Exploring the Charming Town of Colchester: A Travel Guide for the Perfect Getaway

Once serving as the capital of Roman Britain, Colchester is one of the oldest towns in the United Kingdom. It was previously known as “Camulodunum” and is a history lover’s dream, with ancient castle walls and Roman mosaics to discover. Add to that Colchester’s beautifully designed zoo, gorgeous gardens and recreational parks, and there’s something for the whole family to discover. 

So why not plan your next escape to Essex and discover what makes Colchester so special. At https://rentola.co.uk, you can easily find a holiday rental in Colchester to meet your needs, whether you’re looking for a cosy, couple’s hideout or space for the kids to run around. The town’s compact size means you can easily walk from most accommodations to the main attractions, which include everything from engaging museums to sprawling country parks. 

Visit Colchester Castle Museum

Boasting the largest Norman keep in Europe, Colchester Castle was constructed in the 11th century on the foundations of a Roman temple. It’s now home to interactive displays that bring the castle’s history to life and impressive exhibits that include the Colchester Gladiator Vase. Not to miss is the Fenwick Treasure, a hoard of Roman jewellery that was discovered beneath a department store on Colchester’s High Street. From the top of the keep, there are sweeping views across Castle Park, a Victorian-designed green space with a children’s playground, a boating lake and a miniature golf course. 

Walk along the Roman walls

Colchester features one of the longest and best-preserved Roman ruins in the United Kingdom, a rectangular-shaped wall that was constructed in the 1st century AD following the destruction of “Camulodunum”. Composed of mudstone boulders, the walls stretch for 2.8 kilometres in length and rise up to six metres along the northern and eastern sides of Castle Park. Follow the circuit walking trail that leads along the base of the walls and past Balkerne Gate, which once served as the main entrance to the town. 

Wildlife spot at Colchester Zoo

Established in 1963, Colchester Zoo is a beloved local attraction that is home to more than 250 different animal species. It is designed around various themed habitats that include the Butterfly Glade, the Wilds of Asia and the Elephant Kingdom. You can get up close to South American sea lions at Playa Patagonia and Aldabra giant tortoises in the Walking Giants exhibit before seeing Bornean orangutans in Rajang’s Forest. Kids will love the hands-on “Sensation Station” and the daily encounters featuring meerkats, red pandas and Komodo dragons. 

Indulge your green thumb at Beth Chatto’s

Created by the renowned gardener, Beth Chatto, this series of landscaped gardens is a must-visit for green thumbs. It is laid out across seven acres of a disused fruit farm and was designed with an ethos of “right plant, right place”. In addition to the gravel and scree gardens, there’s a picturesque water garden and a shaded woodland. Plants propagated in the gardens are for sale at the onsite nursery while the tearoom offers hot drinks and light meals. 

Enjoy a picnic in High Woods Country Park

Located just a stone’s throw from the Colchester railway station is High Woods Country Park, a local beauty spot that encompasses wildflower-filled meadows, woodlands and lakes. It provides plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting along its walking and cycling trails, as well as offering superb views across Colchester. Kids can let loose in the adventure playground and there are several scenic spots to relax over a picnic lunch. If you don’t want to bring your own, the onsite cafe does delicious meals. 

Learn about stag beetles at the Natural History Museum

Occupying a former church, Colchester’s Natural History Museum offers a wealth of information about the unusual creatures that once roamed the area. Learn about the earthquake that rocked Colchester in 1884 and the drowned world beneath the North Sea, as well as the environmental changes that have taken place here since the Ice Age. Highlights include the display dedicated to stag beetles and the interactive microscope, as well as the recreated badger den that kids can crawl through. 

See what’s happening at Firstsite

Housed within a striking building designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, Firstsite is a unique art museum that forms part of Colchester’s “Cultural Quarter”. While it has no permanent collection of its own, Firstsite hosts changing exhibitions featuring works by leading names. Previous artists showcased at the museum include Andy Warhol, Ai Weiwei and Barbara Hepworth. Keep an eye out for the Roman mosaic that was discovered during the building’s construction. 

With its close proximity to London and the towns of England’s southeast, Colchester is the perfect road-trip destination, whether you’ve only got a weekend or an entire week up your sleeve.

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I'm Hayley and this is us; working parents to three tiny wild ones. Whether it's travel, food, lifestyle or just a healthy dose of parenting reality, there's something for everyone here. So sit back, get comfy and start scrolling!

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