Welcome to Mersea

Activities and Facilities at Essex Outdoors Mersea

Prepare to be mesmerised.

Our largest capacity centre is situated on the charming Island of Mersea – known locally as ‘The Tropical’ – on the edge of the river Blackwater, just south of Colchester.

With over 60 acres of beautiful grounds and commanding far-reaching views across the estuary, we offer many thrilling Essex Outdoor adventures. And more. The coastal location is quite special – the surrounding marshes and beaches the ideal environment for shore-based studies with access to a small field study centre in a creek nearby, only reachable by boat.

At Mersea you can stay in heated cabins, our residential centre or enjoy the authentic summer camp experience in tents! We have 220 beds in indoor accommodation, with tents available for up to 300.

Indoor accommodation

Residential centre

Ingram Lodge, our purpose-built residential centre can accommodate up to 48 people at a time with 5 bunk rooms sleeping 8 in each and 2 en suite staff bedrooms accommodating 4 in each. The centre is totally self-contained and has its own fully equipped, modern self-catering facilities as well as wheelchair accessible toilets and showers.

There is a flexible communal living space to use for teaching, eating or relaxing, which includes all of the IT infrastructure you would expect of any modern classroom:  digital projector and integrated sound and vision, plus Wi-Fi internet access.

Blackwater cabins

Our popular Blackwater Village can accommodate 54 people in 9 cabins with three sets of bunk beds in each, all with disabled access. Laid out in a quadrangle, they are usually booked out as one unit. Each Cabin is doubled glazed with heating for those chilly nights!

Colne glamping cabins – NEW for 2019

Our modern and comfortable Colne cabins are the latest addition to our accommodation and comprise of 11 glamping pods with a total of 72 bed spaces; 7 cabins with 8 beds and 4 cabins with 4 beds.

Large log cabins

Our 5 large log cabins can sleep up to 10 people in each. Two cabins sleep 8 in bunks with 2 single beds. The other three cabins sleep 8 in bunks on one side, with 2 single beds on the other, with separate entrances. These cabins can be booked out individually.

These cabins are not en-suite, however, excellent toilet and shower facilities are available at the centre of the site, with dedicated wheelchair accessible facilities.

Camping

Patrol tents

We can accommodate up to 300 people in our own hardy patrol tents, which can be combined with our cabin accommodation to suit your needs. Marquees of all sizes are also available to hire on site, so you can create the perfect camp! Newly added to our fleet of tents are 16 traditional bell tents which can accommodate up to 80 people in total – perfect for smaller school and youth groups or those looking for a festival vibe to their stay.

Independent camping

Our Mersea site isn’t a touring campsite, however we welcome bookings from organised groups of campers with their own tents for DofE expeditions, rallies or weekend gatherings, by prior arrangement.

Bedding is not provided with our accommodation options as standard, but can be arranged on request at an additional charge.

Mersea has a comprehensive range of facilities including modern toilet and shower blocks with dedicated amenities for disabled users and families, a self-contained training and conference suite for up to 40 people, dining rooms, a laundry room, a large well-equipped main hall and even a big screen cinema room!

Catering

From simple packed lunches and warming evening meals through to delicious buffets or sit-down banquets for events and weddings, our dedicated catering team can provide high quality, affordable meals to suit any visit to us. Meals are provided by our catering team and served in our dining rooms. We are happy to cater for all dietary requirements.

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At a glance

Location

Coastal / Rural

Travel times

London 1.5 hour – Norwich 1.5 hours
Nearest station – Colchester
Nearest airport – Stansted

Size and capacity

520 residential – 320 activity

Accommodation

Residential centre, log cabins and tents

Facilities

Dining hall, laundry room, big screen

Activities

Over 20 separate activities, see full list below.

What Mersea offers for…

Schools

Schools

From day trips to residentials and field trips, Mersea has outstanding value packages to suit every school – and every appetite for adventure.

Primary schools
Secondary schools
Colleges and FE

group of people on a large paddle board

Groups

Watch them thrive – with our residentials and day trips for youth groups from across the country.

Youth groups
National Citizen Service
DofE

young people sailing a dinghy

Individuals and families

Follow your passion – with superb courses and activities for both individuals and families.

