Things to do in Colchester with Kids

Colchester is a town full of child-friendly venues, and has a fantastic selection of children and family events running throughout the year. From pre-schoolers to teenagers there's always something to keep the children entertained (and plenty to do that adults can secretly enjoy as well) making it the perfect destination for a family day out - or even a longer stay.

With a zoo and a castle, you'll find plenty to spark a child's imagination. You can discover local beaches and wildlife parks, as well as a range of fantastic activities for wet weather days including a roller rink, trampoline park, and leisure pool.

Visit during the school holidays and you'll find a special programme of events put on by many of our best attractions, and there's always something available to do for free so a visit needn't break the bank.

Browse Family events in Colchester

Child dressed as a Roman

Great Attractions For Kids

Just a selection of Colchester's child-friendly attractions...

Bourne Mill

Bourne Mill

National Trust property, the mill was originally built as a fishing lodge in 1591 and features stepped "Dutch" gables. There is a millpond and some of the machinery, including the waterwheel which is still intact and working.

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.

Colchester Castle Museum

Colchester Castle Museum

Colchester Castle is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. Constructed on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius. The Castle Museum today reveals many fascinating layers of history to visitors.

Tenpin

Tenpin

Tenpin Bowling Alley with licensed, late night bar, games machines and Beach Road Café. Cosmic bowling from 8pm Wed-Sun.

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.

Castle Park and Gardens

Castle Park

Colchester's Castle Park provides a perfect setting for a huge range of events including shows, festivals and concerts.

Colchester Leisure World

Leisure World Colchester

Leisure World Colchester is one of East Anglia's largest sports, leisure, recreation and entertainment venues and offers year round fun for all the family. The leisure pool includes outside river rapids ride, water cannons and flumes.

LW Tiptree

Leisure World Tiptree

Leisure World Tiptree provides a range of facilities and activities that is both unique and extensive for all ages and abilities. It offers a fitness centre, sports halls, aerobic workout classes, 3 generation artificial pitch.

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.

Rollerworld

Rollerworld

Rollerworld - internationally recognised as the finest roller-skating rink in Europe. Rollerworld has got the lot! 25m x 50m maple floor, spectacular sound and light show.

Layer Marney Tower

Layer Marney Tower

Magnificent Tudor building with the tallest Gatehouse in Britain and 16th century Italianate terracotta. Climb the tower, visit the gardens, outbuildings dolls house, church and farm animals. Cafe and shop.

Gnome Magic

Gnome Magic

Gnome Magic is an unusual treat. Enjoy the delightful garden which blends into an amazing wood where the growing number of 500 gnomes and their friends live. Guaranteed to bring a little sunshine.

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.

Go Bananas Tiny Town

Go Bananas

Go Bananas is one of the largest indoor adventure play centres in the South East of England with over 20 years of experience in entertaining children and Adults.

Colne Valley Railway

Colne Valley Railway

Groups will have train rides as requested, a guided tour of the site or they may look round on their own, including visiting a working signal box, museum and model railways and shop. Choice of catering options available.

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

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.

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.

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street Colchester

Colchester's first sole-purpose trampoline park. Over 100 interconnecting trampolines create a 20,000 square foot bounce space which includes free-bounce areas, basketball nets, a foam pit and two dodgeball courts.

Our Child-Friendly picks.

Colchester Museums

Hollytrees Educational Visit
Take your pick from Colchester Natural History Museum, Hollytrees Museum or Colchester Castle Museum - all are fun places to visit at any time of the year.

You'll discover plenty of hands-on activities from the cases of toys in Hollytrees to the opportunity to ride a Roman Chariot in Colchester Castle. Be sure to check for any special events that are happening too.

Colchester Zoo

Leopard at Colchester Zoo. Photo: Scott Davey
As if a day wandering around the expansive zoo grounds wasn't enough, Colchester Zoo offers a world of fantastic experiences. Touch an elephant, feed a giraffe, or stroke a snake. Take a seat for wildlife shows as some of the zoo's residents get their daily exercise, and enjoy the interactive displays.

If you need a break from the animals the zoo also offers a fantastic outdoor adventure playground, and indoor soft play area.

Colchester United

Colchester United
Colchester United were the English Football League's family club of the year in 2015, and continue to offer great value and memorable experience for all ages.

Children under 11 are able to attend games for free, and sit in the family-friendly East Stand. The club are also happy to welcome first-timers with messages in the programme and on the big screen, as well as offering packages for Birthdays and opportunities to be a club mascot.


Family & Kids Events in Colchester

Join in with the fun with children’s events in Colchester. You will discover regular arts & craft events, film screenings, museum activities and wildlife workshops, as well as exciting festivals and shows happening during half term and school holidays.

If you can't find what you're looking for, get in touch with us at the Visitor Information Centre as there are many community activity groups in Colchester hosting regular sessions especially for children and young people that we can help put you in touch with. 

Visit our What's On page for special events listings focussing on the school holidays, and follow us on Twitter for regular and up-to-date information.

