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Colchester
Travel Guide

Visit one of Britain’s oldest towns to discover historical treasures, such as Roman remains and Norman churches, alongside cutting-edge art galleries and family entertainment. 

Colchester locals will proudly tell you that their city is Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town. Its history actually goes back much farther than that, but it was the Romans who shaped “Camulodunum,” as they called it. Today, you can still see the remains of a Roman wall in the city center.

More than two millennia of habitation have left the city other impressive historic sites as well. The imposing Colchester Castle and churches such as St. Botolph’s Priory are examples of more recent architecture. Modern attractions abound too, so visit galleries and indulge in some shopping in the lively town center after your tour of the heritage sites.

Part of Colchester’s appeal is that most of the major attractions are located within walking distance from the city center. Start at the VisitColchester Information Centre and pick up all the maps and information you need. Head to Colchester Castle Park and you’ll find the Castle Museum and Hollytrees Museum within its grounds. On and around High Street you can choose between the Colchester Natural History Museum, contemporary art galleries such as Firstsite and The Minories, and architectural feats such as the Colchester Town Hall.

On a sunny day, enjoy a walk around the Beth Chatto Gardens or a visit to the Colchester Zoo where you can feed elephants and giraffes. Also explore the nearby countryside, which the famous English painter John Constable captured so well.

Start your evening in one of the many fine restaurants in the city center and end the night attending a performance at the Mercury Theatre or mingling with locals in one of the many pubs.

Nearby attractions in the Essex countryside include the splendid Tudor structure known as the Layer Marney Tower.

Colchester is just over 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of London. The nearest international airport is at Stansted, which is located 34 miles (55 kilometers) west of Colchester. You’ll need to wear warm clothes for a winter visit to Colchester, but it is one of the driest places in the U.K. With so much to see and do, you’ll enjoy your stay in Colchester whatever the weather.

Top Hotels in Colchester

Marks Tey Hotel, Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western
Marks Tey Hotel, Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western
4 out of 5
London Road, Marks Tey, Colchester, England
The price is $66 per night from Mar 1 to Mar 2

Situated in Colchester, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Colchester Zoo, East Anglian Railway Museum, and Layer Marney Tower. Colchester Golf Club and Marks ...

3.8/5Good! (688 reviews)

"Regular short stay. Convenience of location."…"

Reviewed on Aug 8, 2020

Marks Tey Hotel, Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western
Holiday Inn Colchester
Holiday Inn Colchester
4 out of 5
Abbotts Lane, Eight Ash Green, Colchester, England
The price is $81 per night from Mar 16 to Mar 17

This family-friendly Colchester hotel is located near the airport, 3.1 mi (5 km) from Colchester Zoo, and within 6 mi (10 km) of East Anglian Railway Museum ...

4/5Very Good! (358 reviews)

"Good stay customer’s service was great especially in the restaurant chef and Sylvester"…"

Reviewed on Dec 19, 2020

Holiday Inn Colchester
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa
4 out of 5
Keepers Lane, Leavenheath, Colchester, England
The price is $122 per night from Mar 9 to Mar 10

Situated in Colchester, this spa hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Dedham Vale and within 9 mi (15 km) of Great Cornard Country Park and Gainsborough's House. Sir ...

4.1/5Very Good! (211 reviews)

"good value and quiet."…"

Reviewed on Oct 27, 2020

Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Colchester

Fabulous five-star luxury lodge with hot tub and lake views
Fabulous five-star luxury lodge with hot tub and lake views
4 out of 5
Colchester Rd, Colchester, England

Situated in a rural location, this vacation home is 1.6 mi (2.7 km) from East Anglian Railway Museum and within 9 mi (15 km) of Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum ...

Fabulous five-star luxury lodge with hot tub and lake views
The Cart Lodge
The Cart Lodge
3.5 out of 5
13A Court Street Nayland, Colchester, England

Situated in a rural location, this cottage is 1.8 mi (3 km) from Dedham Vale and within 9 mi (15 km) of High Woods Country Park and Colchester Castle Park. Jumbo ...

The Cart Lodge
The Tallow Factory
The Tallow Factory
3.5 out of 5
The Tallow Factory, Brannam Court, High Street, Colchester, England

Situated on the riverwalk, this vacation home is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Flatford Mill. Colchester Castle ...

The Tallow Factory
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Colchester

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