huge, inflatable airbag which you can jump or flip onto, or just bounce across. There are trampolines on one side of it if you want to do a running jump. There’s also bouncy basketball hoops and a rotating, inflatable arm to jump over.

An outdoor high ropes and activity centre where there are six different courses set over three different levels.

At the end of your route, you might be brave enough to try the big thrill zip wire, the climbing wall or the fan descender.

You have to be six or over to take part but there’s even a play area on site for the under sixes so they can have some fun too.

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