Colchester offers every visitor a huge range of great things to see and do and interesting places to visit, whatever your taste or budget. With so many activities, events, places to eat, drink & shop to choose from, you never need be at a loss for things to do in Colchester and the surrounding area.
There are plenty of attractions and activities in Colchester town centre and beyond, whether you’re looking for things to do in Colchester today or want to plan ahead and find out what’s going on when you visit.
Find your Colchester accommodation now and plan your perfect fun-packed visit to Colchester, full of great activities and unforgettable experiences.
Great places to visit in Colchester
Discover and interesting 'hands-on' perspective on the local natural environment from the Ice Age right up to today. Explore the garden trail and stag beetle exhibition, free entry.
370 acres of woodland, grassland and wetland with path network, including circular walks and easy access trail. Visitor centre and interactive displays, rangers organise a range of activities throughout the year.
Colchester Zoo is home to over 260 species set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes and are proudly listed as in the top 2 zoos in the UK as part of the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Attractions.
The Minories Galleries is a professional contemporary art gallery run in conjunction with Colchester School of Art & Design and Media.
The Bourne Valley Crafters Spring Fair at The National Trust's beautiful and historic Bourne Mill.
2.5 hectares (6 acres) of gravel, water and woodland gardens, a large modern tea room and plant nursery.
An important part of Colchester's rich history with three centuries of fascinating toys, costume and decorative arts displayed in an attractive Georgian town house from 1718.
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.
Colchester's Castle Park provides a perfect setting for a huge range of events including shows, festivals and concerts.
Colchester's Roman Wall is the oldest and longest surviving town wall in Britain.
Over 50 years ago, John Wilkin began collecting the paraphernalia of preserve making and Essex village life.
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.
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.
A highly respected regional theatre, home to the critically acclaimed Mercury Theatre Company, staging a broad mix of classic plays and new writing as well as working extensively within the local community.
Culture & Heritage
Colchester is a thriving town, proud of it's heritage which stretches back over 2000 years and looking to the future through its cutting-edge cultural venues. These worlds often collide and you will find Roman artifacts embedded in 21st century architecture, or contemporary performances played out in historic buildings.
Explore Castles and ancient ruins intertwined amongst modern art and forward-thinking theatre. No end of history, heritage, art and architecture can all be found when exploring the streets of Colchester.
Why not join a qualified guide on a walking tour of the town when you are here?
Culture and Heritage Venues
Out and About
As well as numerous parks, gardens and nature reserves, if you explore beyond the town centre you will discover The Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (known as Constable Country due to its prominance in the painter's works), and the island of Mersea, famous for its Oysters.
The flat landscape of Essex makes it ideal for walking or cycling and there are plenty of picturesque villages and lot of scenic countryside waiting to be explored.