Colchester Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by arturowan
  • Restaurants
    by arturowan
  • 0n campus - the garden!
    0n campus - the garden!
    by arturowan

Colchester Things to Do

  • Colchester Arts Centre...

    Colchester Arts Centre is housed inside the former Saint Mary's church, in the Balkerne area of Colchester...This means it is within a stroll from the Mercury Theatre, the town's other centre for the performing arts...All sorts of stage shows are performed at Colchester Arts Centre, from live music, to theatre, drama, & stand-up comedy...However,...

    more
  • The Dutch Quarter...

    Colchester's Dutch Quarter is the town's most attractive archtectural area, which dates from Tudor times...Between 1550 & 1600, many weavers from the Catholic centre of the Netherlands, emigrated to the town, in order to escape religious persecution...Protestants were made refugees, having been defeated in a rebellion against the Catholic...

    more
  • Colchester English Study Centre...

    Lexden, Colchester, is the educational locus of the town, with 3 secondary schools, & the Colchester branch of the English Study Centre, providing language tuition for those in the town with English as a second language...In a town where students arrive from Europe to study at Colchester Institute, & from all over the world, to live on the...

    more
  • Go to art school...

    If your ambition is to pursue a career in pop or rock music, then enrol in art school!Lennon & McCartney went to art school, as did most of The Rolling Sones - Brian Eno did as well, & spent some time at Colchester School 0f Art, as did local girl, Sade, he also went on to have an international singing career...0f course, you can also go there in...

    more
  • The Minories...

    The Minories is a Grade II listed, Tudor-era, redbrick building & gardens, registered with the Essex Gardens Trust, located at the end of the High Street, opposite the Hollytrees Museum (see separate tip...)Although the house posesses interesting architecture, the most intriguiging feature of The Minories is the Gothic Folly, intended to be a...

    more
  • Hollytrees Museum...

    Hollytrees Museum is a free to enter, publicly-owned, Georgian old town house, that was occupied as a private residence until 1929It is named after 2 mature hollybushes, originally planted by owner Charles Gray, when the house was still known as Symnells, in 1729The Rounds family sold Hollytrees to Colchester Corporation, & it was first opened as a...

    more

Colchester Hotels

Colchester Restaurants

  • 1940's themed tearoom...

    Jacqueline's Tea Room opened in March 2014Within a month of opening, it developed a dedicated group of regular customers & developed a reputation for providing traditional English teas within a 1940's setting...The interior decor really is convincing, with many 1940's ornaments, & my favourite, a bakelite radio, from the era when the 'wireless'...

    more
  • Timbers

    A lovely little café on a side street in the centre, we stopped by this place for a small bite and a drinkHot chocolate was good and the onion, cheese and garlic bread was divine, plus the ham and cheese toastie was great with thick cut ham.£13 in total friendly staff and a nice ambience in an old beamed building

    more
  • Recommend you have an Indian

    Although I live in Vancouver Canada, I do try to make it to the Raj Palace Restuarant whenever I am in the UK, as to me it still has one of the best indian meals anywhere in the world and that includes India! I first started to visit when it opened back in the 1980's and recently called in at the end of August 2011 to have dinner there which, as...

    more

Colchester Nightlife

  • In the shadow of Jumbo...

    The Mercury Theatre is the most active producing theatre in the east of England, & has been at the heart of Colchester's arts scene since it opened in 1972The still modern-looking building, comprising a Main Theatre & Studio Theatre, seats 5800n site is a workshop so that the Mercury is self-sufficient in set-building & prop-fabrication, as well as...

    more
  • Colchester's iconic drinking spot...

    If you want to find a pub that truly represents Colchester, I think there is only really 1 candidate - The Hole In The Wall - so-named for obvious reasons, being built right beside the actual hole-in-the-wall, which provided access through the Roman Wall in the Balkerne Passage area of the central old town...The venue provides regular live music,...

    more
  • Don't judge a book by its cover...

    Ive worked in many clubs across Essex & London and for me, The Silk Road is right up there with the best. Each club has its downfalls and no club is perfect, but The Silk Road is given a lot of unfair criticism in my opinion. Ive worked in the industry & in this town for over 8 years, in pretty much every role possible so I'd like to think I know...

    more

Colchester Transportation

  • The Sunshine Coast Line...

    The Sunshine Coast Line is the council's re-branding of the route fromerly known as the Tendring Hundred Railway Line - a direct rail link from Colchester main station, to Thorpe-Le-Soken, from where you can change for the seaside resorts of Clacton-0n-Sea, or otherwise, Frinton-0n-Sea, or Walton-0n-Naze...The full route, station by station, out of...

    more
  • A town with 2 train stops...

