Things to do in Colchester with Kids

Colchester is a town full of child-friendly venues, and has a fantastic selection of children and family events running throughout the year. From pre-schoolers to teenagers there's always something to keep the children entertained (and plenty to do that adults can secretly enjoy as well) making it the perfect destination for a family day out - or even a longer stay.

With a zoo and a castle, you'll find plenty to spark a child's imagination. You can discover local beaches and wildlife parks, as well as a range of fantastic activities for wet weather days including a roller rink, trampoline park, and leisure pool.

Visit during the school holidays and you'll find a special programme of events put on by many of our best attractions, and there's always something available to do for free so a visit needn't break the bank.

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Child dressed as a Roman
Jump Street

Great Attractions For Kids

Just a selection of Colchester's child-friendly 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.

Layer Marney Tower

Layer Marney Tower

Magnificent Tudor building with the tallest Gatehouse in Britain and 16th century Italianate terracotta. Climb the tower, visit the gardens, outbuildings dolls house, church and farm animals. Cafe and shop.

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.

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.

Gnome Magic

Gnome Magic

Gnome Magic is an unusual treat. Enjoy the delightful garden which blends into an amazing wood where the growing number of 500 gnomes and their friends live. Guaranteed to bring a little sunshine.

Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre

Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre

Centre run by the Essex Wildlife Trust in partnership with Essex & Suffolk Water, at a sight of international importance for winter wildfowl. Nature trails, bird hides, events & shop selling refreshments, gifts, optics & books.

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.

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.

Leisure World Colchester

Leisure Centre

Leisure World Colchester is one of East Anglia's largest sports, leisure, recreation and entertainment venues and offers year round fun for all the family. The leisure pool includes outside river rapids ride, water cannons and flumes.

Rollerworld

Rollerworld

Rollerworld - internationally recognised as the finest roller-skating rink in Europe. Rollerworld has got the lot! 25m x 50m maple floor, spectacular sound and light show.

Leisure World Tiptree

Leisure World Tiptree

Leisure World Tiptree provides a range of facilities and activities that is both unique and extensive for all ages and abilities. It offers a fitness centre, sports halls, aerobic workout classes, 3 generation artificial pitch.

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street trampoline parks offer jump sessions in Essex, suitable for both adults & children. Jump Street is based both in Colchester & in Chelmsford, also offering adult fitness classes, toddler sessions, special needs support sessions.

firstsite, photo: Richard Bryant, arcaidimages.com

Firstsite

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.

Cudmore Grove Country Park

Cudmore Grove Country Park

Cudmore Grove offers visitors a trip to the seaside with a difference at the eastern tip of Mersea Island. The park includes a sandy beach and open grassland, perfect for picnics and great views.

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.

Mighty Claws Adventure Golf

Mighty Claws Adventure Golf

Mighty Claws Adventure Golf : A Roman Ruckus offers 18-holes of ferociously good fun for all the family. Roarsome!

Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre

Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre

Stunning 200 acre nature reserve situated on the banks of the River Colne. Visitor centre includes gift shop, tearoom, toilets and baby changing facilities.

East Anglian Railway Museum

East Anglian Railway Museum

Celebrating the changing role of railways in the Eastern Counties since they arrived in the early 19th Century, through their glory days of the early 20th Century to the disappearances of the Beeching era.

Our Child-Friendly picks.

Colchester Museums

Hollytrees Educational Visit
Take your pick from Colchester Natural History Museum, Hollytrees Museum or Colchester Castle Museum - all are fun places to visit at any time of the year.

You'll discover plenty of hands-on activities from the cases of toys in Hollytrees to the opportunity to ride a Roman Chariot in Colchester Castle. Be sure to check for any special events that are happening too.

Colchester Zoo

Leopard at Colchester Zoo. Photo: Scott Davey
As if a day wandering around the expansive zoo grounds wasn't enough, Colchester Zoo offers a world of fantastic experiences. Touch an elephant, feed a giraffe, or stroke a snake. Take a seat for wildlife shows as some of the zoo's residents get their daily exercise, and enjoy the interactive displays.

If you need a break from the animals the zoo also offers a fantastic outdoor adventure playground, and indoor soft play area.

Colchester United

Colchester United
Colchester United were the English Football League's family club of the year in 2015, and continue to offer great value and memorable experience for all ages.

Children under 11 are able to attend games for free, and sit in the family-friendly East Stand. The club are also happy to welcome first-timers with messages in the programme and on the big screen, as well as offering packages for Birthdays and opportunities to be a club mascot.


Family & Kids Events in Colchester

Join in with the fun with children’s events in Colchester. You will discover regular arts & craft events, film screenings, museum activities and wildlife workshops, as well as exciting festivals and shows happening during half term and school holidays.

If you can't find what you're looking for, get in touch with us at the Visitor Information Centre as there are many community activity groups in Colchester hosting regular sessions especially for children and young people that we can help put you in touch with. 

Visit our What's On page for special events listings focussing on the school holidays, and follow us on Twitter for regular and up-to-date information.