First aid courses
Pay and play
School holiday activities
Birthday parties and celebrations

group of adults congratulating each other

Businesses

Want your team to work better together? Our activities show them a new way to identify and amplify their strengths.

Conference facilities
Corporate activities
Team building

Why choose Essex Outdoors Mersea?


Find out why 85% of visitors keep coming back – and why 90% happily recommend us.

Find out more

Activities at Mersea

We guarantee tranquillity, but not rest.
Choose from archery, to high ropes and pedal karts, to zip wire and many more.

Adventure and obstacle courses

Adventure and obstacle courses The perfect environment for group work, team building, or just a bit of fun! Our purpose built obstacle courses promote participation, communication and team building, testing your ability to work with friends and colleagues in a safe but challenging environment. Navigate rope swings, tyre squeezes, tunnels, rope bridges, vertical walls, cargo …
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Aerial adventure

Aerial adventure course Our high-level Adventure Course encompasses a comprehensive set of 11 challenging elements 13m off the ground and is designed to test your agility and your nerve. Take on the course with your teammates and complete the challenges set for you by your instructor; it's time to work together to test your communication …
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Archery

Archery Aim for gold on our outdoor and indoor archery ranges. With its unique mix of fun and competition, archery is a popular activity with all ages and abilities, helping to build confidence and improve coordination skills. Sessions are tailored to meet the experience of the group and can offer the opportunity for further progression …
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Bouldering

Bouldering If you like keeping fit and problem solving, bouldering is the sport for you. Bouldering is an exhilarating and sociable sport where climbers attempt low-level routes without ropes or harnesses. Instead protection from falls is provided by pads and crash mats. Bouldering "problems" are usually much shorter than rock climbs and often include a …
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Bridge build

Bridge building Can you work as a team to build a bridge across the water? Using the kit provided and skills taught in the session you’ll become budding bridge engineers. Succeed and your team will stay dry, but if you fail to work well together and you may get wet and muddy! The session will …
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Bushcraft

Bushcraft Marshmallows at the ready! Depending on the centre we offer either coastal or woodland-based versions. These exciting and informative sessions are very flexible and can incorporate; fire lighting using fire steels and natural materials shelter building and knot work camp craft including basic knife and axe work. You can also combine a longer session …
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Caving

Caving Work your way through the winding tunnels, chambers and features of our 4 artificial caving courses, avoiding the dead ends to find the exit. Suitable for those with or without a fear of enclosed spaces. Your group will be encouraged to work together to find the quickest way through the maze completing a series …
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Climbing

Climbing Reach new heights on one of our impressive outdoor towers or indoors at our fourteen metre high professional climbing wall – “The Lock”. Our climbing walls provide a huge variety of routes to challenge novices and advanced climbers alike. During our instructed sessions, you’ll learn to use climbing equipment safely, belay your team mates …
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Coastal discovery

Coastal discovery Blending the best of environmental education and forest school principals with fun activities. Find about the fascinating seashore life of the Blackwater estuary. Sessions can include learning about tides, beaches and marshes finding and identifying coastal plants and sea creatures creating beach art The world really is your oyster on this activity! Recommended …
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Crabbing

Crabbing Head for the jetty at West Mersea our out into the creek at Bradwell on a boat. You'll need to use steady hands to see who can catch the biggest or most crustaceans in their bucket, whilst feeding the local crab population. You may even be lucky enough to spot Sammy the seal out …
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First aid

First aid Our highly interactive introductory First aid lessons for young people are based on British Heart Foundation guidelines. Sessions include plenty to keep the mind and body active and the group will learn everything they need to know to be confident in a basic first aid situation. Areas covered include incident management how to …
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Giant swing

Giant swing At 18m tall our twin Giant Swing (3G swing) is an exhilarating activity which encourages participants to set their own goals and push their comfort zones. They'll also build confidence and trust within their group. The group work together to hoist two of their teammates at a time up in the air as …
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High ropes

High ropes Each of our centres’ high ropes courses offer a variety of challenging and exciting elements designed to push your comfort zone to see what you can really achieve. Walk the catwalk, take on the Leap of Faith or work alongside your friends to get to the top of the Jacobs Ladder or All …
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It’s a knockout

