Dating back at least 2,000 years, Colchester is the oldest recorded town in Britain and a gateway to East Anglia’s historic villages, forests and country market towns. Colchester also boasts a renowned children’s zoo, ancient castles and charming cafes.
Things to do in Colchester
Find both history and outdoor recreation at Castle Park, which is also home to Colchester Castle. The on-site Colchester Castle Museum showcases artefacts up to 2,500 years old, as well as interactive exhibits, a Fenwick hoard and ancient jail. The park also houses Hollytrees Museum, a Georgian structure showcasing long-case clocks and a dollhouse re-creation of the museum.
Travelling with young children? Head to Colchester Zoo for wildlife shows, interactive feedings and a chance to touch giraffes, elephants and snakes. Step back in time at the Roman Circus Centre, a former chariot-racing arena built in the 2nd century AD, or learn about steam engines at the East Anglian Railway Museum.
Get outdoors at High Woods Country Park, a former royal hunting forest featuring a Nordic walking trail, play areas, a community garden and lake. You can also discover diverse habitats at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve or go birdwatching at Abberton Reservoir.
In the evening, indulge in locally-sourced cuisine at Greyfriars, such as oysters from Mersea Island, East Anglian produce and Dedham Vale beef. Enjoy live music and comedy at Colchester Arts Centre or watch a play at Mercury Theatre before having a drink at Church Street Tavern.
Getting around Colchester
The town centre of Colchester is pedestrian-friendly, while buses and taxis are also available. You can rent a car in the city or at Stansted Airport, about a 50-minute drive away.