Inspired Itineraries: A Car-Free Day Trip to Chappel from Colchester - Celebrating 175 Years of History!

With Colchester as your base, there are lots of great day trips you can take. One trip which is perfect for walkers and transport buffs, as well as families, is to Chappel.

Chappel is home to a stunning example of Victorian engineering, the Chappel Viaduct, and the village has plenty of beautiful green spaces to explore.

This itinerary is recommended as part of our ‘Inspired Itineraries’ collection, where we share more about what Colchester and the surrounding areas have to offer!


Taking the Train to Chappel:

Getting to Chappel & Wakes Colne is an easy and relatively straight forward journey, complete with pleasant natural sights along the way.

Start your journey at Colchester North Station and take the train to Marks Tey (approximately 5 minutes). From there, disembark but stay within the station as you’ll be switching platforms – feel free to ask a station employee for help if you’re struggling to find your way.

From Marks Tey, take the train to Chappel & Wakes Colne, which should take approximately 6 minutes. In total, with changes, the journey should take less than half an hour.

Please note: whilst this is a ‘car-free’ itinerary, Chappel & Wakes Colne is easily accessible by car, should you prefer to drive!


A train runs along the Sudbury Line towards the East Anglian Railway MuseumA train goes over the top of the Chappel Viaduct - a railway which has been serving the community for almost two centuries!


Once You Arrive:

Once you arrive, it’s time to start thinking about what you’d like to do next - this itinerary is perfect as it can be adapted to your interests and to your travel party!

As you disembark from the train, your adventure begins. About 10 minutes away from Chappel & Wakes Colne station is the Chappel Viaduct, a Victorian feat of engineering. At over 1000ft long, it’s hard to miss the viaduct – which is celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2024!

If you’re travelling with little ones, there’s a playground by the viaduct. It can get quite busy with families when the weather is nice, so you may also enjoy some supervised play in the nearby open fields.

Speaking of, if you’re looking to enjoy the greenery and the sunshine, why not take a walk around the Millennium Green? With areas set aside for wildlife, paths along the River Colne and green spaces perfect for picnicking, dog walking and kite flying, this is the perfect spot for a bright, sunny day.


Enjoy a Spot of Lunch:

A fan favourite restaurant is the Swan Inn in Chappel; with an extensive cocktail and mocktail list, Sunday roasts and a designated gluten and dairy free menu, the Swan Inn also boasts an outdoor garden area, making it a great spot for the Summer too.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a quick bite, why not visit the Platform Two Café at the East Anglian Railway Museum? Except for on some special event days, you can drop-in to the café without an admission ticket and purchase sandwiches, light lunches and sweet treats. The café has outdoor seating as well as indoor seating in an old rail dining car!


Wooden Tables sit on a lawn in a pub beer garden surrounded by greenery. A large, picturesque brick viaduct sits behind them in the middle distanceOutdoor benches at the Chappel Viaduct, boasting not only a wonderful view, but a great picnic spot.


Afternoon Activity:

To round off your journey, why not visit the East Anglian Railway Museum? Loved by train enthusiasts and casual enjoyers alike, the museum has a large collection of trains and locomotives to see, including some which are fully restored.

The East Anglian Railway Museum frequently runs special events and themed days including steam days, diesel days, days out with Thomas and even the Chappel Beer Festival in September!


A brown roadsign points towards a Railway Museum. Behind it is a main road, some picturesque houses and a large brick viaduct.A sign for the East Anglian Railway Museum.


Coming Back Home:

After you’ve finished looking around the area, it’s time to come home.

So, from Chappel, you’ll be doing the reverse of your journey out. Chappel & Wakes Colne to Marks Tey, switch platforms, and then Marks Tey to Colchester North Station. And with that, your lovely day in Chappel has drawn to a close!