A historic day out at Tilbury

Tilbury overlooks the River Thames in Essex and is famous for its 16th century fort. Built by Henry VIII, it was the rallying point for Queen Elizabeth I's army when the country was threatened by the Spanish Armada. Today families can enjoy the preserved moat circuit and fine bastioned outworks. History buffs should check out the exhibition tracing the role of the fort in the defence of London from the early modern period up until the second world war.

Enjoy cultural London from Tilbury

Less than 40 minutes from London by train, Tilbury is well connected for visitors looking to explore the myriad cultural sights on offer in the capital. Disembark at London Fenchurch Street and take the short walk to the Barbican Centre, where you can admire some of Europe's finest modern architecture. The centre contains theatres, cinemas and a music hall. Visit on a Sunday, when the lush conservatory, home to 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, is open to the public.

Shoppers dream at intu Lakeside

Less than 20 minute drive from Tilbury, the enourmous intu Lakeside shopping centre is one of Europe's largest. Visitors can indulge in some serious retail therapy at over 250 shops, and recharge at one of 50 cafes and restaurants. During the summer kids will love Essex's largest urban beach, including a 12m paddling pool, which takes over one of the car parks from July to September. Planning a trip to Tilbury? Travelodge Thurrock Lakeside Hotel is perfect for intu Lakeside, while over the Thames, Travelodge Dartford Hotel offers great rail connections to London.