Colchester Natural History Museum

Learn about the mammoths, hippos and crocodiles that used to live in the Colchester area and examine a wealth of natural specimens at this excellent, free museum. 

The Colchester Natural History Museum is a free attraction where the whole family can get closer to nature. Experience what life as a badger must be like and crawl through a replica badger sett, or learn about the earthquake that struck this area in the 19th century. Wander around a small nature reserve where examples of native plants are on show. 

The Colchester Natural History Museum is located in a converted church, where it has been since 1958. It has been steadily growing its collection and it now contains several extensive permanent exhibitions as well as a regular program of temporary exhibits.

You’ll be amazed by what you can see in the Geology exhibit. As well as rocks and minerals dating back 50 million years, you will find fossils of mammoths, crocodiles and hippos that were discovered in the area. Learn about the earthquake that struck Colchester in 1884 and the make-up of the ground beneath the city.

Children will love the hands-on exhibits, where they can crawl like a badger and stroke a fox. Several other examples of native British animals, such as squirrels and bats, are also on display in the taxidermy section. 

View more than 40,000 different specimens in the display dedicated to insects. Particularly impressive are the collections of butterflies and stag beetles. You can also see displays of around 700 preserved animal skins as well as numerous species preserved in fluids. 

Take a stroll around the nature trail behind the building or browse the gift shop for souvenirs such as fossils, seeds and educational books. 

The Colchester Natural History Museum is located opposite Colchester Castle in the town’s center. There is no admission fee for the museum, which closes on Mondays and public holidays. It is also closed for a week at Christmas and on New Year’s Day. There is pay-and-display parking nearby.


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