Colchester For Free

Free Days Out in Colchester


Looking for some great ideas for free things to do and free places to visit in Colchester?

Here is our guide for some great free things to do, whether it’s with the kids or a group of friends, there is something for everyone.

From walks and trails to free museums, concerts and plays there's plenty for everyone to enjoy and it doesn't have to cost the earth. 

Browse our recommendations here, or follow the #ColchesterForFree hashtag on social media. you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We'd love for you to tag your favourite free activities in town too.


Colchester For Free

Free Attractions to Visit

With the exception of Colchester Castle, all the town centre's museums and art galleries are completely free to enter and explore. Discover social history in Hollytrees Museum, local wildlife in the Natural History Museum, and contemporary art in The Minories and Firstsite galleries. 

Additionally, much of the town's history and heritage, including St Botolph's Priory, St John's Abbeygate, and most of the town's Roman remains are completely free to explore. Just outside the town centre you'll also discover the Roman Circus Centre -a free visitor centre and home of Britain's only known Roman Chariot Racing track.

Be sure to check the Whats On pages to discover more opportunities to explore Colchester for free. You'll usually find plenty of additional activities as well as occasional free Open Days for attractions that are usually paid for.



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.

firstsite, photo: Richard Bryant,


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.

The Minories

The Minories Galleries

The Minories Galleries is a professional contemporary art gallery run in conjunction with Colchester School of Art & Design and Media.

Roman Circus Peter Froste CAT

Colchester Roman Circus Centre

The Colchester Roman circus (chariot-racing arena) was discovered in 2005. It was built in the early 2nd century AD and seems to have been in use for about 150 years. It is the only known Roman circus in Britain.


Dedham Art and Craft Centre

Dedham Art & Craft Centre is housed in a converted church in this popular village. The Centre exudes historic charm and is the perfect place to visit, shop and eat.

Gosbecks Archaeological Park Map

Gosbecks Archaeological Park

The Archaeological Park is one of the most significant Iron Age and Roman sites in the country. Enjoy a walk and discover the highlights of the site with the interpretation boards around the Park.

Roman Church

Roman Church

Dating from the 4th century AD the foundations of this church near the Police Station just off the Maldon Road roundabout is probably the earliest known Christian church in Britain.

St Botolph's Priory

St Botolph's Priory, Colchester

The first English Augustinian priory church, founded at the end of the eleventh century from the Anglo-Saxon minster community of Colchester. Only the ruined remains of the nave survive today, under the care of English Heritage.

St John's Abbey Gate

St John's Abbey Gate

Dating from the 15th century this fine flint flushwork gatehouse just off St John's Green has a vaulted interior. It was the entrance to St John's Abbey precinct (demolished during the 16th century Reformation).

Balkerne Gate

Roman Wall/Guard Room/Triumphal Arch

Colchester's Roman Wall is the oldest and longest surviving town wall in Britain.

Church of St Leonard's

Church of St Leonard

Traces of the English Civil War

St Martin's Church

Church of St Martin

Built from recycled Roman brick

The Great Outdoors

Colchester For Free
A walk in the countryside costs you nothing, and Colchester is surrounded by beautiful scenery from the Essex Coast to the South East, to Constable Country and the Suffolk Border to the North.

You'll also find a fantastic selction of Parks and Nature Reserves that are free for the public to explore, including the iconic Castle Park in the heart of town, the expansive High Woods Country Park to the North, and Abberton and Fingringhoe Nature Reserves, run by Essex Wildlife Trust. That's without even mentioning Essex's only designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Dedham Vale.

Free Kids Activities

Colchester For Free
Entertain the whole family with these great Free Childrens Events, and be sure to check out our Great For Kids page for more ideas.
Easter Trail

Humpty Dumpty's Easter Trail

Fri 12 - Sun 28 Apr 2019

Easter Trail around Colchester Town Centre. With prizes!

Love Trinity Street

Trinity St Summer Festival

Sun 19 May 2019

Village Fete in the Town Centre

Music & Mezze

Music & Mezze

Sun 26 May 2019

Welcome that Summer feeling and savour an exotic mezze menu at this all-day garden party in the centre of Colchester with an outdoor bar, all-day DJ's spinning worldbeat and tropical vibes

Pipes in the Park

Pipes In The Park

Sun 9 Jun 2019

Scotland comes to Colchester for the annual event in Castle Park

Young Children's Festival

Young Children's Festival

Sat 15 Jun 2019

Family Festival in Castle Park

Rowhedge Regatta

Rowhedge Regatta

Sat 22 Jun 2019

Regata Day at Rowhedge

16 Air Asslt Bde and Colchester Garrison Show 2019

16 Air Assault Brigade & Colchester Garrison Show

Sat 29 Jun 2019

The 16 Air Assault Brigade and Colchester Garrison take over Abbey Field,

Clacton Airshow

Clacton Airshow

Thu 22 - Fri 23 Aug 2019

The hugely popular airshow returns to Clacton for the 28th year.

Invasion 2019

Invasion Colchester 2019

Sat 7 Sep 2019

Colchester's annual sci-fi extravagaza returns for 2019

Please Note:

Some attractions or events may incur a parking charge or a suggested donation.