Rayleigh is a historic market town in Essex mentioned in the 11th-century “Domesday Book”. An early Saxon cemetery has been discovered in the town, together with the mound of a medieval castle. Modern-day Rayleigh is home to beautifully preserved half-timbered buildings and a charming windmill and hosts a market that dates back to 1181.
Things to do in Rayleigh
One of Rayleigh’s most iconic landmarks is its six-storey tower mill, which was constructed in 1809 for Thomas Higgs. It houses a museum detailing the history of the site and the adjacent Rayleigh Mount, a former castle managed by the National Trust. You can dress up in traditional costumes or stroll along the circular pathway that marks the historic moat.
Occupying a timber-framed house dating from the 16th century is the Rayleigh Town Museum, where everyday artefacts and community memorabilia are displayed. In addition to exhibiting military uniforms, vintage posters and old photographs, the museum regularly hosts book sales. The Rayleigh Town Museum is a short walk from King George’s Park where you’ll find a children’s playground and picnic lawns.
Travelling with kids? Don’t miss a visit to the Base Jump Trampoline Park, which boasts more than 185 interlinked trampolines. Test your skills on the United Kingdom’s first trampoline half-pipe, shoot hoops in Slam Dunk Lane or challenge your family to a game of trampoline dodgeball. Parents can relax with a refreshment at Cafe Jump, which has a viewing platform overlooking the entire park.
Getting around Rayleigh
Rayleigh is just over an hour’s drive from the centre of London and 45 minutes from London Stansted Airport. Regular trains connect to the Rayleigh railway station and buses travel through the town. The centre of Rayleigh is compact enough to explore on foot.