- Great Notley Country Park and Discovery Centre
City Name: Braintree
Direction from City Center to Hotel: South West
Distance from Hotel: 2 MI/ 3.22 KM
Golf: 3 MI/ 4.83 KM South
Outdoor Tennis: 1.5 MI/ 2.41 KM North
Braintree is surrounded by idyllic English landscapes and romantic country houses. You can get swept up in the scenery with a tour of the neoclassical Hylands House and its tranquil gardens, and take a longer stroll through the 100-acre pastoral sprawl of Great Notley Country Park, a two-minute drive from the hotel. For an adventurous afternoon, check out the park's multi-level high-ropes course.
Kids of all ages can have the giddy pleasure of feeding elephants and giraffes at nearby Colchester Zoo. Book ahead and children can shadow the zookeepers or even be a Keeper for the Day. They'll be tasked with looking after their favourite animal, and will go home with a personalised keeper certificate. After all the excitement, the kids can explore boardwalks and lookout posts in the play areas.
Don't Go Home Without
Don’t go home without a shopping bag – or several – from Freeport Braintree shopping centre, just a five-minute drive from the hotel. A designer outlet village selling top brands at discount prices, the centre offers the latest fashion, footwear and sports apparel for the whole family. You can take a break from the retail therapy with a coffee and cake at one of the centre's cafés.
Amid the charming old architecture of Braintree town centre, an eight-minute drive from the hotel, a popular street market is held twice a week. Every Wednesday and Saturday, local vendors flock into town to ply homemade foodstuffs, handmade crafts and other wares at a pleasant cluster of stalls. The market is open extra days in the run-up to Christmas, so you can grab some last-minute goodies.