Given Essex’s long and varied history, it is no surprise that there are many great cultural sites in the county today! Here we will go through some of the best cultural days out and activities that your relatives may enjoy in Essex, including properties run by the National Trust, the fascinating Colchester Castle, and silver screen cinema showings just for older people.
If you were looking for more ideas for days out with your elderly relatives, you may be interested in our guide to the Best Accessible Days Out in Essex.
The Best National Trust Properties in Essex to Visit With Elderly Relatives
The National Trust own a range of interesting properties in Essex that would make for a great day out with your older relatives. You can read about the perks of National Trust Membership in our article on the Best Discounts in Essex.
Bourne Mill, a grade 1 listed building a mile south of Colchester, has had an interesting and varied history. It was originally built as a fishing lodge in the late 16th century, before being converted into a fulling mill around 1640 and later becoming a corn mill until the 1930s. The waterwheel still works to this day!
Bourne Mill sits next to a millpond and babbling stream, making it a calm and picturesque setting. The grounds also boast a pond, and for those up for a stroll its wetlands and woods host a variety of wildlife including birds, bats, and beetles.
In terms of accessibility, there is a slope up to the building, and steps that need to be navigated into the lower floor and upper floor, meaning the full property is not accessible for wheelchairs.
Prices: £4.20 for adults
Parking: Limited parking for cars available on property. On road parking available in close proximity.
Grange Barn is one of Europe’s oldest timber-framed buildings! Its oak pillars soar up to a roof reminiscent of a church. Originally built in the 13th century as a means to preserve Coggleshall Abbey, it was saved and restored in the 1980s.
Visitors to Grange Barn will find impressive and fascinating collections of farm wagons and woodworking tools, as well as detailed information about the Barn’s history.
In regards to accessibility, the building has a level entrance and the ground floor is fully accessible. Braille guides and large print guides are both also available for those that struggle with their vision. The grounds are mostly grassy, and the car park is a hard surface.
Prices: £8.30 for adults
Parking: Mobility parking in main car park 50 metres from the barn
Eastbury Manor House
Originally completed in the late 1500s, Eastbury Manor House was a brick-built Tudor gentry house. It has not been altered much since. Early 17th-century wall-paintings depict local fisherman and an impressive image of a city’s horizon resides in the Great Chamber. It now hosts a large permanent exhibition which details the history of the manor house and its owners and residents through the centuries.
The grounds are fully accessible, though there are some gravel paths. There is a ramped entrance to the building, and a lift available to access the other floors, with the exception of the top floor of the turret which is accessed solely by stairs. There is a wheelchair available on-site to be borrowed.
Prices: Concessions price is £3.50
Opening Hours: Thursday and Fridays from 10am-4pm.
Parking: Free parking – on street adjacent to property, and Mobility parking in grounds
Best Castles in Essex
Colchester Castle’s keep is largely intact, and is the largest example of its type in the world, thanks to having been built on the foundations of a Roman temple. The Castle offers fascinating and interactive displays and exhibitions, with a particular focus on the its history and treasure from which we can learn about Roman Essex.
Their expert guides can provide you and your relative with a tours, including up on to the roof of the castle, or down in to the Roman vaults if your relative is able to manage using some stairs!
Prices: Adults of all ages pay £10.00, but concessions (registered disabled and a carer) can go for £5.25
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday from 10.00am – 5.00pm.
Sunday from 11.00am – 5.00pm
Parking: There are parking spaces for blue badge holders by Castle Park in Museum Street, and on the High Street
Silver Screenings in Essex
Silver screenings are cinema showings just for older people, at a reduced cost. They make for a fun and cheap trip out with friends for older people, and often the cinemas show classic films that your relative may remember from way back when.
Odeon Silver Cinema
Odeon offer a silver screen scheme at their cinemas in Essex. As part of this scheme people aged 65 can enjoy a trip to the cinema for just £3 with tea, coffee and snacks included! In Essex there are ODEON branches in Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend.
Vue Silver Cinema
Senior Screenings at Vue are open to all guests over the age of 60. Tickets are discounted and include a cup of tea and a biscuit. Showing times and prices depend on the local branch. In Essex there are Vue branches in Dagenham, Romford and Thurrock.