This weekend we are on course for blue skies and scorching temperatures.

You may be planning a barbecue in the garden, a trip to the beach or a stroll in the countryside.

Life is returning to some form of normal and we are enjoying the gems our county has to offer while staying safe.

But if you are after some ideas we've got you covered.

Wherever you choose to go, stay safe and keep your distance from others.

A trip to the seaside

Essex has miles of beach and coastline to enjoy.

There is sand and pebbles to enjoy at the likes of Clacton, Frinton, Walton, Harwich and Southend.

You could also enjoy a trip on the piers or a traditional seaside snack in the form of fish and chips or a 99' ice cream.

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Enjoy Essex's cultural highlights

Our county is blessed with museums and attractions.

You could take a trip back in time and visit Colchester Castle, see the marine life at Sea Life Adventure Aquarium in Southend or learn about the former Water Pumping Station at the Museum of Power.

Other highlights include Colchester Zoo, Layer Marney Tower and the Combined Military Services Museum.

Enjoy a day out at our country parks

Essex County Council runs country parks across the whole county.

So why not take a wander at Cudmore Grove in Mersea, Great Notley Park, Danbury Country Park or Belhus Woods Country Park.

There is also Marsh Farm Country Park, Thorndon Country Park and Weald Country Park.

There may be some variations to opening times and facilities so make sure to check before you make a visit.

Be inspired by the gardens of Essex

Breathe in the heady scents at RHS Hyde Hall and get carried away to distant shores. Bring a picnic and enjoy the views.

Step back in time at historic gems like Bridge End and Easton Lodge, lovingly restored to their former glory.

Drink in the vistas at Audley End with its ‘Capability’ Brown vision of temples and lakes. Reflect awhile at Beth Chatto’s water garden with its huge gunnera towering above a hundred shades of emerald.

Then there is also Marks Hall, and Green Island Gardens to enjoy.

Take a stroll in the countryside or at the coast

The county boast dozens of different walking routes to enjoy.

Soak in the beauty of Dedham Vale and Stour Valley or take a wander along the Essex Way.

Enjoy the countryside of the Flitch Way or the beauty of coast.

Take a cycle in the countryside

Visit Essex had devised cycling routes across the county to showcase the best views and sights.

From taking in medieval markets and mazes between Saffron Walden and Thaxted to picture perfect villages around Coggeshall, Finchingfield and the Hedinghams there is plenty to explore.

And you could also visit Hadleigh Park - the home of London 2012 Olympic cycling.