Category Archives: attractions

Colchester Town Hall

John Belcher designed the present Colchester Town Hall, after taking part in a competition in 1897. Building work began in 1898 and the building was opened by the Earl of Rosebery in May 1902. The town hall is a statement of civic pride, with statues and ornamentation all reflecting the Victorian view of Colchester’s long… Read More »

The Dutch Quarter

The Dutch Quarter can be found just off Colchester High Street behind the George Inn. Lanes in the area include: Maidenburgh Street, West Stockwell Street, East Stockwell Street, Stockwell Street, St Helen’s Lane, Northgate Street and Nunn’s Road. The area became home TO Flemish Protestant refugees fleeing religious persecution after they had been defeated in… Read More »

The Minories

The Minories is a listed Georgian building, owned by the Victor Batte-Lay Foundation which aims to ensure that it is used to show art for the benefit of the people of Colchester. The Minories is the home of the Colchester School of Art, which is part of Colchester Institute, providing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft… Read More »


firstsite is a contemporary visual arts gallery. The dramatic golden building was designed by the world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly. firstsite’s aim is to present a varied and challenging programme of exhibitions, commissions, residencies and screenings, in a broad range of media and art forms, by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists.


The skyline of Colchester is dominated by the Victorian water tower known by the locals as Jumbo, which was built in 1883 to bring clean water to the town. It quickly gained it’s nickname after a local vicar complained about it tot the local paper, comparing it to Jumbo the elephant at London Zoo, who… Read More »

The Roman Wall and Balkerne Gate

Colchester’s Roman Wall is the oldest surviving town wall in Britain. It was built to defend Colchester after the Boudican rebellion in AD60 and includes the Balkerne Gate. The Balkerne Gate was originally built as a Triumphal Arch celebrating the conquest of Britannia by the Roman Emperor Claudius. Today you can walk in the footsteps… Read More »

Hollytrees Museum

Hollytrees is a Grade 1 listed classic Georgian house, built in 1718. It is now a museum, with displays that illustrate life in Colchester in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It is also the home of the Colchester Visitor Information Centre. At one time the house was the home of Charles Gray who was… Read More »

Colchester Castle

Colchester Castle was one of William the Conqueror’s major castles and was built upon the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, itself constructed some 1000 years before. Set within the award winning Castle Park, the castle is of great significance in Colchester’s history serving at different times as fortress, goal, private library and of course… Read More »

St. Botolph’s Priory

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The Roman Circus

Chariot racing was hugely popular for the Romans and the discovery of a Circus in Colchester in 2005, where the racing would have taken place, underlines the great importance and wealth of Colchester in Roman Britain. Providing seating for about 8000 people, it would have been a spectacular place to visit and a centre of… Read More »