Born on 27th June 1923 to a family who already loved gardening, it was only a matter of time before Beth Chatto became one of the most esteemed names in the gardening industry. Known for her lectures, demonstrations and publications, Beth Chatto was born just minutes from and attended school in Colchester, making her a true local icon.

With the anniversary of her birthday quickly approaching, what better way to share Chatto’s passion for the outdoors than with a trip to some of Colchester’s green spaces? Keep reading to learn more about some of our wonderful offerings.

Castle Park

Frequently featuring three-dimensional flower displays, Castle Park is tended to by a dedicated team, who also maintain the beautiful flowers around the park.

Castle Park is home to Colchester Castle, Hollytrees Museum and the Colchester Bandstand, and is also a stone’s throw from the city’s High Street – so is perfect for combining with a shopping day or a visit to some of the city’s most historic attractions!

Colourful flowers in Upper Castle Park on a sunny day.

Some of the beautiful flowers on display in Castle Park. The displays rotate throughout the year.

High Woods Country Park

Colchester has several wonderful green spaces and local parks, including High Woods Country Park. Bluebells flower in the Spring, and wildflower meadows brighten the landscape in the warmer months.

The park is also home to thousands of different birds and mammals, and open spaces – perfect for a picnic on warmer days! Whether you’re looking for marshes, meadows, hayfields or scrubland, High Woods Country Park has something for every interest. Be sure to visit the park’s lake too!

Beth Chatto’s Plants and Gardens

Of course, we couldn’t share a post about outdoors spaces without mentioning Beth Chatto herself!

With 7.5 acres of garden and multiple themed gardens (including woodland, water and scree gardens), a trip to the Beth Chatto Gardens is the perfect way to spend the day for garden enthusiasts and plantspeople.

The Beth Chatto Gardens recently celebrated their 60th anniversary, and continue to offer workshops and courses as part of the Beth Chatto Education Trust’s offerings. The attraction also offers plants and garden accessories for purchase.

Leafy Beth Chatto Gardens with a boat on the lakeA boat on the lake at Beth Chatto Plants and Gardens.

Dedham Vale

Reconnect with nature in this beautiful village, approximately 20 minutes from Colchester.

A particular favourite of esteemed artist John Constable, Dedham Vale is part of Constable Country. Featuring meadows, village lanes and paths flanking the River Stour, Dedham Vale is especially popular in the summer months for its boat hire, which is loved by locals and visitors alike.

If, however, you’d prefer to keep your feet closer to the ground, walks alongside the River Stour and Dedham Mill are popular, with an easy to moderate difficulty and existing footpaths.

A couple are rowing a boat down a river in the picturesque countrysideA couple row a boat down the River Stour in Dedham.

There are plenty of other wonderful green spaces and gardens near Colchester, including Green Island Gardens, Markshall Estate and Perrywood Garden Centre. No matter where you're staying in the city, you won't be far from excellent outdoor adventures!