    0wing to Colchester's pathetic service to bus & coach users, by not providing them a proper terminus, you might prefer to visit the town by bus...However, neither of the town's railway stations are very impressive sights, but at least they provide what the traveller with the information & transitory shelter, required from the vagaries of the...

    more
  • Less is less...

    Colchester bus station is 1 of the embarassments of public transport in UK - giving foreign visitors the impression they've arrived in a 3rd world banana republic...NO digital timetable - no sector map to inform as to what service leaves from which bay - an inadequate shelter over pavement, instead of the loading bays, & only a cold waiting room,...

    more

Colchester Shopping

  • Department store of the High Street...

    WILLIAMS & GRIFFIN is Colchester's central departmant store, which though now part of the Fenwick group, retains its own identity, with a specialist stockline that cannot be found in other stores...Even if you are not a shopaholic, the store is worth visiting, especially during advent, in order to view the display windows...WILLIAMS & GRIFFIN...

    more
  • A REAL Grocer...

    H. Gunton has been trading as a grocer in Colchester since 1936It soon became known as 'the house for coffee', & 'the shop window which can be smelt faraway', because of the aroma of roasting coffee beans...As well as being famous for its worldwide blends of coffee, H. Gunton developed a reputation for curing ham on the premises, producing fine...

    more
  • Shopmobility

    Colchester has a shopmobility scheme that provides hand propelled and electric wheelchairs and electric scooters to help people with limited mobility to shop and enjoy the facilities in the town centre. You do need to register as a member of Shopmobility before using any of the equipment.opening hoursMonday to Friday 10a.m. - 4.pm.You will need to...

    more

Colchester Local Customs

  • Saint Helena...

    Saint Helena is the Patron Saint of Colchester, (something the town also shares in common with Abingdon...)There is a small, 12 & 13th Century constructed, Saint Helen's chapel, (located in Saint Helen's Lane, on the corner with Maidenburgh Street, just north of the Dutch Quarter...)Legend has it that the site was blessed by Saint Helen herself, &...

    more
  • River Colne...

    Colchester is centrally located on the River Colne, from which the town takes its name...The Colne Valley is the entire area across which the 2 tributaries of the Colne find their source, in Stambourne Green, & Birdbrook, converging at Great Yeldham...From Sible Hedingham, the river flows through Halstead, Earls Colne, Colne Engaine, White Colne,...

    more
  • The Art of Ian Hay...

    Ian Hay is a resident of Colchester & a stalwart tutor at Colchester School of Art, where I encountered him & received the benefit of his expert tuition, during my first year there in 1985Ian Hay is a talented draughstman - something I chose to emphasise, because this is my own preferred discipline, & I am always more impressed by the quality of an...

    more

Colchester Warnings and Dangers

  • City of roundabouts...

    Colchester has been planned by a council who have a compulsive-obsessive drive to put roundabouts in every conceivable junction...There is no way into or out of the town, without having to negotiate a ridiculous quantity of them, in fact, at the 5 road junction at the top of Clingoe Hill, there are 5 concentric mini-roundabouts!Approach from other...

    more
  • Colchester City?

    Colchester is a repeat applicant to have its town status uprated to that of a city - it's 1 of the fastest growing urban sprawls in the country, & is already bigger than some official UK cities...But what does this mean for the town's surrounding area?I can still recall when places such as Rowhedge, Stanway, & the Hythe, were separate places, each...

    more
  • the terrible chaquetero wellqueda

    is it a lentil dish or honey? we are still waiting you to decide in public . . . but whilst so happy as the teruel's lovers

    more

Colchester Tourist Traps

  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    Firstsite...

    by arturowan Updated Sep 4, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Firstsite is Colchester's megabuck arts facility, that was supposed to put the town on the map & support its claim to city status...
    It's set inside an ultra-modern building, that's an acquired taste to look at, & which cost an estimated £15million excess, over its originally allotted £10million budget, & took a year longer than forecast, in order to complete...
    In other words, a typical public sector spending spree, (of the sort that justifies my contention that Britain is more Soviet than the Soviet Union, but with less of the advantages if you cannot gain employment in the public sector...)
    Colchester already has art galleries, & for those who wished to visit them, there was no need for another of such monstrous size...
    The only art shown on site is poat-modernist, which means the venue is usually deserted, so just why was all this time & money devoted to the Firstsite project, is a cause to ? what democracy really means...
    According to local investigative reporters, members of Firstsite staff have been witnessed walking in & out of the main doors, in order to multiply apparent visitor records on the electronic recording machine, such is the utter lack of public interest in the venue...
    A lot of folk might be impressed by the scale of the place, but neither they, nor its critics, were consulted about it, even though it's all supposed to be in aid of the public education & appreciation of the arts...
    I'm an artist myself, so I'm not writing this in an anti-arts tirade, but it does bother me that so much public sector funding goes towards art(y) projects, such as ugly modernist sculptures, that 99% of the population despises...

