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Colchester Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History of Colchester

    Colchester is Britain's oldest recorded town and was once the capital of Roman Britain. The town is also home to one of the country's most important historic buildings - Colchester Castle. On the site of the castle was once the famous Roman building, the Temple of Claudius. Queen Boudica and her rebels attacked the temple in AD 60, and all the town's citizens were killed. This ...Read morehas become known as the sacking of Colchester. The castle itself began being built in 1076 and its keep was the largest ever in Britain and is the largest surviving example of its kind in Europe. The keep was built on the base of the destroyed Temple of Claudius. The castle was first opened as a museum in 1860 and still serves this roll today, taking visitors through 2,000 years of British history. Read less

  • 2. Now in Colchester

    The Essex town of Colchester is popular with tourists due to its historic importance and its beautiful countryside. It is also on the edge of the Tendring Peninsula, which is a popular holiday destination. The University of Essex is a big part of the town's life and its campus houses the Albert Sloman Library as well as shops, banks, restaurants and student accommodation.

  • 3. Events in Colchester

    The Roman River Festival is an annual music event that takes place in the town in October. The festival features a variety of concerts celebrating classical, jazz and folk music. The Colchester Medieval Festival, also known as The Oyster Fayre, is a traditional annual event in June. Visitors are taken back in time to enjoy celebrations in a medieval style. The Colchester Town &...Read more Country Easter Show takes place in April every year and attracts thousands of visitors. The event is held in the town's Lower Castle Park. Read less

  • 4. Attractions in Colchester

    Colchester Castle Museum is home to the largest Norman Keep in Europe. The museum offers Roman displays, hands-on exhibits and a variety of events and exhibitions. Colchester Zoo is a popular tourist attraction, which boasts over 260 species, adventure playgrounds, an indoor play area, road trains, daily displays and much more. Gosbecks Archaeological Park includes the site of ...Read morethe largest known Roman theatre in Britain, and a Roman-Celtic Temple site. The Natural History Museum tells visitors all about local wildlife and habitats through hands-on exhibitions and displays. Entry is free. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do in Colchester

    The Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre is a wetland with nature trails, bird hides and an observation room. Visitors can see wild geese, swans, wild ducks and wading birds. Art Exchange is an art gallery based at the University of Essex. Entry to the gallery is free and exhibits include paintings, sculpture, ceramics and Latin American art. There is parkland with lakes and sculp...Read moretures at the site. Castle Park and Gardens sits in the heart of the town centre and includes a modern play area, boating lake, café and riverside walks. The Roman Wall in the park is Britain's oldest and longest surviving town wall. The Hollytrees Museum of toys, costume and decorative arts is situated in the park. Gnome Magic is a garden and wood containing over 500 gnomes and their friends. Read less

  • 6. Business in Colchester

    Colchester has a wide selection of shopping facilities in both modern and historical settings. The town centre shopping centres are Lion Walk and Culver Square. Williams & Griffin is Colchester's award-winning department store. The Weston Homes Community Stadium is home to Colchester United Football Club and is also the leading conference and banqueting venue in the region.

  • 7. Transport in Colchester

    There are good road links from Colchester to the rest of the UK. The A12, and A120 are the main routes, linking to the M11 and M25. By train, Colchester is just 50 minutes from London Liverpool Street and one hour from Norwich. Stansted International Airport is just 50 minutes by road and there are also great coach links from the town to the airport. Colchester is only 30 minut...Read morees from Harwich International Port, which has services to Holland and Denmark. Read less

  • 8. Entertainment in Colchester

    Colchester Arts Centre offers a packed programme of live music, comedy, theatre, poetry, dance, children's shows, clubs, farmers' markets, gigs and more. The Headgate Theatre stages a variety of live events including drama, music and musicals. The Lakeside Theatre, at the University of Essex, offers dance productions, jazz and world music concerts, stand-up comedy nights, perfo...Read morermance art events and amateur shows. The Mercury Theatre is home to the Mercury Theatre Company and stages a mix of classic plays and new work. Swinburne Hall is a live music venue for concerts and musicals. The concert hall has seating for 200 people. Tribute band gigs and comedy nights are held at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks in Colchester

    Colchester Castle overlooks the town and has been carefully restored over the years.

  • 10. Interesting Facts about Colchester

    Some legends say that the nursery rhymes of Old King Cole and Humpty Dumpty originated in the town of Colchester.

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