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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Browse Family events in Colchester

Child dressed as a Roman

Great Attractions For Kids

Just a selection of Colchester's child-friendly attractions...

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.

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.

Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre

Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre

Stunning 125 acre nature reserve situated on the banks of the River Colne. It has a diverse range of habitats and 8 nature watching hides The 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.

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.

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.

LW 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

Colchester's first sole-purpose trampoline park. Over 100 interconnecting trampolines create a 20,000 square foot bounce space which includes free-bounce areas, basketball nets, a foam pit and two dodgeball courts.

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.

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 Leisure World

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

Colchester Collectors

Colchester Collectors

Mon 11 Dec 2017 - Fri 29 Jun 2018

Exhibition of local people's collections at Colchester Castle

All Trees Great & Small

Castle Park Tree Tour

Mon 21 May 2018

Tree Trail of Castle Park

Secret Vintage World

Secret Vintage World

Sat 26 May 2018

Vintage Fair in The Minories Art Gallery

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

Sat 26 - Sun 27 May 2018

Family Activity at Jaywick Martello Tower

Boxted Airfield

Boxted Airfield Museum Open Day

Sun 27 May 2018

Boxted Airfield museum opens to the public

Transport Extravaganza

Transport Extravaganza

Sun 27 - Mon 28 May 2018

Bank Holiday Fun at the East Anglian Railway Museum

Fishing for Beginners

Fishing for beginners

Sun 27 May 2018

A practical course for beginners to learn the basic of water, safety, equipment, bait types and fish species. Let us know if you need to know to borrow equipment. Suitable for adults and children ages 7+

Brightlingsea Lido

Brightlingsea Lido reopens for the Summer

Mon 28 May 2018

Brightlingsea Lido reopens!

Hospital Radio Funday

Hospital Radio Colchester Fun Day

Mon 28 May 2018

Family Fair in Castle Park

Plant Stall

Village Fete

Mon 28 May 2018

A lovely old fashioned village fete

Packing Shed Open Day

Mersea Island Packing Shed Open Day

Mon 28 May 2018

Boat trips and cream teas at the Mersea Island Packing Shed

Hollytrees

Rhyme-time T-Shirts

Tue 29 May 2018

Craft event in Hollytrees Museum

Natural History Museum

Beastly Ballads

Wed 30 May 2018

Childrens activity at the Natural History Museum

Munnings Sign

Spring Bug Bonanza (5-10 year olds)

Wed 30 May 2018

Bug themed fun at the Munnings Museum

Pond Dipping

Pond Dipping

Wed 30 May 2018

Join the ranger pond dipping and find tadpoles and other friends. Afterwards make your own freshwater friend.

Nick Sharratt

Nick Sharratts Big Draw Along

Wed 30 May 2018

Acclaimed children's illustrator at the Mercury Theatre

Lion Walk Bee Event

Beehive Event

Thu 31 May - Sat 2 Jun 2018

Bee-related activities in Lion walk Shopping Centre

Colchester Castle

Uncover the Past

Thu 31 May 2018

Family activities in Colchester Castle

Cemetery Tree Trail

Tree Trail with Christopher Howard

Thu 31 May 2018

Tree Tour of Colchester Cemetery with Christopher Howard

Pop Divas

Pop Divas Live

Thu 31 May 2018

Pop tribute for kids at the Mercury Theatre

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.

Discover More Activities

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

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.

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.

Colchester Leisure World

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.

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.

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.

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street Colchester

Colchester's first sole-purpose trampoline park. Over 100 interconnecting trampolines create a 20,000 square foot bounce space which includes free-bounce areas, basketball nets, a foam pit and two dodgeball courts.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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