It's a knockout It's bouncy, wet and loads of fun! A range of up to 10 group games emphasise teamwork skills with lots of fun elements mixed in. Try and conquer the water tower, or reach the end of the bungee run. Test your combat skills on the gladiators or see who can collect the …
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Kayaking

Kayaking Test out our fleet of sit-on-top and traditional kayaks . Our instructors will guide you through all the basic strokes allowing plenty of time to practice your skills through fun games and challenges. You’ll then be able to explore the local waterways and get up close and personal with some fascinating wildlife! Essex provides …
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Kit karts

Kit karts Kit karts are the perfect mix of a team building exercise coupled with the excitement of riding your creation down one of our hills. Groups will work in two teams to build soapbox style go-carts from the kit of parts and instructions supplied by the Instructor. Once the challenge is completed, group members …
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Low ropes

Low ropes The floor is lava! Our low ropes courses have a series of low-level challenges with interconnected ropes, planks, wires and tyres. The aim is to support your teammates to move around the platforms of the course without touching the ground Designed to test and hone the group's cooperation and communication skills whilst having …
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Off road biking

Off road biking Enjoy the ride. Our centres are perfectly situated to cater for all levels of off-road biking. Each site presents plenty of challenges, from obstacle courses to build your skills through to gentle woodland trails and more technical routes. And our proximity to some of the best single-track in the country allows us …
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Orienteering and map skills

Orienteering and map skills This activity teaches the important life skill of map-reading. Our instructors will guide groups through a series of mini-exercises to introduce; points of the compass and orientating a map interpreting symbols features using scale and pacing Participants then head off to complete courses and challenges of increasing difficulty around our beautiful …
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Pedal karts

Pedal karts Ride our pedal powered go-karts around the specially designed street circuit and race track. These robust karts are suitable for age 7 to adult and are equipped with forward and reverse gears and brakes. A series of exercises will teach the basic rules of the road and driving etiquette. Riders will also practice …
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Pioneering

Pioneering Work together to build various structures from a kit of wooden poles, ropes plus tarps and barrels. You'll learn a variety of useful knots and traditional lashing techniques. A medieval style catapult, a bridge or even a go-kart could be your goal. The session finishes off by testing out your creations - hit the …
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Raft building

Raft building Build your own river going vessel from a selection of tested items such as barrels, ropes wooden planks. You'll learn some useful knot work and traditional techniques to construct your craft. An ideal session for enhancing team building skills, communication, planning and resource management. Available during summer months only. Learning outcomes Click below …
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Scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunt This orienteering based activity sees group members using their map reading skills to navigate around our 64 acre site and collect information to help them find the secret location of the treasure! Suitable for younger groups of 10 - 50 participants Learning outcomes Click below to find out which learning outcomes this activity …
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Stand up paddle boarding (SUP)

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) The latest addition to our paddle sports line-up - the exciting sport of stand up paddle boarding - or SUP - is an excellent way to develop water confidence, build core strength and balance. You’ll be on your feet and exploring the beautiful rivers, creeks and sheltered waterways of Essex …
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Swimming

Swimming At Mersea our 25m long, 1 metre deep heated outdoor pool can be hired for a swim or with our pool games for a fun session. All sessions are supervised by a qualified Lifeguard. Learning outcomes Click below to find out which learning outcomes this activity promotes. Resilience Being able to accept failure at …
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Team challenge and problem solving

Team challenge and problem solving From mental puzzles through to team challenges, we'll test your ability to work together, communicate and think fast. Spider's web, mazes, blindfold trails and sheep pens are just some of the tools used to test your problem solving skills. The activities not only offer the opportunity for groups to go …
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Zip wire

Zip wire A fun personal challenge. Participants are connected to a wire 12 metres above the ground, before stepping out into thin air and embarking on a 100m descent. The experience will have you pleading for a second go! Learning outcomes Click below to find out which learning outcomes this activity promotes. Resilience Being able …
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Mersea image gallery

Some photos to give a flavour of what it’s like at Essex Outdoors Mersea

How to find us

Essex Outdoors Mersea, Rewsalls Lane, Colchester CO5 8SX

Tel: