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.

Browse All Attractions

Browse Family events in Colchester

Child dressed as a Roman
Jump Street

Great Attractions For Kids

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

Santa Grotto

Santa is coming to Fenwick

Sat 1 - Mon 24 Dec 2018

Santa is taking time out of his busy schedule to bring his festive grotto to Fenwick Colchester this December.

Aladdin

Aladdin

Wed 5 - Sun 9 Dec 2018

Fast-moving, up to date telling of the traditional story. Will contain loud noises, flashes and smoke.

Colchester Christmas Treasure Quest

Colchester Christmas Treasure Quest

Fri 7 Dec 2018 - Sun 13 Jan 2019

A thrilling treasure quest around the town centre. Crack codes, solve riddles and visit the town to uncover the location of the hidden "treasure" with a prize of £250 for the lucky entrant who gets it correct. Family friendly fun.

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.

Xmas Market

Colchester High Street Christmas Market

Sun 9 Dec 2018

Colchester High Street is closed to traffic for this year's Christmas MArket

Starlight Nights

Christmas Starlight Nights

Sat 15 Dec 2018

Festive fun at Colchester Zoo

Thomas

Festive Day Out With Thomas

Sat 15 - Sun 16 Dec 2018

Fun for all the family.

The Magic of Christmas

Magic of Christmas

Sat 15 - Mon 24 Dec 2018

Festive fun at Colchester Zoo

Santa's Grotto

Santa’s Castle Grotto

Sat 15 - Sun 16 Dec 2018

Father Christmas visits Colchester Castle

Darth Vader's Galactic Grotto

Darth Vader's Galactic Grotto 2018

Sat 15 Dec 2018

Darth Vader has felt your presents, at Ace Comics.

Roman Roadsters

Roman Roadsters Monthly Gathering

Sun 16 Dec 2018

Classic Cars by the TS Colne Lightship

Christmas Extravaganza

Christmas Extravaganza

Mon 17 - Wed 19 Dec 2018

Variety show with Live music, Stand-up comedy, Juggling, LED hoop display, Fantail fantasia, Fire show, whip cracking + more from local, National and international Talent

Santa's Grotto

Santa’s Castle Grotto

Thu 20 - Sun 23 Dec 2018

Father Christmas visits Colchester Castle

Signals Media

Minecraft Hack 9+years

Thu 20 Dec 2018

Discover a world of Minecraft

Christmas Wreath Making

Woodland Wreath Making

Thu 20 Dec 2018

Suitable for ages 4+ years

Medieval Archery

Medieval Archery

Fri 21 Dec 2018 - Sat 21 Dec 2019

Archery at Colchester Castle

Signals Media

Christmas Claymotion 7+years

Fri 21 Dec 2018

Get into the spirit of CHRISTMAS

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

More Great Kids Activites

A Family Day Out in Colchester

Explore Colchester Museums

More Things to do in Colchester

Cow in river at Dedham Vale
Wildlife and Green Spaces