Culture and Heritage in Colchester

Colchester is Britain's oldest recorded town, with a colourful history dating back over two thousand years. It's a history you can share by visiting the town's award-winning museums where you can see collections of international importance.

From a Roman Temple to cutting edge 21st century design, via Victorian splendour and medieval timber frames, panoramas of beautiful buildings reflect the town's history and contemporary appeal.

As well as being the inspiration for famous English artists like 19th century landscape painter John Constable, 18th century artist Thomas Gainsborough and 20th century equestrian artist Sir Sir Alfred Munnings, the Colchester area offers cutting-edge contemporary art galleries and art cafés for you to enjoy and buy locally made art and craft.

St Botolph's Priory

If you like art, you won't have to look far to see it. In fact, Colchester is such a cultural hotspot that in September 2011 a cutting-edge multimillion-pound visual art destination - firstsite opened right in the heart of town. This new cultural attraction showcases the work of regional, national and international artists, and also houses a selection of the University of Essex's Latin American art collection.


Colchester is also a very musical town with music of most genres being performed in pubs, bars, theatres and churches. Colchester is also the home of Signal Media Arts Centre which provides media production courses. If also showcases an international short film festival in October.


Outside Colchester, art and craft can be found in several locations such as the Dedham Art & Craft Centre and Mistley Quay Workshops (with tranquil lunches and estuary views). In truth, there is always something art related on and quite often it's not even in a gallery.

Colchester has a long and interesting history below is some links to help you find out about Colchester's past.
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