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Things to do in Colchester

Thriving, modern town with a unique heritage

Are you looking for things to do in Colchester? We've got plenty of great ideas for you across the town.

Known for...   Oldest town in Britain and Colchester Castle


Did you know...

  • Colchester Castle was built by the Normans in the 1070s, and is the largest keep ever built by the French invaders.
  • As the oldest recorded Roman town in Britain, Colchester claims to be the oldest town in Britain.
  • Colchester is reputed to be the home of three of the best known English nursery rhymes: 'Old King Cole', 'Humpty Dumpty' and 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'.



 

  Attractions

Colchester Castle And Museum

History of Colchester Castle.
14 Ryegate Road
Colchester
CO1 1YG

01206282932

 

St John's Abbey Gate

English Heritage - This pinnacled gatehouse, elaborately decorated in East Anglian 'flushwork'.
Colchester
Essex
CO1 1RQ

 

Colchester, St Botolph's Priory

English Heritage - The remains of one of the first Augustinian priories in England, founded in c.1100.
Colchester Town
Essex
CO2 7EE

 

Bourne Mill

National Trust - Unusual building built as a fishing lodge in 1591.
Essex
CO2 8RT

 

Colchester Zoo

A great family day out.
Maldon Road
Stanway
Colchester
CO3 0SL

01206331292

Recommended by Martha Payne, Colchester

 

Blue Owl

We are a small family business based in West Bergholt, near Colchester in Essex. Gift shop and a paint-your-own-ceramics studio.
The Mill
Mill Street
Nayland
CO6 4HU

01206263350

 

Layer Marney Tower

One of this country's most dramatic buildings, Layer Marney Tower stands within the Essex landscape.
Colchester
Essex
CO5 9US

01206330784

Recommended by Pamela Street, Colchester

 

Thorington Hall

National Trust - Rambling Suffolk farmhouse built around 1600.
Stoke by Nayland
Suffolk
CO6 4SS

 

East Anglian Railway Museum

The EARM is a living heritage site based at Chappel railway station, on the edge of breathtaking Constable Country.
Chappel and Wakes Colne Station
Wakes Colne
Essex
CO6 2DS

01206242524

 

Gnome Magic

Magical 5 acre attraction.
Old Ipswich Road
Dedham
Colchester
CO7 6HU

01206231390

 

Mistley Towers

English Heritage - Two porticoed Classical towers, which stood at each end of a grandiose but highly unconventional church.
Mistley
Essex
CO11 1ET

 

Lexden Earthworks And Bluebottle Grove

English Heritage - The banks and ditches of a series of late Iron Age defences protecting the western side of Camulodunum.
near Colchester
Essex
CO3 9DL

 

East Bergholt Place Garden The Place For Plants

East Bergholt has a wonderful woodland garden (best in spring) planted by Charles Eley, the present owner's great-grandfather.
East Bergholt
Suffolk
CO7 6UP

 

Beth Chatto Gardens

Internationally acclaimed gardens.
Elmstead Market
Colchester
CO7 7DB

 
 

  Museums

Hollytrees Museum FREE

Follow the story around this beautiful Georgian building taking in domestic life and childhood in Colchester over the past 300 yrs.
Castle Road
Colchester
CO1 1UG

 

Natural History Museum

The place to go for information on your local wildlife.
All Saints Church
Colchester
Essex
CO1 1TB

01206282941

 

First Site

Stunning contemporary art gallery.
High Street
Colchester
CO1 1UE

01206577067

 
 

  Parks

Castle Park And Gardens FREE

Colchester's distinctive heritage is nowhere more apparent than in Castle Park. A site of national importance.
High Street
Colchester
Essex
CO1 1DN

 

Ray Island And Bonners Saltings Nature Reserve FREE

This 100 acre reserve comprises Ray Island which is a large sandy mound rising out of the surrounding saltings. Access by boat.
Mersea Island
Essex
CO5 7QL

 

Oxley Meadow Nature Reserve FREE

This 8 acre reserve consists of two flower-rich meadows with a really large colony of Green Winged Orchids.
Tolleshunt Knights
near Tiptree
Essex
CM9 8HA

 

Sergeants Orchard Nature Reserve FREE

This 8 acre reserve comprises a small old orchard flanked by a recently planted fruit orchard.
Between Adlham and Chappel
Essex
CO8 5AZ

 

Westhouse Wood Nature Reserve FREE

This 7 acre wood on the outskirts of Colchester contains a wide variety of trees and shrubs.
Braiswick
Colchester
Essex
CO4 5BN

