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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rollerworld Skating Rink

Rollerworld

Rollerworld is Europes finest Roller Rink, with a 50m x 25m solid maple floor, fantastic new sound and light show. Everyone can have a go at skating and if you don’t fancy that we have Quasar, laser gun fun in our specially made arena.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Colchester Castle

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.

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.

High Woods

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.

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

St Botolphs

Heritage Open Day - St Botolph's Priory Fun Day

Sat 21 Sep 2019

Fun Day and Market in St Botolph's Priory

Colchester United Crest

Colchester United v Leyton Orient

Sat 21 Sep 2019

League 2 Football at the Weston Homes Community Stadium

Migration Day

Migration Day at Fingrnghoe Wick

Sun 22 Sep 2019

Birdwatching at Fingringhoe Wick

Col U v Tottenham Hotspur

Colchester Utd v Tottenham Hotspur

Tue 24 Sep 2019

Carabao Cup Football at the Weston Homes Community Stadium

The Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze

Sat 28 Sep - Thu 31 Oct 2019

Pick your own pumpkin at Foxes Farm Produce

Fire Station Open Day

Colchester Fire Station Open Day 2019

Sat 28 Sep 2019

Open Day at Colchester Fire Station

Big Apple Day

Together We Grow: Apple Day

Sat 28 Sep 2019

All things apple at the BIG Garden in High Woods Country Park.

Diesel Days

Diesel Gala

Sun 29 Sep 2019

Diesel locomotives at East Anglian Railway Museum

Toasting Marshmallows

Forest School Fun Sundays

Sun 29 Sep 2019

An afternoon of child led fun in the woods at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve.

Colchester United Crest

Colchester United v Stevenage

Sat 5 Oct 2019

League 2 Football at the Weston Homes Community Stadium

Relaxed Opening

Relaxed Opening

Sun 6 Oct 2019

Enjoy a little calm at the Castle and join us on the first Sunday of the month for a Relaxed Opening. These sessions are suitable for visitors with ASD, providing an opportunity for them to explore the museum at a quieter time.

Colchester United Crest

Colchester United v Tottenham Hotspur U21s

Tue 8 Oct 2019

Football at the Weston Homes Community Stadium

Beh Chatto Gardens

Autumn Plant Weekend - Free Garden entry!

Sat 12 Oct 2019

Celebrate Autumn at the Beth Chatto Gardens Open Day.

Model Railway

Model Railway Show & Steam Day

Sun 13 Oct 2019

Model trains and more at the East Anglian Railway Museum

Toasting Marshmallows

Forest School Fun Sundays

Sun 13 Oct 2019

An afternoon of child led fun in the woods at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve.

Colchester United Crest

Colchester United v Morecambe

Sat 19 Oct 2019

League 2 Football at the Weston Homes Community Stadium

Day Out With Thomas

Day Out With Thomas

Sat 26 - Sun 27 Oct 2019

Thomas and Friends appear at the East Anglian Railway Museum

Colchester Castle

Knightzzz At The Museum

Sat 26 Oct 2019

Sleep over at Colchester Castle

Hedgehog

Halloween Nocturnal Animals Trail

Sat 26 Oct - Sat 2 Nov 2019

Self-guided themed trail around the nature reserve.

Guided Walk: Rotten Romans & Naughty Normans

Guided Walk: Rotten Romans & Naughty Normans

Sat 26 Oct 2019

Guided Walking Tours of Colchester Meet at the VisitColchester Information Centre, located in Hollytrees Museum

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

Colchester Castle

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.

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.

Rollerworld Skating Rink

Rollerworld

Rollerworld is Europes finest Roller Rink, with a 50m x 25m solid maple floor, fantastic new sound and light show. Everyone can have a go at skating and if you don’t fancy that we have Quasar, laser gun fun in our specially made arena.

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.

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 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.

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 Arts Centre

Colchester Arts Centre

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

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.

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.

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.

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