The summer may be nearing its end, but that does not mean the fun has to stop. Free access to top attractions in Essex – including venues in Chelmsford – is being offered to residents!

Tickets for a wide range of experiences across the county are up for grabs as tourism body Visit Essex launches this year’s Essex Bigger Weekend campaign. A ballot to win free days out is open now!

Chelmsford City Council works in partnership with Visit Essex to promote Chelmsford; helping people find out about the great things happening on our doorstep.

Enter the Essex Bigger Weekend ballot to win free days out in Essex.

What’s the Essex Bigger Weekend all about?

The aim of the Bigger Weekend is to extend the summer season and to encourage local residents to discover and experience the many wonderful attractions and activities and experiences available close to home. The campaign usually gives free access to attractions for just one weekend, but this year, the campaign is even longer! Essex Bigger Weekend gives people a month to gain free access to some of Essex’s top venues.

Win tickets for days out!

Chelmsford residents are invited to enter a ballot to be in with a chance of securing free tickets and vouchers for popular Essex attractions, hotels and restaurants. From RHS Hyde Hall, Colchester Zoo, Escape Live and Chelmsford City Racecourse, to open-top bus tours of Clacton, cream teas at Tiptree Tea Rooms, white water rafting at Lee Valley and trips to Colchester Castle – there are plenty of free outings up for grabs!

They are just a few of the attractions, cafes, pubs and accommodation giving free access this autumn. The winning pairs of tickets and family tickets will be valid from 18 September to 17 October 2021.

There are hundreds of free pairs of tickets available in the Essex Bigger Weekend ballot. Enter the ballot before the 6 September to be in with a chance of winning!

Help is available for business owners

Alongside the Essex Bigger Weekend, there’s also an opportunity available right now which will benefit Chelmsford business owners in the leisure and tourism industry.

Chelmsford City Council has teamed up with Visit Essex to offer a year’s fully-funded Visit Essex membership subscription. This is part of the Council’s wider business support programme helping businesses to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The deadline for applying has been extended until 31 August. Find out more on the City Council website.

Visit from now to 6 September to apply for your free tickets before the ballot closes. Successful bidders will be notified of any tickets they have secured.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at or on 01245 606984.

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