Castle Park

Fun for Free

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.

If you want to spend a little but not break the bank, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our top things to do for underafiver

Let us know about your days out for free or under a fiver. You can also join in the fun with our #ispycolchester game.

Hollytrees in Colchester

Free Attractions to Visit

Colchester offers a wealth of free places to visit, whether you want to take in the free historical sites of the town or explore the countryside for a stroll and a picnic, we have got it all.

Take a trip out of town and explore the surrounding areas. There's always fun to be had on a beach with nearby options including Mersea and Brightlingsea. You can try your hand at crabbing, collect Oyster shells from the beach, or explore the wartime heritage at Cudmore Grove Country Park

Head out on a walk or bicycle ride, with local favourite including the Wivenhoe Trail, or the Stour Valley path. High Woods Country Park hosts regular free nature walks and has waymarked paths that lead you through the woods with glimpses of the lake and lovely views of the Colchester skyline.

If being outdoors is not for you there are plenty of free places to visit indoors. Discover one of the free museums or art galleries, or take some time to explore the beautiful architecture and history of some of the local churches.

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.

Alison Burchert - Essex based artist

Dedham Art and Craft Centre

This beautifully converted church showcases the work of over 60+ creative artisans and the buying skills of specialist retailers on its top two floors while the ground floor houses a Lifestyle Living showroom and a tearoom.

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).

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Free Events in Colchester

Holidays can be expensive, so we have compiled all of our free events into one handy listing for you. come rain or shine, there are free events for every occasion.

Summer is festival time and they are even better when they are free! So grab your sunhat and deckchair and head to Castle Park where you can enjoy the sweet music from the bandstand on a Sunday afternoon.

Browse All Free Events

Free Kids Activities

Family on Mersea Beach by Visit Essex
Entertain the whole family with these great Free Childrens Events, and be sure to check out our Great For Kids page for more ideas.

Please Note:

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