15 Best Things To Do In Colchester, England

15 Best Things To Do In Colchester, England

By will

Welcome to Colchester, England!
This beautiful town is the oldest recorded town in Britain and is full of history and culture.
It’s an ideal destination for a getaway and offers plenty of things to do.
From exploring the Roman wall to swimming in the pool, there’s something for everyone.
Here are 15 of the best things to do in Colchester, England.

Visit Colchester Castle

Colchester Castle
Photo by David Dixon

Visiting Colchester Castle is a must-see; it’s the largest Norman keep ever built! Its ancient walls have been standing for over 2000 years. It’s an iconic landmark in the town, with its huge stone walls and moat spanning over 11 acres.

It’s certainly impressive to look at, but it’s also full of fascinating history. Inside the castle walls, you can explore the museum and take a guided tour to learn about its many stories. There are also regular events like jousting tournaments and historical reenactments that bring the castle to life.

No matter what time of year you visit, there’s something going on. The castle is also home to several restaurants and pubs, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch or an evening meal. From the terrace, you can enjoy stunning views of the town and its surrounding countryside.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a great day out, Colchester Castle is a must-see attraction.

Take a Tour of the Roman Wall

Roman Wall on Priory Street
Photo by Martin Speck

Experience the ancient history of the Roman Wall, and feel like you’re stepping back in time!

A tour of the Roman Wall in Colchester is an experience you won’t forget.

Discover the story of Colchester’s Roman foundation and uncover the secrets of the city’s most important historical landmark.

The Roman Wall, built in the 1st century AD, is an impressive structure stretching for nearly two miles.

It has been partially restored, so you can take a closer look at the impressive construction and admire the sheer scale of the wall.

You’ll also learn about the fascinating history of the Roman soldiers who built it, and how the wall protected Colchester’s inhabitants from attacks.

The tour is incredibly informative and visually stunning, as you wander through the wall’s ruins and explore the city’s ancient past.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor to Colchester, taking a tour of the Roman Wall is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Explore the Natural History Museum

Colchester Natural History Museum
Photo by Sandy Gerrard

Discover the wonders of Colchester’s Natural History Museum and explore its captivating exhibitions!

Located in the heart of Colchester, this museum has been around since 1683 and has one of the oldest collections of natural history in Britain.

It is home to an array of interesting displays, including a vast array of specimens from the animal kingdom, birds, insects, fossils, minerals, and plants.

You can also explore the museum’s unique interactive exhibitions, such as the ‘Maze of Life’ which allows you to explore the evolution of various species from the last four billion years.

The Museum also has a range of educational activities for all ages, as well as a cafe and gift shop.

It is an ideal place to take the family for a fun and educational day out.

After exploring the interactive exhibitions, you can relax in the cafe and enjoy a light meal or snack.

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The gift shop is a great place to find souvenirs and gifts to take home and remember your visit.

So don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to explore the wonders of Colchester’s Natural History Museum.

Shop at the High Street

Head to the High Street and check out the fantastic shopping opportunities! You’ll find something for everyone with a wide selection of different stores and boutiques. Whether you’re looking for a special gift, an outfit for a night out, or just something to brighten your home, you’ll find what you need.

From big name brands to independent stores, there’s something to suit all styles and budgets. You can even pick up some fresh produce at the local farmers market. The High Street is the perfect place to find something special, with its diverse range of shops.

There are also plenty of places to grab a bite to eat while you shop. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a light snack, a full meal, or something sweet. Enjoy a coffee and cake in one of the many cafes, or try something from a local bakery.

After a long day of shopping, you can even grab a drink in one of the pubs or bars. The High Street is a great place to find something to take home, with its convenient location and wide variety of stores.

Stroll Through Firstsite

Take a stroll through Firstsite and enjoy the best of contemporary art in Colchester, England!

Firstsite is a modern art gallery located in the heart of the city, just off the High Street. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon meandering through a changing selection of artwork from both local and international artists.

The gallery has a wide variety of pieces for you to explore, from painting to sculpture, photography to digital art. You can also find interactive displays that let you explore the art in a more hands-on way.

The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, always willing to answer any questions you have about the artwork. Plus, Firstsite hosts a number of events throughout the year so you can engage with the art in a more interactive way.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just looking for something to do in Colchester, Firstsite is a great place to spend an afternoon.

Enjoy a Show at the Mercury Theatre

Experience a captivating show at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester! This stunning venue has been providing the citizens of Colchester with an array of theatrical productions since it first opened its doors in 1991. From Broadway musicals to ballets and plays, there’s something to suit all tastes.

The Mercury Theatre is a state-of-the-art facility offering comfortable seating, outstanding acoustics, and a dedicated team of theatre professionals who work hard to ensure that each performance is of the highest quality.

After the show, you can even take a stroll around the theatre’s beautiful grounds and enjoy a meal or a drink at the nearby cafe.

So, if you’re looking for a memorable night out in Colchester, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Mercury Theatre.

Sample Local Cuisine at the Riverside Market

After a night of entertainment at the Mercury Theatre, it’s time to sample some of the delicious local cuisine! The Riverside Market is a must-visit for anyone looking to get a taste of the best of Colchester.

On any given night, you’ll find a variety of vendors selling everything from fresh-baked pastries to hearty meals. Whether you’re looking for something quick to eat on the go or a sit-down meal, you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds.

The market also features local artisans selling their handmade goods, from jewelry and clothing to ceramics and home decor. As you wander through the market, you’ll be able to sample a range of dishes from around the world as well as traditional English fare.

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The atmosphere at the Riverside Market is always lively and welcoming, and the locals are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Be sure to bring some cash with you, as many of the vendors only accept cash payments.

