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.

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Child dressed as a Roman
Jump Street

Great Attractions For Kids

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

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.

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.

Mighty Claws Adventure Golf

Mighty Claws Adventure Golf

Mighty Claws Adventure Golf : A Roman Ruckus offers 18-holes of ferociously good fun for all the family. Roarsome!

Leisure World Colchester

Leisure Centre

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.

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.

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.

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street Colchester

Jump Street trampoline parks offer jump sessions in Essex, suitable for both adults & children. Jump Street is based both in Colchester & in Chelmsford, also offering adult fitness classes, toddler sessions, special needs support sessions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Leisure World 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.

Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre

Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre

Stunning 200 acre nature reserve situated on the banks of the River Colne. Visitor centre includes gift shop, tearoom, toilets and baby changing facilities.

East Anglian Railway Museum

East Anglian Railway Museum

Celebrating the changing role of railways in the Eastern Counties since they arrived in the early 19th Century, through their glory days of the early 20th Century to the disappearances of the Beeching era.

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.

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

Circus Wonderland

Circus Wonderland

Wed 22 - Mon 27 May 2019

The Circus comes to Colchester's Abbey Field

Mersea Food Festival

Mersea Island Food, Drink & Leisure Festival

Sat 25 - Sun 26 May 2019

Savour the Flavour of Island Life! Join us for fun in the sun by the sea, food and drink for all the family...

Marks Hall's 'Bug Hotel'

'Bug Hotel' Rebuild Scavenger Hunt

Sat 25 May - Sun 2 Jun 2019

Collect your information from our Admission Kiosk and go on a hunt around the Arboretum to collect items for our new Bug Hotel. See the beautiful Spring colours, wildlife and discover key points of interest within the Arboretum.

Music & Mezze

Music & Mezze

Sun 26 May 2019

Welcome that Summer feeling and savour an exotic mezze menu at this all-day garden party in the centre of Colchester with an outdoor bar, all-day DJ's spinning worldbeat and tropical vibes

Part of new exhibition

Open Day

Sun 26 May 2019

New Exhibition hall for 2019

East Anglian Transport Extravaganza

Transport Extravaganza

Sun 26 - Mon 27 May 2019

Classic Vehicle Show at the East Anglian Railway Museum

Family Fun Day

Hospital Radio Colchester Family Fun Day

Mon 27 May 2019

Hospital Radio Colchester Annual Family Fun Day

Tombola

Village Fete and Companye of Merrie Folke

Mon 27 May 2019

Come and enjoy a traditional Village Fete, enjoy meeting the Tudor re-enactors

Village Fete

Nayland Church Fete

Mon 27 May 2019

Wonderful traditional fete in the historic village of Nayland

Constellations

Planetarium

Tue 28 May 2019

Arts & Crafts event at Colchester Castle

GOBLIN THEATRE PRESENTS: HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE

Goblin Theatre Presents: Hey Diddle Diddle

Tue 28 May 2019

Goblin return with a hilarious adventure filled with live music and puppetry, for ages 3+.

Land of Nod

Land of Nod

Tue 28 May 2019

A story of tiredness, over-tiredness, wonder and waking up exploring the struggle of bed time and the bliss of finally falling into slumber.

Diesel Fun

Half Term Diesel Days

Wed 29 May 2019

Half Term fun at the East Anglian Railway Museum

Monster Mash Up

Monster Mash Up!

Wed 29 May 2019

Craft Activity at The Natural History Museum

Twinkle Twinkle

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Thu 30 May 2019

Children's craft activity in Hollytrees Museum

Great Bromley Village Hall

Robbie James Magic Show

Fri 31 May 2019

A spectacular family friendly magic show starring award winning magician and illusionist Robbie James.

One Fun Run fun

One Fun Run Colchester

Sun 2 Jun 2019

Fun run at the Mill Road Playing Fields

Coggeshall Open Gardens

Coggeshall Open Gardens

Sun 2 Jun 2019

Local open garden event in Coggeshall

Pipes in the Park

Pipes In The Park

Sun 9 Jun 2019

Scotland comes to Colchester for the annual event in Castle Park

Young Children's Festival

Young Children's Festival

Sat 15 Jun 2019

Family Festival in Castle Park

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.

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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

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.

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.

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.

Leisure World Colchester

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Jump Street trampoline parks offer jump sessions in Essex, suitable for both adults & children. Jump Street is based both in Colchester & in Chelmsford, also offering adult fitness classes, toddler sessions, special needs support sessions.

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.

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