Colchester For Free

Free Days Out in Colchester

#ColchesterForFree

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. Remember to look out for Heritage Open Day in September too when some of the town's biggest attractions will open their doors and lay on special events for free.

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, 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).

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 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 and activities 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

Merville Battery Display

Essex’s airborne history celebrated

Mon 4 Jun - Sun 30 Sep 2018

WW2 exhibition at Colchester Library

Bishops Bridge, John Maddison

John Maddison

Sat 1 - Sun 30 Sep 2018

John Maddison art exhibition at Chappel Galleries

Art 4 U

ART4U Presents ANTIFRIEZE #1

Sat 8 - Sat 29 Sep 2018

New Art exhibition hosted at The Minories Gallery

The Coastal Open

Coastal Open

Fri 21 Sep - Sun 28 Oct 2018

The Coastal Open is a celebration of local artists, giving a chance to display their talent in arts and crafts. It gives an opportunity to demonstrate what inspires them about their community, environment and heritage through their artwork.

Bazaar

Bazaar | Art & Food Market

Sat 22 Sep 2018

Art & Food Market in Firstsite

Park Run

Mersea Island Park Run

Sat 22 Sep 2018

Park Run in Cudmore Grove

Legacy

Legacy: Two works on hope and memory

Sat 22 Sep 2018 - Sun 6 Jan 2019

Art Exhibition at Firstsite

Ardleigh Open Studios

Ardleigh Open Studios

Sat 22 - Sun 23 Sep 2018

Ardleigh Studios were set up three years ago. They provide workspace for over 30 visual artists including painters, sculptors, and designer makers. Open Studios is an opportunity for visitors to meet them and see what they do!

Colchester in the great war

Colchester 1918: The Countdown to Armistice

Sat 22 Sep 2018

Historical Talk at Red Lion Books

Birding

Autumn Equinox Bird Day

Sun 23 Sep 2018

Birding Day at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve

Venison sausage rolls from Truly Traceable

Lavenham Farmers Market

Sun 23 Sep 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

Pantomime Horse Derby Day

Pantomime Horse Derby Day

Sun 23 Sep 2018

Pantomime Horses ( and other animals!) racing up Colchester High Street

Sunday Stroll

Sunday Stroll

Sun 23 Sep 2018

Regular walk at High Woods Country Park

Castle Park Bandstand

Castle Pk Bandstand: Colchester Accordian Showband

Sun 23 Sep 2018

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

Caroline Walker: Home

Caroline Walker: Home

Thu 27 Sep - Sat 3 Nov 2018

Caroline Walker's ambitious and compelling large-scale paintings of refugee women in London.

Imran Perretta: 15 days

Imran Perretta: 15 days

Thu 27 Sep - Sat 3 Nov 2018

Imran Perretta's ’15 days’ is inspired by the time that the artist spent in Calais with former inhabitants of the refugee camp known as the Jungle, who are now living in surrounding woodland.

Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders

Fri 28 Sep - Sat 13 Oct 2018

Daniel Defoe's classic novel, unfaithfully adapted for the stage.

Fruit and Vegetables

Sudbury Farmers Market

Fri 28 Sep 2018

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

Friday Health Walk

Friday Health Walk

Fri 28 Sep 2018

Regular walk at High Woods Country Park

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.
Pantomime Horse Derby Day

Pantomime Horse Derby Day

Sun 23 Sep 2018

Pantomime Horses ( and other animals!) racing up Colchester High Street

Castle Park Bandstand

Castle Pk Bandstand: Colchester Accordian Showband

Sun 23 Sep 2018

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

Apple Day

Apple Day hosted as part of National Organic Month

Sat 29 Sep 2018

Free Family activity day at High Woods Country Park's Big Garden

Open Day

Wivenhoe Sailing Club Open Day

Sat 29 Sep 2018

Take a look around Wivenhoe Saililng Club

Christmas Handmade Craft Fair

Christmas Handmade Craft Fair

Sun 18 Nov 2018

Come and support our local makers & artists who wlll be selling their unique items and gifts for Christmas.

Colchester Castle at Christmas

Christmas Open Evening @ Colchester Castle

Wed 12 Dec 2018 - Thu 12 Dec 2019

Free Open Evening at Colchester Castle

Please Note:


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