Enjoy a night of sampling the local cuisine at the Riverside Market – you won’t be disappointed!

Explore the Colchester Zoo

For a truly wild experience, explore the Colchester Zoo – a place where you can get up close and personal with the wonders of nature!

The zoo is home to over 250 species of animals, including elephants, rhinos, tigers, giraffes, and many more.

Visitors can experience the animals in their natural habitats, with enclosures designed to mimic the conditions of the wild.

The Zoo also offers plenty of interactive opportunities, such as keeper talks, animal encounters and interactive displays.

There is also an educational centre, as well as a restaurant, gift shop and playground for children.

It’s a great place to spend the day and learn about the wonderful wildlife of the world.

For animal lovers, the Colchester Zoo offers a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

Take a Stroll Through Castle Park

After exploring the Colchester Zoo, I decided to take a stroll through Castle Park. This popular attraction is located in the centre of Colchester and is great for all ages. It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beautiful landscaped grounds.

Castle Park is full of history and natural beauty, with stunning views of the River Colne. There are plenty of things to do here, from picnics and children’s play areas to walking trails and outdoor sculptures.

The park also includes the ruins of Colchester Castle, which is a great place to explore and learn about the history of the city.

Explore the Town Hall

Take a trip to Colchester’s town hall and explore its rich history and grand architecture. Located in the heart of Colchester, the town hall dates back to the 16th century, and is a must-see for history buffs.

The grand building is the oldest of its kind in England, and features a towering clock tower, intricate carvings, and beautiful stained-glass windows. Inside, visitors can admire the impressive mural depicting Queen Elizabeth I’s royal visit to Colchester, and learn about the town’s historic past.

Visitors can also explore the interior of the building, which houses a number of interesting artifacts and displays, including a detailed model of Colchester Castle. The town hall is a great place to learn about Colchester’s history and experience its timeless beauty.

Visit the Dutch Quarter

Step back in time with a visit to Colchester’s Dutch Quarter, an area brimming with quaint cobbled streets and centuries-old buildings. This charming district dates back to the 15th century when it was occupied by Dutch merchants and craftsmen.

The compact quarter offers a unique glimpse into a bygone era with its picturesque alleyways, winding streets, and canals. You can wander around and explore the quaint shops, cafes, and pubs that line the narrow streets. Be sure to take in the sights and sounds of the many churches and monuments, as well as the colorful Dutch-style houses and buildings.

The Dutch Quarter is also home to some excellent museums, galleries, and monuments, offering visitors the chance to learn more about the area’s rich history. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll or a more in-depth exploration, the Dutch Quarter is a great place to visit for a unique and memorable experience.

Relax at the Colchester Swimming Pool

After enjoying the sights and sounds of the Dutch Quarter, why not head to the Colchester Swimming Pool? This historic pool is a great place to relax and unwind. Located in the heart of Colchester, the pool is just a short walk away from the Dutch Quarter.

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The pool is open throughout the year and has a variety of activities for people of all ages. There’s a 25-meter main pool, a learner pool, and a separate toddler pool. The main pool has eight lanes and is perfect for swimming laps, while the learner pool is ideal for those who need a bit more guidance.

For those who prefer the shallow end, there are two jacuzzis available. The pool also has a sauna and steam room, perfect for unwinding after a long day of sightseeing. There’s also a gym and café onsite, so you can grab a bite to eat or a drink after your swim.

Enjoy the Nightlife at Headgate Theatre

Headgate Theatre is the perfect spot for a night out in Colchester. It offers an eclectic mix of live music, comedy, and theatre performances to keep everyone entertained. From local bands to renowned comedians, there’s something for everyone at Headgate Theatre.

The theatre also features a bar, where you can grab a drink and socialize with friends. The atmosphere is always warm and inviting, making it a great place to unwind after a long day.

Whether you’re looking for a night of laughs or a night of drama, Headgate Theatre has it all. With a wide selection of shows to choose from, you’re sure to find something that will make your night out in Colchester one to remember.

Visit the Colchester Arts Centre

The Colchester Arts Centre is an ideal spot for culture seekers, boasting a wide range of performances, exhibitions, and workshops that cater to all tastes.

From plays and music concerts to art exhibitions and comedy shows, there’s truly something for everyone. The venue has become a popular spot for a night out, with regular events taking place throughout the year.

The centre also offers a range of educational activities, including classes, lectures, and workshops. These can be tailored to the needs of school-age children or adults.

Whatever your cultural interests, you’ll find something to enjoy at the Colchester Arts Centre. The venue has something for everyone, whatever your age or tastes. It’s the perfect place to explore your creative side, learn new skills, and enjoy a great night out with friends and family.

Take a Walk Along the River Colne

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, take a leisurely stroll along the River Colne. The River Colne has been an important part of the Colchester landscape for centuries, and its banks offer a peaceful retreat from the bustling city center.

The route follows the banks of the river, taking in some of the most beautiful countryside in the area. You’ll find plenty of wildlife to admire and plenty of lush greenery to enjoy. The river also has several bridges crossing it, offering a great opportunity to take some stunning photos.

Along the way, you’ll be able to take in some of the history of Colchester, from the Roman ruins to the medieval walls. The walk is relatively flat and level, making it suitable for all ages and abilities. It’s a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while exploring the local area.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful afternoon stroll or an all-day adventure, the River Colne is the perfect destination.


I had an amazing time exploring Colchester, England. From the incredible Colchester Castle, to the Roman Wall and the High Street, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city.

I was particularly impressed by the natural history museum, as well as the swimming pool, Headgate Theatre, and Colchester Arts Centre. It’s a great place to explore and relax.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit. There’s so much to do in Colchester – from shopping, to exploring, to enjoying a night out – that it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular destinations in England.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.

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