Things to Do in Clacton-on-Sea

A Classic Day at the Seaside in Clacton-on-Sea

Homestead Lake Country Park is handily situated less than 15 minutes from the coast making it ideal for those looking for a quieter pace of life but also be also located close to the bustling Essex coast. 

Clacton-on-Sea has been a popular Seaside resort with holidaymakers since it was founded in 1871 by Peter Bruff.  Perfect for those looking for a fun and affordable family holiday, Clacton has the hallmarks of a classic British seaside destination with plenty of attractions for all ages. Whether you are visiting for the day or taking an extended break in this nearby resort, there’s plenty to keep you entertained during your time in Clacton-on-Sea.

Clacton Pier is officially the largest pleasure pier in the UK and was named ‘Pier of the Year’ in 2023. It has recently benefitted from substantial investment. With a host of exciting attractions including classic and contemporary funfair rides you can have a whole day out without ever leaving No.1 The North Sea (Clacton Pier’s official address!). Clacton pier also features a bowling alley, bar, softplay, numerous food and beverage options as well as Go Karts and more. The best thing? Entry to Clacton Pier is completely free.


Clacton-on-Sea in 1871
Clacton's Famous Pleasure Pier
Food, Drink & Entertainment

There are two theatres in Clacton offering a range of compelling shows from family pantomimes to live music and comedy. You can check what’s on at the West Cliff Theatre and Princes Theatre before you travel.

If you are looking to eat and drink when you visit Clacton-on-Sea then you are well catered for with a good selection of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants. From classic pub grub to contemporary or vegetarian cuisine you’ll be sure to find something to suit every appetite when you take a trip to Clacton. Of course, if you really want to get the true British seaside experience and enjoy some fresh Fish & Chips then you’re spoiled for choice with great rated restaurants and takeaways across the town (just watch out for the seagulls!).

Clacton has long sandy beaches for a spot of sunbathing, reading or relaxing. If you have the kids or grandkids in tow then you will find everything you need for a fun family day at the beach from a selection of stalls and jobs conveniently located along the beach or just a short walk away. Grab an ice cream or tasty treat from one of the local vendors or maybe even a cold beer to enjoy overlooking the sea.

If you are interested in history then Clacton-on-Sea won’t disappoint. This historic coastal resort has plenty for you to discover. Take a tour of the historic Martello Towers at both Clacton and nearby Jaywick or visit the Aviation museum which has been received an impressive 4.5/5 start on TripAdvisor. The museum is maintained and run by enthusiastic volunteers who are passionate about aviation. Because of this it is wise to check the opening times before you visit.

In the (highly) unlikely event that you feel you’ve seen all there is to see at Clacton-on-Sea then there other resorts within reasonable walking distance which can be reached by road, path or beach.

Princes Theatre Clacton-on-Sea
Clacton-on-Sea Restaurants
Clacton Seafront Bar
Historic Jaywick and St Osyth

Jaywick was built as an affordable holiday destination for working families and was hugely popular with holidaymakers during the 1930’s. It boasts wide golden beaches and, being a less popular tourist destination today, can be a less busy alternative to the sands at Clacton-in-Sea. Whilst Jaywick has fewer tourist facilities, you will find amusements, fish and chips, a pub and local shops providing all of your essentials. Walking to Jaywick from Clacton is likely to take around 40 minutes (or 5-10 minutes by road).

Another popular holiday destination close-by is St Osyth. Walkable in around an hour or just 13 minutes by car you will find holiday parks accommodating to both residents and non-residents. There are pubs, amusements and, of course, Fish n Chips. Visit on a Sunday and you will likely stumble across the Saint Osyth Sunday beach market which is popular with both locals and tourists alike and a great spot to grab a bargain.

There is also busses to St Osyth from Clacton-on-Sea or from, nearby, Colchester. Be sure to check the times before you travel though as there are only a limited number per day.

Historic Jaywick Sands
St Osyth Priory
Discover Walton-on-the-Naze

Further round the coast to the North of Clacton you will find Walton-on-the-Naze which has plenty to see or do and is well worth a visit.

If you’ve got a head for heights then Naze tower which is situated on the peninsula at Walton gives dramatic 360 degree views of both the Essex and Suffolk coast. If you can brave the 86ft climb to the viewing platform at the top then your reward will be some stunning panoramic views. The tower also houses a museum where you can learn all about its history as well as a tea room, ideal for relaxing or refuelling after taking on the tower’s stairs.

One of Walton’s most popular attractions are the wildlife boat trips, certainly the highlight of which will be opportunity to see the seals that populate the backwaters or Walton-on-the-Naze. Described as a ‘fantastic and relaxing way to spend a couple of hours’ you are also likely to see a wide range of birds and other small animals that live in the backwaters. A wildlife boat trip will cost you around £15 for adults with a discount for Children.

The old lifeboat house in Walton-on-the-Naze hosts the Walton Maritime Museum. Regularly holding special exhibitions, a visit to the museum will teach you all about Walton’s maritime history, its lifeboats and the brave men and women who manned them.

Walton-on-the-Naze is a popular destination for those with a geological interest. The cliffs at Walton-on-the-Naze are home to some rare fossils and shark’s teeth can often be washed up on the sand on in one of the many rockpools that typically form on the beach.

For those who are keen on a more traditional seaside experience, Walton-on-the-Naze certainly won’t disappoint. The pier is host to a selection of traditional funfair rides along with bowling, amusements and a bar with regular live music in the summer months.

Walton-on-the-Naze Naze Tower
Walton-on-the-Naze Wildlife Boat Trips
Walton-on-the-Naze Cliffs