    Unique Suggestions: It's free to enter, so make the most of it - your taxes paid for it...

    Fun Alternatives: Colchester has many small galleries, not least of which is The Minories, (see separate tip...)
    As it so happens, right next door to Firstsite...

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Photography
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Colchester Off The Beaten Path

  • Gnome Magic...

    This is definitely an 'off the beaten path' tip - because so many folk get lost looking for this place, & what a strange place it is...Gnome Magic is located along the 0ld Ipswich Road, which now runs parallel with the A12 dual carriageway, entering Colchester from Dedham & Langham turn-offs, which means in order to find it, take the Ardleigh...

    more
  • Colchester Zoo

    It might seem strange to include this tip in 'off the beaten track', but so-called 'Colchester Zoo' was originally known as Stanway Zoo, because that is where it is located!Stanway is 1 of the places that was once a place in itself, but has now become inseparable from the greater suburban sprawl of Colchester, which is confusing for visitors who...

    more
  • Tiptree Jam

    Famous worldwide for its jam, you can visit the museum, jam shop and tearooms for free.There is 61 acres of heath land to explore and it is the largest surviving fragment of heathland in Essex and is a site of special scientific interest.About 10miles from Colchester

    more

Colchester Sports & Outdoors

  • PeterVancouver's Profile Photo

    CJC Judo - Visitors always welcome

    by PeterVancouver Updated Jul 4, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colchester Judo Club (CJC) has been teaching Judo to the residents of Colchester since 1974, welcoming individuals of all abilities and enabling them to sample a unique and enjoyable sport.

    Their mission statement is very simple:

    "We wish to share our love of Judo with others, to teach Judo to a high standard, to maintain a well run non-profit making Club for the benefit of our members, and most importantly to have fun whilst doing so."

    The Club has recently gone from strength to strength with support from the BJA, the coaches and the Club's supporters. They have successfully moved to a new venue, purchased new mats and promoted the Club throughout the local area.

    They offer one of the largest and newest mat areas in the local area, based in a bright and modern dojo with excellent facilities, including plenty of free parking.


    Colchester Judo club has been in the town for well over 30 years, and for a good number of these earlier years, was under instruction and development by Dave Greenall and Jack Garrington and held at the Sports Centre in Cowdray Avenue. Two of the most influential instructors through these years was Gary Martina who coached the childrens elite squad and Dave Martin 6th Dan and who was, up to retiring from refereeing in 2011, Britain's most highly ranked IJF referee and who is currently the senior coach of Ipswich Judo Club. The current senior Sensei of CJC is the very welcoming Tony Boyd who took over the instruction of the club from Dave's son, Cliff Greenall at the turn of the Millenium
    Regular training sessions are held in a recently built activity room on the St. Mary's site, with ample free parking facilities and an extensive mat area covering an impressive 120 Square Metres, in a striking blue and yellow.

    The Club has Sport England Bronze Clubmark and SportSX accreditation, CRB checked instructors who regularly attend courses to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of our members is observed.

    Visitors are always welcome to the Dojo which can be found at their new address of St. Mary's School, 91 Lexden Road, Colchester CO3 3RB. For times and dates see website

    Equipment: If no Judo gear, an old sweat, or T shirt is fine with old track suit pants to try out this great sport

    Tony Boyd & me prior to our grey hair setting in!

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Colchester Favorites

  • A centre for education...

    With a growing population that has passed a million people, it should come as no surprise that Colchester is the locus of local education, with a catchment area of students to its schools & colleges, of 20+miles...Being within easy distance of Parkeston, by rail, Colchester can be considered an international location for providing education, with...

    more
  • Jumbo!

    Jumbo is the name for the giant water tower built at Colchester's Balkerne Gate, which marks the town centre from faraway...The tower took 20 months in order to build, & was completed in 1883The 4-legged main structure of the tower supporting the cast iron tank, required 1 200 000 bricks, with 819 tons of cement & stone, in order to hold it...

    more
  • Castle Park...

    Colchester's Castle Park is the town's best feature - carefully laid-out gardens around the Norman keep, with extensive grounds leading into Lower Castle Park, which incorporate trees & flowing water, as well as a model boating lake...A Victorian-era park, it has 2 levels, Upper Castle Park - Avignon Gardens to 0ld Roman Wall, covering an area of...

    more

Instant Answers: Colchester

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

14 travelers online now

Comments

Map of Colchester

View all Colchester hotels