THERE are just a few days left to register to be in with a chance of getting your hands on free tickets for attractions across Essex as part of the first ever Big Weekend.

There are up to 3,395 free tickets to 48 tourist attractions up for grabs as part of the Essex Big Weekend on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2 which aims to help residents rediscover the amazing things to see and do in their home county - and to spread the word about them.

Some of the tickets on offer are entrance for two people to RHS Garden Hyde Hall, near Rettendon, a family day pass to the 360 Play Basildon children’s play area and a pair of wristbands to Adventure Island theme park in Southend.

A free ticket to Hadleigh Park is also up for grabs along with tickets to the Tilbury Fort and a guided tour and tasting session at the New Hall Vineyards in Purleigh.

Also included in the ballot are entrance tickets to Colchester Zoo and Colchester Castle, visits to Barleylands in Billericay, and a day at Rope Runners in Kelvedon Hatch.

But there are only a few days left to register to be part of the ballot - it closes on Friday, March 17.

You can bid for available tickets to as many attractions as you wish but you must be an Essex resident. Two tickets per household will then be allocated by ballot to the lucky winners or family tickets to some attractions.

Visit Essex Tourism Marketing and PR Manager Carol Jolly said: “The Big Weekend is a fantastic way to kick-start the tourist season, but it’s also a great way to reward Essex’s residents with a great day out, for free. “It really is as good as it sounds.

“The winners are selected by ballot so there’s plenty of reasons to bid for as many different attractions and activities as possible.

“You never know what you might win, and how much fun you could be having on April 1 and 2! We are delighted so many wonderful attractions and organisations have supported the 1st ever Essex Big Weekend, and look forward to a great celebration.”

Visit Remember to share your stories and pictures using #essexbigweekend as the best ‘selfie’ over the weekend will win a hamper of goodies from Wilkins & Sons.”

Attractions taking part include:

  • Mayflower 400 Tours, Harwich
  • 360 Play Basildon
  • Rope Runners Brentwood
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Barleylands Farm & Craft Village
  • East Anglian Railway Museum
  • Saffron Walden Tourist Information centre
  • Epping Ongar Railway
  • Chelmsford racecourse
  • Old MacDonald’s Farm
  • Hedingham Castle
  • Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum
  • Warners Textile Archive
  • Crazy Golf at Waldegrave’s  Mersea Island
  • Fishing Waldegrave’s Mersea Island
  • FootGolf at Waldegrave’s Mersea Island
  • One hour tour of Mundon St Mary’s Church
  • Friary Walled Garden
  • The Munnings Art Museum
  • Redwings Horse Sanctuary
  • New Hall Vineyards
  • Wivenhoe House Hotel
  • Rye-Assic Adventure Park
  • Rye House 9-hole Crazy Golf
  • Rye House Laser Combat
  • RHS Garden Hyde Hall
  • Rye House Karting
  • Braintree District Museum
  • Colchester Zoo
  • Colchester Castle
  • Splash Park, Promenade Park Maldon
  • St Lawrence Inn
  • Promenade Park Beach Huts Maldon
  • Pirate’s Bay adventure Golf
  • Brentwood Theatre
  • Audley End House & Gardens
  • Tilbury Fort
  • Genting Club Southend
  • The Tall Green House
  • Naze Tower
  • WildForestGym
  • Lifehouse Hotel and Spa
  • Stow Maries WWI aerodrome