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Colchester

Visit one of Britain’s oldest towns to discover historical treasures, such as Roman remains and Norman churches, alongside cutting-edge art galleries and family entertainment. 

Colchester locals will proudly tell you that their city is Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town. Its history actually goes back much farther than that, but it was the Romans who shaped “Camulodunum,” as they called it. Today, you can still see the remains of a Roman wall in the city center.

More than two millennia of habitation have left the city other impressive historic sites as well. The imposing Colchester Castle and churches such as St. Botolph’s Priory are examples of more recent architecture. Modern attractions abound too, so visit galleries and indulge in some shopping in the lively town center after your tour of the heritage sites.

Part of Colchester’s appeal is that most of the major attractions are located within walking distance from the city center. Start at the VisitColchester Information Centre and pick up all the maps and information you need. Head to Colchester Castle Park and you’ll find the Castle Museum and Hollytrees Museum within its grounds. On and around High Street you can choose between the Colchester Natural History Museum, contemporary art galleries such as Firstsite and The Minories, and architectural feats such as the Colchester Town Hall.

On a sunny day, enjoy a walk around the Beth Chatto Gardens or a visit to the Colchester Zoo where you can feed elephants and giraffes. Also explore the nearby countryside, which the famous English painter John Constable captured so well.

Start your evening in one of the many fine restaurants in the city center and end the night attending a performance at the Mercury Theatre or mingling with locals in one of the many pubs.

Nearby attractions in the Essex countryside include the splendid Tudor structure known as the Layer Marney Tower.

Colchester is just over 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of London. The nearest international airport is at Stansted, which is located 34 miles (55 kilometers) west of Colchester. You’ll need to wear warm clothes for a winter visit to Colchester, but it is one of the driest places in the U.K. With so much to see and do, you’ll enjoy your stay in Colchester whatever the weather.

Top hotels in Colchester

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Holiday Inn Express Colchester
Holiday Inn Express Colchester
2.5 out of 5
The price is RM248 per night

Situated in Colchester, this hotel is 0.8 mi (1.4 km) from Dedham Vale and 2.1 mi (3.3 km) from Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum. Hollytrees Museum and Colchester ...

4.1/5Very Good! (993 reviews)

"The stay was exceptional given the current climate. The beds are very small for 2 adults but they were comfortable."…"

Reviewed on 29 Mar 2020

Holiday Inn Express Colchester
Dragonfly Hotel Colchester
Dragonfly Hotel Colchester
3 out of 5
The price is RM253 per night

Situated in Colchester, this hotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Colchester Castle Museum, University of Essex and Colchester Zoo. Beth Chatto Garden and Layer Marney ...

3.9/5Very Good! (506 reviews)

"We enjoyed our stay. Great customer service and scenery."…"

Reviewed on 15 Jun 2020

Dragonfly Hotel Colchester
Holiday Inn Colchester
Holiday Inn Colchester
4 out of 5
The price is RM244 per night

This family-friendly Colchester hotel is located near the airport, 3.1 mi (5 km) from Colchester Zoo, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Colchester Castle Park and Abberton ...

4/5Very Good! (311 reviews)
Nice stay

"Stay was nice. Breakfast was very good and the restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful."…"

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2020

Holiday Inn Colchester

Popular places to visit in Colchester

Colchester Zoo
Image for Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo

4.5/5(34 reviews)

Feed elephants and giraffes, watch a falconry display and meet the fearsome Komodo dragons at one of the U.K.’s best zoos.

Colchester Castle Park
Image for Colchester Castle Park

Colchester Castle Park

4.5/5(64 reviews)

Ride a pedalo on the boating lake, enjoy a game of mini golf or simply spend an afternoon relaxing in Colchester’s most popular public park.

Layer Marney Tower
Image for Layer Marney Tower

Layer Marney Tower

4.5/5(3 reviews)

Spend an afternoon at the tallest Tudor gatehouse in England to find a knot garden, a farm, a Wildlife Walk and five centuries’ worth of history. 

Colchester Town Hall
Image for Colchester Town Hall

Colchester Town Hall

4/5(10 reviews)

Colchester’s Baroque town hall, a heritage-listed building with Victorian tower and antique organ, has been the focus of civil duties for over 800 years.

Beth Chatto Garden
Image for Beth Chatto Garden

Beth Chatto Garden

Learn which plants can thrive in a range of habitats in these stunning gardens designed by master gardener Beth Chatto.

Mercury Theatre
Image for Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre

Enjoy a play, a musical performance or some hilarious comedy at Colchester’s premier performing arts venue, which also has a children’s program.

Top things to do in Colchester

In-Home Private Chef Experience - 5 Course
Image for In-Home Private Chef Experience - 5 Course

In-Home Private Chef Experience - 5 Course

RM391
Per adult
Escape Lounge at London Stansted Airport (STN)
Image for Escape Lounge at London Stansted Airport (STN)

Escape Lounge at London Stansted Airport (STN)

RM146
Per adult
The Golden Triangle Package Tour London-Oxford-Cambridge
Image for The Golden Triangle Package Tour London-Oxford-Cambridge

The Golden Triangle Package Tour London-Oxford-Cambridge

RM17,202
Per adult
English + Business and Leadership University Taster Program
Image for English + Business and Leadership University Taster Program

English + Business and Leadership University Taster Program

RM19,826
Per adult
London Private Layover Tour from London Stansted Airport
Image for London Private Layover Tour from London Stansted Airport

London Private Layover Tour from London Stansted Airport

RM4,087
Per adult
Private Airport Transfer from Southend Airport / Hotel / London
Image for Private Airport Transfer from Southend Airport / Hotel / London

Private Airport Transfer from Southend Airport / Hotel / London

RM213
Per adult

Reviews of Colchester

4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
56
5 - Excellent 28.8659793814433%
4 - Good
98
4 - Good 50.51546391752577%
3 - Okay
32
3 - Okay 16.49484536082474%
2 - Disappointing
7
2 - Disappointing 3.6082474226804124%
1 - Terrible
1
1 - Terrible 0.5154639175257731%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

17 Feb 2020

Colchester is a cool little place. With a fantastic history

4/5 - Good

Christine

14 Feb 2020

Got a ticket for driving in a bus lane, we were concentrating on SatNav and were unaware! Watch out when driving.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

2 Feb 2020

Plenty to do and many great places to eat

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Jan 2020

Good for food and drinks

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

16 Jan 2020

Got a really lovely meal from wetherspoons in the centre of colchester.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

7 Jan 2020

Come here for university

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