What's near Colchester?

Beyond Colchester's Town Centre

The Borough of Colchester stretches well beyond the town centre, and a longer stay means that you are ideally based to explore the surrounding area.

With the town positioned on the Essex/Suffolk border you are also ideally positioned to explore both counties, with towns including Maldon, Clacton-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea, Harwich, Ipswich, Sudbury, Lavenham and Chelmsford all within a 45 minute drive of the town centre.

Discover the rural charm of the villages and small towns alongside the coast and countryside of East Anglia.

Waterfront & Coast

Mersea Island
Mersea Island
  • Follow the River Colne out to sea by walking the Town to Sea Trail from Colchester Town Centre through the historic Hythe port, and on towards the village of Wivenhoe and the Colne estuary.

  • Head for the coast on Mersea Island, from the wild natural beaches on the East of the Island, past holiday camps and painted beach huts as you head west until you reach the fisheries, sailing boats, and quaint town of West Mersea at the opposite tip of the Island.

  • Take a breath of exhilarating sea air at a seaside resort by meandering out of Colchester into the Tendring peninsula: discover Brightlingsea, where the River Colne reaches the sea, and Frinton-on-Sea, wonderful for a Sunday stroll along the promenade to Walton-on-the-Naze, or nearby Clacton-on-Sea with its pier packed full of fun.

Countryside and Villages

Explore the beautiful Dedham Vale and Stour Valley and discover Constable Country, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty perfect for a walk through inspirational English countryside.

Discover the Chappel Viaduct, a victorian railway viaduct cutting across the peaceful Colne Valley.

Amble along tiny lanes beside patchwork fields that weave across the Essex/Suffolk border to discover East Bergholt, Kersey, Hadleigh, Lavenham and Sudbury.

Visit Manningtree, England's smallest town, and Maldon famous for its culinary sea salt and Thames Barges. Perhaps combine with a trip to Braintree Shopping Village for a few bargains en-route, and a stop off in Tiptree - home of the internationally renowned Wilkin & Sons jam.

Chappel Viaduct
Chappel Viaduct

Dedham Vale

Dedham Vale by Visit Essex

The Dedham Vale has the official status of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is perfect for cycling and walking, and this is the proper way to really appreciate Constable's landscapes. Delight in discovering this quintessential English countryside at a more relaxed pace, the way that Constable himself did by taking The Painters' Trail, a cycle route taking in scenes and skies so favoured by some of Britain's leading artists.

To help keep the area special and the traffic noises at a low, public transport is the best way to get to Dedham. For an ideal journey, we recommend taking the train from Colchester to Manningtree, then walking across the beautiful landscape, and finally stopping off for a well-deserved break in Dedham town.

Visiting Constable Country


Historic Houses & Gardens

Layer Marney Tower
Layer Marney Tower

Surrounding Colchester you will discover elegant historic houses and impressive gardens and grounds with a wealth of stories to tell and beautiful sights to see. 

Explore the beautiful Tudor gatehouse that is Layer Marney Tower, or Paycocke's House, an attractive timbered merchant's house, and wonder around the breathtaking grounds of Marks Hall Gardens.   

Garden enthusiasts must visit the unmissbale Beth Chatto Gardens, and nearby Green Island Gardens.

Walks and Bike Rides

Walks in Colchester

There are plenty of great walks and cycle routes around, whether you are looking for an afternoon stroll, or a cross-country bike-ride. The Colchester Visitor Information Centre in Hollytrees Museum has walking and cycling maps and can help you to plan routes and journeys through the area.

Make sure you make the most of the area and discover Colchester - beyond the town!


Walks in Colchester

Cycling through Dedham. Photo: Visit Essex
Cycling in Dedham

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