Castle Park

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.

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, 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.

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.

Firedrake

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).

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

Bronze Age

BRONZE AGE c. 3500 BC – AD 2018

Sat 17 Mar - Sun 28 Oct 2018

Art Exhibition at Firstsite

The Britishness Project

The Britishness Project

Sat 17 Mar - Sun 17 Jun 2018

Art Exhibition at Firstsite

Lata Upadhyaya

Lata Upadhyaya | Transit: Identity of a White Van

Sat 12 May - Sun 17 Jun 2018

Art Exhibition at Firstsite

All Trees Great & Small

Castle Park Tree Tour

Mon 21 May 2018

Tree Trail of Castle Park

St Mary's Church

Stoke-by-Nayland Art Exhibition

Wed 23 - Tue 29 May 2018

Annual Art Exhibition in Stoke-By-Nayland

POP 2018 Banner

Producing on Purpose 2018 - Colchester

Thu 24 May 2018

‘POP’ is ETK's roadshow. We'll be sharing successful experiences that our clients have had in their chosen markets. Get creative, innovative & strategic ideas for your products & service to make them market ready with ETK at this event.

Fruit and Vegetables

Sudbury Farmers Market

Fri 25 May 2018

Sudbury Farmers' Market is one of the best town centre farmers' markets in Suffolk, attracting hundreds of shoppers through the doors every month.

Colchester Morris Men dance at The Alma, Copford

Colchester Morris Men

Fri 25 May 2018

Colchester Morris Men dance at The Alma, Copford

Bazaar

Bazaar | Art & Food Market

Sat 26 May 2018

Art & Food Market in Firstsite

Greystock

Greystock Music Festival

Sat 26 - Sun 27 May 2018

Music Festival in Wivenhoe

Park Run

Mersea Island Park Run

Sat 26 May 2018

Park Run in Cudmore Grove

Park Run

Colchester Park Run

Sat 26 May 2018

Colchester's weekly Park Run.

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

Sat 26 - Sun 27 May 2018

Family Activity at Jaywick Martello Tower

Mersea Island Food, Drink & Leisure Festival

Mersea Island Food, Drink & Leisure Festival

Sat 26 - Sun 27 May 2018

Savour the Flavour of Island Life! Grand Draw for your chance to win £250!

Venison sausage rolls from Truly Traceable

Lavenham Farmers Market

Sun 27 May 2018

Winner of the 2015 Best Food Market in Suffolk: BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards Best Market in Suffolk: EADT 2012 Food & Drink Awards

Castle Park Bandstand

Castle Park Bandstand: Abbeygate Concert Band

Sun 27 May 2018

Free Bandstand concert on the Victorian Bandstand in Colchester's Castle Park

Our Hero, SideKick and Villain!

Student Games Design Exhibition

Wed 30 - Thu 31 May 2018

Students from the Level 3 Interactive Media and Games course at Colchester Institute are pleased to present their final projects in this pop-up exhibition at Firstsite.

Lion Walk Bee Event

Beehive Event

Thu 31 May - Sat 2 Jun 2018

Bee-related activities in Lion walk Shopping Centre

Summer Cinema Plus

Summer Cinema

Thu 31 May - Sat 2 Jun 2018

Cinema plus.. all events incl in ticket price; Gnomeo & Juliet Film with Family disco, Grease Film with themed afterparty till 01.30! Secret Garden Film with open garden / games. Pride & Prejudice open garden under stars and firepit!

Cemetery Tree Trail

Tree Trail with Christopher Howard

Thu 31 May 2018

Tree Tour of Colchester Cemetery with Christopher Howard

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.
All Trees Great & Small

Castle Park Tree Tour

Mon 21 May 2018

Tree Trail of Castle Park

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

Sat 26 - Sun 27 May 2018

Family Activity at Jaywick Martello Tower

Lion Walk Bee Event

Beehive Event

Thu 31 May - Sat 2 Jun 2018

Bee-related activities in Lion walk Shopping Centre

Cemetery Tree Trail

Tree Trail with Christopher Howard

Thu 31 May 2018

Tree Tour of Colchester Cemetery with Christopher Howard

Fire Station Open Day

Colchester Fire Station Open Day

Sat 2 Jun 2018

Open Day at Colchester Fire Station

St Botolph's Priory

Picnic in the Priory

Sat 2 Jun 2018

Fun Day in St Botolph's Priory

Gun Battery

HM The Queen's Birthday Royal Gun Salute

Sat 9 Jun 2018

A 21-gun Royal Gun Salute to mark HM The Queen's Official Birthday in Lower Castle Park. Spectator viewing from the Upper Park.

Pipes In The Park

Pipes In The Park

Sun 10 Jun 2018

Scottish Fair in Castle Park

Young Childrens Festival

Young Children's Festival

Sat 16 Jun 2018

Family Fair in Castle Park

Colne Lightship

Cars on the Colne

Sun 17 Jun 2018

Classic Car show and lightship open morning

High Woods Country Park Wild Walk

Highwoods Country Park Wild Walk

Sat 23 Jun 2018

Join Colchester Natural History Society looking at plants, birds,insects and anyother wildlife on this pleasant walk through the park. Bring a packed lunch

Fire Station Open Day

Tiptree Fire Station Open Day

Sat 30 Jun 2018

Open Day at Tiptree Fire Station

Summer Screen

Summer Screen: Live Wimbledon Screenings

Mon 2 - Sun 15 Jul 2018

Live Tennis on a big screen in Castle Park

Big Sunday

Big Sunday

Sun 8 Jul 2018

A town-wide free festival of music, dance, food and more.

Colchester United Open Day

Colchester United Open Day

Sun 15 Jul 2018

Colchester United's Annual Open Day returns to the stadium

Fire Station Open Day

West Mersea Fire Station Open Day

Sat 21 Jul 2018

A summer fire station open day.

Natural History Museum

Fantastic Fossils

Wed 8 Aug 2018

Childrens activity at the Natural History Museum

Colchester Castle

Heritage Open Day at Colchester Castle

Sat 8 Sep 2018

Heritage Open Day at Colchester Castle

Please Note:


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