Browse Kids Events in Colchester

Sherlock Bones

Sherlock Bones

Thu 25 Oct 2018 - Fri 25 Oct 2019

Family Activity in Colchester Castle

Hootingly Good Show

Hootingly Good Show

Thu 15 Nov 2018

Join Essex Wildlife Trust and Imperial Bird of Prey Academy for a talk about owls on Thursday 15th November.

Essex Christmas Festival

Essex Christmas Festival

Sat 17 - Sun 18 Nov 2018

a Christmas Country Show at Crowne Plaza, Five Lakes Hotel

Tiddlers2Wigglers

Tiddlers2Wigglers

Sat 17 Nov 2018

Pre-loved baby/maternity clothing toys and equipment sale up to the age of 5

Stargazing

Stargazing

Sat 17 Nov 2018

Join Essex Wildlife Trust and North Essex Astronomical Society to look at the night sky through large telescopes.

Roman Roadsters

Roman Roadsters Monthly Gathering

Sun 18 Nov 2018

Classic Cars by the TS Colne Lightship

Christmas Handmade Craft Fair

Christmas Handmade Craft Fair

Sun 18 Nov 2018

Come and support our local makers & artists who wlll be selling their unique items and gifts for Christmas.

England Logo

England U20s v Germany U20s

Mon 19 Nov 2018

England U20s International fixture at the Jobserve Community Stadium

Starlight Nights

Christmas Starlight Nights

Sat 24 Nov 2018

Festive fun at Colchester Zoo

Jack And The Beanstalk

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

Sat 24 Nov 2018 - Sun 20 Jan 2019

The Mercury panto is back, and this year it’s bigger and better than ever.

Colchester Christmas Lights

Christmas Light Switch-On

Sun 25 Nov 2018

Christmas Light switch-on in Colchester

Starlight Nights

Christmas Starlight Nights

Sat 1 Dec 2018

Festive fun at Colchester Zoo

Christmas Carols

Christmas Carols

Sat 1 Dec 2018

Get ready for the excitement of Christmas with a choir of former members of the famous chapel choirs of Cambridge University!

Colchester Castle

Relaxed Opening at Colchester Castle

Sun 2 Dec 2018

An opportunity to explore the Castle with minimal sensory stimulation

Christmas Crib Festival

Christmas Crib Festival

Fri 7 - Sun 9 Dec 2018

Christmas Cribs from all over the world on display. Crafts and light refreshments

Starlight Nights

Christmas Starlight Nights

Sat 8 Dec 2018

Festive fun at Colchester Zoo

Santa's Grotto

Santa’s Castle Grotto

Sat 8 Dec 2018 - Mon 9 Dec 2019

Father Christmas visits Colchester Castle

Thomas

Festive Day Out With Thomas

Sun 9 Dec 2018

Fun for all the family.

Colchester Castle at Christmas

Christmas Open Evening @ Colchester Castle

Wed 12 Dec 2018

Free Open Evening at Colchester Castle

Starlight Nights

Christmas Starlight Nights

Sat 15 Dec 2018

Festive fun at Colchester Zoo

Outdoors and Wildlife

Exploring Colchester can be a real adventure for all the family. Stretch your legs and mind whilst discovering the area's history, heritage and wildlife.

Discover nature reserves, woodland, playgrounds, parks, gardens and sandy beaches. Embark on one of our recommended walks, or explore for yourself.

At weekends and school holidays you can find great activities for the children, or just let them run wild. Having great fun doesn't have to cost the earth.

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Wet Weather Ideas

Bad weather needn't put a dampener on your trip to Colchester. You'll find plenty to do under cover, sometime in the least likely of locations!

In the town centre, all the musuems and art galleries are child-friendly and within two minutes walk of each other. Most are also free entry. Perhaps you could catch a kids show at the Theatre or Arts centre too?

Colchester Zoo has a special 'duck under cover' route, keeping you dry and indoors (where many of the animals will be sheltering too)

Or if you've really been stuck indoors too long, burn off some energy at an indoor activity centre - take your pick from Leisure World, Rollerworld, Jump Street, or a Soft Play centre.

Great Venues in Bad Weather

firstsite, photo: Richard Bryant, arcaidimages.com

Firstsite

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.

Leisure World Colchester

Leisure World Colchester

Leisure World Colchester is one of East Anglia's largest sports, leisure, recreation and entertainment venues and offers year round fun for all the family. The leisure pool includes outside river rapids ride, water cannons and flumes.

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.

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.

Go Bananas Tiny Town

Go Bananas

Go Bananas is one of the largest indoor adventure play centres in the South East of England with over 20 years of experience in entertaining children and Adults.

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.

Rollerworld

Rollerworld

Rollerworld - internationally recognised as the finest roller-skating rink in Europe. Rollerworld has got the lot! 25m x 50m maple floor, spectacular sound and light show.

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.

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street trampoline parks offer jump sessions in Essex, suitable for both adults & children. Jump Street is based both in Colchester & in Chelmsford, also offering adult fitness classes, toddler sessions, special needs support sessions.

Colchester Arts Centre

Colchester Arts Centre

The home of live music, comedy, theatre, poetry, dance, children's shows, clubs, farmer's markets, gigs and more.

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.

More Great Kids Activites

A Family Day Out in Colchester

Explore Colchester Museums

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