Beach on The Naze coastline

Dog-friendly things to do in Essex

  • Share on Facebook

Essex is a county full of contrasts - from the bright lights of Clacton Pier to peaceful ancient forests. If you’re stopping at Orchards Holiday Village with your family (including the four-legged members!) then you’ll want to get out and explore all Clacton and the rest of Essex has to offer. 

Here are some of our top recommendations for dog-friendly Essex attractions (including dog-friendly pubs and restaurants).

Dedham Vale

Dedham Vale

On the border between Essex and Suffolk, Dedham Vale is a standout spot of natural splendour. Art lovers know that it’s the same landscape that compelled artists like Gainsborough and Constable to create their masterpieces! 

The Vale is crisscrossed with well-marked footpaths and bridleways for dog walks in Essex. You’re free to explore anywhere you spot a sign, with open access to the land. And of course, your dogs are invited to join in the ramble - just keep an eye out for the dog waste bins scattered around to help keep the area clean.

Hadleigh Castle

If you're heading to Orchards Holiday Village from London, stop in Hadleigh. Hadleigh Castle has stood proudly since 1215 and today's ruins offer a picturesque look across the sprawling Essex marshes and further out to Southend and Canvey Island. In the warmer months, it’s an idyllic setting for a picnic with plenty of photo opportunities! 

While you won't find a dedicated car park, there's on-street parking not too far off, with just a short walk leading you to the site. Be mindful of the footpath as it can be a bit of a climb and tends to be muddy. Close to Hadleigh Farm, you'll have access to facilities, making the journey a bit more comfortable. Dogs are more than welcome to join in as long as they're on a lead.

The Barge Inn, Battlebridge

The Barge Inn, Battlebridge

This 300-year-old pub in Battlebridge oozes charm with its lush beer garden out front and a snug, rustic interior. Dogs are more than welcome here! Indulge in a classic Sunday roast or weekday pub grub, then wash it down with a selection of spirits, cask ales, lagers or wines. There's an impressive roster of 135 speciality gins, plus a thoughtful range of non-alcoholic options too. 

Their doors are open for lunch, dinner, and breakfast, with a commitment to locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. To walk off your meal, there are plenty of pretty trails near the River Crouch.

Discover breaks in Essex

Orchards self catering holidays

Orchards Holiday Village, Essex

4 nights from £49

Howlands Nature Reserve, St Osyth

Howlands Nature Reserve, St Osyth

This secluded and picturesque area is just a stone's throw from Orchards Holiday Village and within easy reach of sleepy St Osyth. The perfect blend of marshland and pathways combine for a fantastic dog-friendly thing to do in Essex.

Watch the sunset from the oasis of Brightlingsea Creek or traverse Nun's Wood, itself backing onto St Osyth Park, a great spot for all the family.

Museum of Power, Maldon

For a unique look at an attraction that’s dog-friendly in Essex, the Museum of Power in Maldon brings industrial heritage to life, housed in a former water pumping station with dozens of interactive exhibits. This site turned into a sanctuary for diverse wildlife after it was deserted in the 1960s, now carefully preserved with guidance from the Essex Wildlife Trust. Keep your eyes peeled for various bird species, wildflowers, darting fish, and maybe even a Green Woodpecker, if you’re lucky.

There's a small admission fee but you're free to stroll the scenic walks nearby at no cost. Fancy a cuppa? The Steam Pump Tearoom is the perfect rest stop for refreshments. And for a bit of fun, the miniature railway chugs along a circular track right around the museum! Plus, it's an absolute haven for dog lovers - the museum, grounds, and café all welcome your furry companions.

Start planning your Great British break

Get the latest Haven exclusives!

Receive Haven news and offers to your inbox

By providing your email address, you are consenting to being updated on all things Haven! Manage preferences via your account or by clicking the update preferences link in our emails. Privacy policy