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

Scott King, Britlin's Frigg

Scott King: A New Life in Frigg

Sat 16 Jun - Sun 2 Sep 2018

Art Exhibition at Firstsite

Windrush Exhibition

Windrush 70th Anniversary Exhibition

Sat 23 Jun - Sun 22 Jul 2018

A sound and art site specific installation that recorded the stories of ten local Caribbean elders from the Windrush generation from Essex. Ten limited-edition photo etchings by artist EVEWRIGHT will also be on display.

The Art of Remaking

Play It Again: The Art of Remaking

Sat 30 Jun - Sun 16 Sep 2018

Art Exhibition at Firstsite

Contemporary Chinese Works on Paper

Rear View Mirror: Contemporary Chinese Works

Fri 13 - Sat 21 Jul 2018

An exhibition of contemporary Chinese works on paper

Mischief Makers

Summer Reading Challenge 2018 - Mischief Makers

Sat 14 Jul - Sat 1 Sep 2018

Summer Reading Challenge at Essex Libraries

Gin Weekender

Three Wise Monkeys Gin Weekender 2018

Thu 19 - Sun 22 Jul 2018

Gin Festival at Three Wise Monkeys

Al Festo

Al Festo

Fri 20 - Sun 22 Jul 2018

A Beer & Music Festival at the Sun Inn, Dedham

Eight Ash Green

Eight Ash Green Music Festival

Fri 20 - Sat 21 Jul 2018

Music Festival at Fordham Heath Football Field

Friday Health Walk

Friday Health Walk

Fri 20 Jul 2018

Regular walk at High Woods Country Park

Park Run

Mersea Island Park Run

Sat 21 Jul 2018

Park Run in Cudmore Grove

Munnings Sign

Poetry Open Mic

Sat 21 Jul 2018

Poetry at the Munnings Museum

Fenwick Colchester

Tropical Bird Trail

Sat 21 Jul - Fri 24 Aug 2018

Follow our trail of clues around the Toy Department to win a Tropical Toucan Bird Soft Toy.

Park Run

Colchester Park Run

Sat 21 Jul 2018

Colchester's weekly Park Run.

Firstsite

Firstsite Holiday Fun | MAKE

Sat 21 Jul - Sun 2 Sep 2018

Free Children's activities at Firstsite all Summer

Fire Station Open Day

West Mersea Fire Station Open Day

Sat 21 Jul 2018

A summer fire station open day.

Bee Trail

Castle Park Bee Safari

Sat 21 Jul 2018

Learn about Bee's in Colchester and grab a FREE activity booklet from the Visitor Information Centre

Beside the Seaside

Beside the Seaside

Sun 22 Jul 2018

Beside the Seaside brings a host of traditional seaside entertainment, water sports and beach family fun sports activities to Dovercourt and to Clacton.

Venison sausage rolls from Truly Traceable

Lavenham Farmers Market

Sun 22 Jul 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

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.
Mischief Makers

Summer Reading Challenge 2018 - Mischief Makers

Sat 14 Jul - Sat 1 Sep 2018

Summer Reading Challenge at Essex Libraries

Fenwick Colchester

Tropical Bird Trail

Sat 21 Jul - Fri 24 Aug 2018

Follow our trail of clues around the Toy Department to win a Tropical Toucan Bird Soft Toy.

Fire Station Open Day

West Mersea Fire Station Open Day

Sat 21 Jul 2018

A summer fire station open day.

Bee Trail

Castle Park Bee Safari

Sat 21 Jul 2018

Learn about Bee's in Colchester and grab a FREE activity booklet from the Visitor Information Centre

Castle Park Bandstand

Castle Park Bandstand: Aveley & Newham Band

Sun 22 Jul 2018

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

Fenwick Colchester

Construction Competition

Tue 24 Jul 2018

Let your imagination run wild! Create a construction of your choice and you could win a fantastic K'nex prize worth over £50.

St. Botolph's Church

Lunchtime Music at St. Botolph's Church

Wed 25 Jul 2018

Lunchtime music at St. Botolph's

Fenwick Colchester

Explore Workshops

Thu 26 Jul 2018

Bring learning to life with Explore Workshops at Fenwick Colchester

Fenwick Colchester

Friday Flicks

Fri 27 Jul 2018

Childrens Film Screenings at Fenwick Colchester

Castle Park Bandstand

Castle Park Bandstand: Sid Bolan Big Band

Sun 29 Jul 2018

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

Castle Park Bandstand

Castle Park Bandstand: Sid Bolan Big Band

Sun 29 Jul 2018

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

Castle Park at Night

Space Talk: Introduction to the Solar System

Sun 29 Jul 2018

Learn about the solar system, kids get a FREE educational passport activity booklet

Fenwick Colchester

Playmobil Colouring Competition

Mon 30 Jul - Fri 17 Aug 2018

Colour to your heart's content with our Playmobil Colouring Competition and you could win a dinosaur-themed Playmobil Prize, worth £50.

Fenwick Colchester

Construction Competition

Tue 31 Jul 2018

Let your imagination run wild! Create a construction of your choice and you could win a fantastic K'nex prize worth over £50.

St. Botolph's Church

Lunchtime Music at St. Botolph's Church

Wed 1 Aug 2018

Lunchtime music at St. Botolph's

Fenwick Colchester

Explore Workshops

Thu 2 Aug 2018

Bring learning to life with Explore Workshops at Fenwick Colchester

Bats of East Anglia

Colchester Park After Dark Bat Walk

Thu 2 Aug 2018

Perfect for families and friends to learn about Bats in Colchester

Fenwick Colchester

Friday Flicks

Fri 3 Aug 2018

Childrens Film Screenings at Fenwick Colchester

Fenwick Colchester

Hama Time

Sat 4 Aug 2018

Stay & play with our Hama Beads Session. Which pattern will you create?

Colchester River Colne

Life on the River Colne Colchester

Sat 4 Aug 2018

Perfect for families and friends to learn about Castle Parks River Colne

More Free Things To Do

Walking in Dedham
Beach Huts on Mersea Island. Photo: Visit Essex
Hit The Beach  - Take a trip to Mersea Island
Town Hall and Jumbo view of Town Centre
Win A Prize - Check out our competitions page

Please Note:


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