 

Roman River Valley Nature Reserve FREE

This 44 acre reserve is a fragment of traditional river valley landscape maintained by the Essex Wildlife Trust.
Kingsford Bridge
near Layer-de-la-Haye
Essex
CO2 0HT

 

Lexden Gathering Grounds Nature Reserve FREE

This 22 acre site was formerly a 'gathering ground' for water from constantly flowing springs.
Cooks Lane, Cymbeline Way (A133)
Lexden
Essex
CO3 4DB

 

Iron Latch Nature Reserve FREE

This 10.5 acre reserve consists of a flower-rich meadow, plus four acres of woodland, long established and possibly ancient.
Eight Ash Green
Colchester
Essex
CO6 3QR

 

Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre FREE

Essex Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve and visitor centre, set in a spectacular position overlooking the Colne Estuary.
South Green Road, Fingringhoe
Colchester
Essex
CO5 7DN

01206729678

 

Cockaynes Wood Nature Reserve FREE

Cockaynes Wood is ancient Essex woodland, listed in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Wivenhoe
Colchester
CO7 9JT

 

Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre FREE

A wetland site of international importance for wildfowl. Up to 40,000 ducks, swans and geese visit each year.
Church Rd, Layer-de-la-Haye
Colchester
Essex
CO2 0EU

 

Abbotts Hall Farm FREE

A 700 acre coastal farm and the head office of Essex Wildlife Trust situated on the Blackwater Estuary.
Maldon Road Great Wigborough
Colchester
Essex
CO5 7RZ

 

Highwoods Country Park FREE

One of Colchester's most beautiful locations.
Turner Road
Colchester
CO4 5JR

01206853588

 

Tollesbury Wick Nature Reserve FREE

This 600 acre site is a rare example of an Essex fresh water grazing marsh, worked for decades by traditional methods.
Tollesbury
Essex
CM9 8TB

 
 

  Bowling

Tenpin Colchester

Tenpin bowling and entertainment venue.
Cowdray Avenue
Colchester
CO1 1YH

 
 

  Cinema

Odeon Colchester

Multi-screen cinema.
Head Street
Colchester
CO1 1NH

03330144501

 

Curzon Cinema Colchester

Independent cinema.
Roman House
19 Queen Street
Colchester
CO1 1LD

03333210104

 
 

  Theatre

Colchester Arts Centre

Rock and folk gigs, club nights, comedy, world music, jazz, drama, kids theatre and workshops.
Church Street
Colchester
CO1 1NF

01206500900

 

The Mercury Theatre

Popular theatre. Full listings available.
Balkerne Gate
Colchester
CO1 1PT

01206573948

 
 

  Live Music

Jump Back Boogie

Bringing you the best tunes from the rock'n'roll era.
Greenstead Social Club
Blackthorn Avenue
Colchester
CO4 3QD

 
 

  Golf

Colchester Golf Club

Golf Club.
Braiswick
Colchester
Essex
CO4 5AU

 
 

  Leisure centres

Colchester Leisure World

Wide range of sporting and leisure activities.
Cowdray Avenue
Colchester
CO1 1YH

 

LA Fitness

Health and fitness club.
North Station
Clarendon Way
CO1 1XF

 

Bannatyne

State of the art health and fitness club.
Grange Way
Colchester
CO2 8GU

01206866111

 

Gym4u

Colchester's premier gym and fitness centre.
Jayrest Centre
Peartree Road
CO3 0JX

01206765949

 
 

  Water sports

Essex School Of Diving

Learn to scuba dive.
Ardleigh Road
Great Bromley
CO7 7TL

 
 

  Karting

Indikart

Indoor karting centre.
Whitehall Industrial Estate
17 Grange Way
CO2 8HF

01206799511

 
 

  Sport

Rollerworld

Europe's finest rollerskating rink.
13 Moorside
Colchester
CO1 2TJ

01206868868

 

Scenario Performing Arts

Scenario is a performing arts organisation that trains young children in professional theatre.
38 Cavendish Avenue
Colchester
Essex
CO2 8BP

Recommended by Ben Bailey, Ipswich
“It allows the children involved to explore their own creativity, through professional, yet still enjoyable, workshops, which explore musical and theatrical arts performances.”

 
 

  Riding

Brook Farm Riding

Friendly stables. Lessons available.
Colchester Main Road
Colchester
CO7 8AP

01206822502

 

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Didn't find anything? Why not try further afield?

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Map directions
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