Colchester, Essex, claims to be the oldest recorded town in Britain. And it is older than London!
It was even the capital of Britain for a short time, known as ‘Camulodunum’ in Roman times. (Londinium was the name given to London.)
Colchester and its surrounding areas have a wide range of activities, sights, and fantastic attractions to explore. From family activities and contemporary art museums to Colchester Zoo! The famous and largest zoo in Essex.
There’s always plenty to keep you entertained in Colchester no matter how long you stay or what the weather is like!
If you’re planning a visit to Colchester, this is the article for you!
Colchester Castle is a Norman castle from the second half of the 11th century and is Europe’s largest Norman keep.
It was built on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, which was built when Colchester was Britain’s first Roman capital.
Inside the castle, you can see various displays and artefacts from Essex’s 2000-year history. The Castle is a popular attraction in the East of England and one of England’s most important heritage sites.
The grounds of Colchester Castle are free to walk around, but there is a fee to enter the castle museum to see the displays and the guided tours led by the experts; which takes you down into the Roman vaults and up onto the Castle roof.
The Castle Museum has interactive displays and star exhibits such as the Colchester Gladiator Vase and the Fenwick Hoard of Roman treasure.
Colchester Castle Park is located to the north-east of Colchester’s town centre and is part of the Colchester Castle grounds. The park is divided into upper and lower parks by the Roman Wall.
This Victorian Park is a landscape moulded by the people of Colchester and is a popular spot for people to relax and enjoy nature.
It’s also a great open space for a picnic, as many college and university students come here for their lunch breaks.
The park is 11 hectares in size and offers activities for people of all ages. There is a play park, a boating lake, crazy golf for the young, a bandstand, beautiful gardens, and museums for everyone to enjoy.
Various events are held here at Castle Park throughout the year, such as the Classic Car Show and Music festivals as well as the 5k park run that take place almost every Saturday.
You can also explore the free Castle Park trails with family and friends to learn more about the history and wildlife of this park in the heart of Colchester.
However, the boating lake and the crazy golf will cost a small fee if you want your children to have some fun.
Hollytree Museum, located within Castle Park, is worth a visit while you’re there. This Georgian building, built in 1728, is surrounded by a beautiful garden.
It houses a wide range of collections such as toys, art, costume, and clocks, some with over 300 years of history.
Here you can learn more about the rich and poor’s family life, dress up as a servant and try out the dolly peg from before the washing machine was invented.
The collections and displays at Hollytrees Museum change on a regular basis, so you can learn something new every time you visit.
If you like clocks, the Bernard Mason Clock Gallery displays the collection of clocks made locally in Colchester, ranging from long cases to lantern clocks.
Colchester Zoo is a popular attraction that brings visitors from all over the country. It is also home to over 180 species of animals and is set on 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes.
The Colchester Zoo is located on the edge of Colchester; the easy way to travel here is by car. However, there is a direct bus service that departs from the Colchester bus station and stops just outside the Colchester Zoo.
The Zoo is constantly developing, and it has received many awards for its efforts. There is plenty to see and do at the Zoo. You can learn more about the animals and get up close by watching one of the 50 daily displays.
You can feed the elephants and giraffes yourself, as well as ride on the ‘Lost Madagascar Express’ road train!
And don’t forget to visit the discovery centre and try your hand at handling some unusual bugs, or get your face painted like your favourite animal!
If you’re in Colchester, this is a must-see attraction. The zoo has over 16,000 positive Google reviews with 4.7-star ratings, you won’t be disappointed with the trip.
Don’t miss it because you and your family will have a fantastic day out!
Firstsite is a visual arts organisation in Colchester that is only a four-minute walk from Colchester Castle. Opened in 2011, Firstsite exhibits a wide range of well-known artworks by internationally recognised artists, as well as local exhibitions.
Housed in a spectacular golden building designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, Firstsite is a gallery as well as a community hub; it was also named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2021!
Firstsite is open all year with free admission and a vibrant programme of exhibitions, films, learning activities, and events to spark your imagination, as well as a café and shop.
There are some special events that involve the local community, ranging from drop-in sessions to full-blown festivals. Please visit the website for more information and also check out the Google reviews here about Firstsite.
Highwoods Country Park in Colchester is a popular nature spot with habitats for thousands of different birds and mammals.
You can unwind here, enjoy the natural beauty of the large open space, and it’s a great place to bring your dog and children.
If you enjoy walking, Highwoods Country Park has some circular walking trails of varying lengths. The walking path passes through the Bluebell woods, with glimpses of the lake and wildflower meadows, as well as spectacular views of Colchester.
Near the main car park, there is a children’s adventure playground where the kids can play and burn off some steam.
The visitor centre sells refreshments and provides park interpretation as well as some family activities. However, the visitor centre is only open during peak time, so please check before you go.
Located in Elmstead, Colchester, Beth Chatto’s Gardens is an award-winning and internationally renowned garden created by the famous British plantswoman – Beth Chatto OBE.
In the 1960s, Beth and her team began transforming these 7.5 acres of land into an inspirational, informal garden that consists of several types of gardens such as the Gravel Garden, Water Garden, Reservoir Garden, Woodland Garden and Screen Garden.
Her work at the garden has won 10 Gold medals at the Chelsea flower show in the 70s and 80s.
If you love nature and flowers or are a keen gardener, this is a beautiful place to visit and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Beth Chatto’s Gardens.
There are so many places to visit and things to do in Colchester that we can’t possibly include them all in this post.
However, we have listed some additional top attractions for you to consider visiting and enjoying! Don’t forget to check the website for more information before you go!
1. The Ruins Of St. Botolph’s Priory
2. The Munnings Art Museum
3. Roman Circus Visitor Centre
4. Cudmore Grove Country Park
5. The Colchester Arts Centre
6. The Natural History Museum
7. The Markshall Estate
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article. If you’re planning a move and need some assistance with your house move, we offer a full package of house removal services in Colchester as well as the whole of Essex, Norfolk & Suffolk areas.
To price your move, simply contact us at 01206 807611, and our team will gladly help you arrange your pre-move survey for your moving quote.
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