Purple Flag Award for Colchester

Colchester after dark

Colchester town centre is a great place to visit in the evening and after dark and has had Purple Flag accreditation since 2013. Whether you want to have a good laugh at the latest from the Edinburgh Fringe or try top touring theatre or watch films or listen to live music Colchester has it all. And it’s easy to enjoy too with great evening parking offers in Council car parks.

The town has a growing reputation for great places to eat. You can eat in the former cells of the Magistrates’ Court, appreciate fine dining in one of the town’s new restaurants and even have late night cake and coffee in the High Street. Families are welcome too with a great range of family restaurants to enjoy perhaps after a film.

Both ends of town have cinemas. With live screening of ballet and opera and holiday family films at Firstsite and all the blockbusters at the Odeon there’s always something to watch. And for two weeks in the Summer Castle Park becomes a film venue with an outdoor big screen – bring a picnic!

There are three theatres in the town centre: The Mercury Theatre an award-winning Repertory theatre, the Colchester Arts Centre great for gigs, performance and comedy and The Headgate amateur theatre. If live music is more your thing then The Bull and several bars have regular gigs.

Travel a little further and you can chill at a waterside pub, trendy village bistro or picnic beneath the stars.

What is the Purple Flag Award?

Purple Flag is a national award for excellence in managing the evening and night time economy.Colchester was first awarded this prestigious award in 2013.

Purple Flag accreditation is a great way to encourage all the services, venues and premises involved to work even closer together improve the experience of the town centre after dark. Just as Blue Flag is an indicator of a good beach, Purple Flag is the indicator of where to go for a good night out!

Purple Flag Award for excelling in managing the evening & night-time economy

There are five themes under Purple Flag and importantly it’s improvement on all five themes which ensure people have a great time. Places have to evidence improvement on all five themes to be awarded the flag.

  • Wellbeing - How safety issues are addressed, regulations that are in place and the perceptions of local people.
  • Movement - How transport works, parking, pedestrian routes. how crowds are managed and information available.
  • Policy - How local data is collected and used, coordination between local partners and the inclusion of the local community.
  • Appeal - The choice of different activities on offer including a wide range of bars, restaurants, shops and public buildings.
  • Place - The layout of the city centre looking at its design, identity and range of local activities.

Purple Flag has been a real driver of improvement in Colchester’s town centre after dark and continues to be so. Here are just some examples of the way the many partners involved are working hard to ensure that you have a great time here.

Colchester has an SOS Bus team which works with Street Pastors, the Police, venue doorstaff, taxi marshals and the CCTV team to ensure that the town is well managed and that people are well looked after. Not so obvious perhaps is the fact that all premises selling food have hygiene inspections under the Scores on the Doors scheme

There are also a good number of taxis around but be sure book early as they do get busy especially in the early hours. If driving all Council and two NCP owned car parks have Park Mark status. Park Mark accreditation is awarded to car parks vetted by the Police which has measures in place to create a safer environment for users and their vehicles. If you’re on foot the town has several examples of landmark architecture which serve both as orientation points as well as enhancing the town centre aesthetically. Examples include: the ‘Jumbo’ water tower at the western end, the Roman wall, the Town Hall centrally in the High Street and the Castle in Castle Park and Firstsite Gallery in the east.

Find out What's On in Colchester and plan your short break. If you need specific advice the friendly team at the VisitColchester Information Centre will be happy to help.

Tel: 01206 282920,

Email: vic@colchester.gov.uk