Get Back to Nature with a trip to Colchester

From the pastoral fields of Constable Country to the Essex coast at Mersea Island there's plenty of the great outdoors to discover in and around Colchester. The beaches, nature reserves and wildlife parks surrounding the city centre are fantastic spots to take a walk on a nature trail, get away from it all, or simply to get a flavour of the unique landscapes and wildlife habitats that Essex has to offer.

Highlights include several wildlife sites managed by Essex Wildlife Trust, with the large reserves of Abberton Reservoir and Fingringhoe Wick Nature Discovery Park being of particular significance, and fantastic locations for walks or a spot of bird-watching. There are also a number of local nature reserves managed by Colchester Council, which are great for a breath of fresh air, or stretching your legs if you find yourself nearby.

The coastline of Mersea Island is another popular destination, with beaches for tourists as well as wilder stretches of coastline on the Eastern side of the Island. It's a perfect location to blow away the cobwebs, take in the famous 'big Essex skies' and refresh yourself (as well as maybe trying a spot of local seafood).

For those with more exotic tastes in nature, Colchester Zoo is one of the finest in the country, with an expansive site housing many varieties of animal. You can easilly spend a whole day at the zoo and it a surprising effective way to burn off some energy - for adults and children alike!

In addition to its naturally wild sites Colchester offers plenty of parks and gardens to explore too, including the wonderful Castle Park in the centre of the city and the internationally renowned Beth Chatto Gardens, not to mention opportunities for scenic walks and cycling trails.

If you're visiting with children you may also like to take advantage of Colchester's playgrounds.