Things to See & Do in Colchester

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

firstsite, photo: Richard Bryant,


A spectacular new venue for contemporary visual arts, firstsite offers a changing programme of exhibitions by international artists, creative events and activities for the whole family, plus talks, films, workshops and more. Entry is free.

The Minories

The Minories Galleries

The Minories Galleries is a professional contemporary art gallery run in conjunction with Colchester School of Art & Design and Media.

Balkerne Gate

Roman Wall/Guard Room/Triumphal Arch

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

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.

Castle Park and Gardens

Castle Park

Colchester's Castle Park provides a perfect setting for a huge range of events including shows, festivals and concerts.

Hollytrees Museum

Hollytrees Museum

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.

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.

Beth Chatto Gardens

Beth Chatto Gardens

2.5 hectares (6 acres) of gravel, water and woodland gardens, a large modern tea room and plant nursery.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

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.

Wilkin and Sons

Wilkin and Sons Ltd

Over 50 years ago, John Wilkin began collecting the paraphernalia of preserve making and Essex village life.

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.

Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre

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.

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo

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.

High Woods Country Park

High Woods Country Park

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.

Bourne Mill

The Bourne Valley Crafters Spring Fair at The National Trust's beautiful and historic Bourne Mill.

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?

More Culture & Heritage

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.

Learn more about Surrounding Areas

Places to go outdoors

Watch Our Videos

A Family Day Out

A young family explore the zoo and a trampoline park before seeing what the Castle and its grounds has to offer.

A Weekend Retreat

After checking in at their hotel, this professional couple explore Constable Country, then relax with a spot of shopping and dinner on the waterfront.

A Friends Weekend Away

Three friends take the train to Colchester and explore the town centre, take in some culture and enjoy a spot of shopping. A play in the evening caps off an exhausting weekend.

Join in with #ispycolchester

I Spy 7 Wonders

What do you spy?

Whilst you are exploring Colchester, join in with our Instagram Competition #ispycolchester.

Simply snap some photos of the town and post them on instagram with the competition tag. Every month we pick a winner, with fabulous prizes on offer.

Learn more about #ispycolchester

The information on our site has been supplied by third parties. Colchester Borough Council will not be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of inaccuracy or error within these pages. We advise you contact the venue/event organiser in advance of your visit.