Browse Kids Events in Colchester

Colchester Collectors

Colchester Collectors

Mon 11 Dec 2017 - Fri 29 Jun 2018

Exhibition of local people's collections at Colchester Castle

Hootingly Good Show

Hootingly Good Show - owl talk and flight evening

Thu 22 Feb 2018

Owl talk and flight evening

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Snowdrops

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Grounds Spring Awakening

Sat 24 Feb 2018

Explore the beginnings of Spring at Kentwell Hall

Pandora's Box

Pandora's Box by Jonathan Young

Mon 26 - Tue 27 Feb 2018

A spellbinding new play at the Headgate Theatre

Leigh Hodgkinson

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Troll Swap Fun!

Sat 3 Mar 2018

Children's event for Essex Book Festival at Firstsite

Isaac

Majestic Kids Events - Breakdance Workshop

Sat 3 Mar 2018

Kids Workshop at Colchester Arts Centre

Sumi Ink Club

Sumi Ink Club: Peace Wall

Sat 3 Mar 2018

Essex Book Festival continues at Firstsite

Stories from Africa

Traditional Stories From Africa

Sat 3 Mar 2018

Essex Book Festival continues at Firstsite

World Book Day

World Book Day Celebrations

Sat 3 Mar 2018

A Day of children's activities at Red Lion Books

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Snowdrops

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Grounds Spring Awakening

Sat 3 - Sun 4 Mar 2018

Explore the beginnings of Spring at Kentwell Hall

Tiddlers2Wigglers

Tiddlers2Wigglers

Sat 3 Mar 2018

Pre-loved baby clothing, toys and equipment sale

Tiptree

Leisure World Tiptree: Open Day

Sun 4 Mar 2018

Free open Day at Leisure World Tiptree

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Snowdrops

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Grounds Spring Awakening

Sat 10 - Sun 11 Mar 2018

Explore the beginnings of Spring at Kentwell Hall

Holi 2018

Holi Mela (Festival of Holi)

Sat 10 Mar 2018

Festival of throwing colours at Firstsite

XWA Wrestling

XWA Wrestling

Sun 11 Mar 2018

Men in Leotards at Charter Hall

Tom Thumb

Lyngo Theatre presents "Tom Thumb"

Sat 17 Mar 2018

Kids Theatre at Colchester Arts Centre

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Snowdrops

Kentwell Hall's Gardens & Grounds Spring Awakening

Sat 17 - Sun 18 Mar 2018

Explore the beginnings of Spring at Kentwell Hall

Colne Lightship

Cars on the Colne

Sun 18 Mar 2018

Classic Car show and lightship open morning

Easter Eggs

Easter Egg Hunt 2018

Sat 24 Mar - Sun 8 Apr 2018

Easter activity at Beth Chatto Gardens

Plug IN

Plug In Showcase

Sat 24 Mar 2018

Digital showcase event at Firstsite

Outdoors and Wildlife

Exploring Colchester can be a real adventure for all the family. Stretch your legs and mind whilst discovering the area's history, heritage and wildlife.

Discover nature reserves, woodland, playgrounds, parks, gardens and sandy beaches. Embark on one of our recommended walks, or explore for yourself.

At weekends and school holidays you can find great activities for the children, or just let them run wild. Having great fun doesn't have to cost the earth.

Discover More Activities

Wet Weather Ideas

Bad weather needn't put a dampener on your trip to Colchester. You'll find plenty to do under cover, sometime in the least likely of locations!

In the town centre, all the musuems and art galleries are child-friendly and within two minutes walk of each other. Most are also free entry. Perhaps you could catch a kids show at the Theatre or Arts centre too?

Colchester Zoo has a special 'duck under cover' route, keeping you dry and indoors (where many of the animals will be sheltering too)

Or if you've really been stuck indoors too long, burn off some energy at an indoor activity centre - take your pick from Leisure World, Rollerworld, Jump Street, or a Soft Play centre.

Great Venues in Bad Weather

Colchester Leisure World

Leisure World Colchester

Leisure World Colchester is one of East Anglia's largest sports, leisure, recreation and entertainment venues and offers year round fun for all the family. The leisure pool includes outside river rapids ride, water cannons and flumes.

Rollerworld

Rollerworld

Rollerworld - internationally recognised as the finest roller-skating rink in Europe. Rollerworld has got the lot! 25m x 50m maple floor, spectacular sound and light show.

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.

Colchester Castle Museum

Colchester Castle Museum

Colchester Castle is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. Constructed on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius. The Castle Museum today reveals many fascinating layers of history to visitors.

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.

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.

Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre

A highly respected regional theatre, home to the critically acclaimed Mercury Theatre Company, staging a broad mix of classic plays and new writing as well as working extensively within the local community.

Go Bananas Tiny Town

Go Bananas

Go Bananas is one of the largest indoor adventure play centres in the South East of England with over 20 years of experience in entertaining children and Adults.

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street Colchester

Colchester's first sole-purpose trampoline park. Over 100 interconnecting trampolines create a 20,000 square foot bounce space which includes free-bounce areas, basketball nets, a foam pit and two dodgeball courts.

Colchester Arts Centre

Colchester Arts Centre

The home of live music, comedy, theatre, poetry, dance, children's shows, clubs, farmer's markets, gigs and more.

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo is home to over 260 species set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes and are proudly listed as in the top 2 zoos in the UK as part of the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Attractions.

More Great Kids Activites

A Family Day Out in Colchester

Explore Colchester Museums

More Things to do in Colchester

Cow in river at Dedham Vale
Wildlife and Green Spaces