Historic Colchester

Explore 2000 years of history

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.

Historic Places to Visit

Colchester Castle Museum

Colchester Castle Museum

Colchester Castle is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. Constructed on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius. The Castle Museum today reveals many fascinating layers of history to visitors.

St Botolph's Priory

St Botolph's Priory, Colchester

The first English Augustinian priory church, founded at the end of the eleventh century from the Anglo-Saxon minster community of Colchester. Only the ruined remains of the nave survive today, under the care of English Heritage.

St Martin's Church

Church of St Martin

Built from recycled Roman brick

Balkerne Gate

Roman Wall/Guard Room/Triumphal Arch

Colchester's Roman Wall is the oldest and longest surviving town wall in Britain.

Gosbecks Archaeological Park Map

Gosbecks Archaeological Park

The Archaeological Park is one of the most significant Iron Age and Roman sites in the country. Enjoy a walk and discover the highlights of the site with the interpretation boards around the Park.

Roman Theatre

Roman Theatre

The remains of the Roman theatre in the town centre can best be seen in Maidenburgh Street in the Dutch Quarter. Look for the darker paving in the road showing the outline of the theatre's walls.

St John's Abbey Gate

St John's Abbey Gate

Dating from the 15th century this fine flint flushwork gatehouse just off St John's Green has a vaulted interior. It was the entrance to St John's Abbey precinct (demolished during the 16th century Reformation).

Dutch Quarter

Dutch Quarter

Located just north of the High Street and includes: Maidenburgh Street, West Stockwell Street, East Stockwell Street, Stockwell Street, St Helen's Lane, Northgate Street and Nunn's Road.

Roman Circus Peter Froste CAT

Colchester Roman circus centre

The Colchester Roman circus (chariot-racing arena) was discovered in 2005. It was built in the early 2nd century AD and seems to have been in use for about 150 years. It is the only known Roman circus in Britain.

Roman Church

Roman Church

Dating from the 4th century AD the foundations of this church near the Police Station just off the Maldon Road roundabout is probably the earliest known Christian church in Britain.

Explore Colchester Museums

Children playing in Colchester Castle Museum

Visit Museums in Colchester such as: