Explore the Area

what's on in and around Colchester

Colchester is Britain’s oldest recorded town and lies just one hour from London and just a few miles from the coast.

What to do in Colchester:

Video produced by the University of Essex.


Colchester, Essex
The picturesque town of Wivenhoe is a 20 minute brisk walk away from Wivenhoe House. Take a stroll along the waterfront to the beautiful town and explore some of Wivenhoe’s unique shops and cafés.

Colchester Castle

Colchester Town Centre, Essex
One of the many highlights is Colchester Castle, the biggest Norman keep in Europe, reopened after an intensive programme of improvement works to the museum

Colchester Zoo

Stanway, Colchester, Essex
With more than 270 species spread across 60 acres, award-winning Colchester Zoo is a must-do for any family visiting the area. In celebration of the opening of their new ‘Bear of the Rising Sun’ enclosure, 2014 has been designated the Year of the Bear with a number of special events throughout the year.


Dedham, Essex
If Wivenhoe House inspires you to go deeper into Constable country, head to Dedham, where the great artist went to school. The High Street is lined with Georgian-fronted houses, old inns and an arts and crafts centre.

Flatford Mill

Flatford Mill, Suffolk

Flatford Mill is a Grade I listed watermill on the River Stour at Flatford in East Bergholt, Suffolk, England. According to the date-stone the mill was built in 1733, but some of the structure may be earlier. Attached to the mill is a 17th-century miller’s cottage which is also Grade I listed.


Lavenham, Suffolk 

Lavenham is a village, civil parish and electoral ward in the Babergh district, in the county of Suffolk, England. It is noted for its Guildhall, Little Hall, 15th-century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walks. In the medieval period it was among the twenty wealthiest settlements in England.


Mersea Island

Mersea Island is the most easterly inhabited island in the UK, situated off the coast of Essex and 9 miles southeast of Colchester.

There are an abundance of things to do on Mersea Island and with the island covering approximately 7 square miles, you will never be bored by the beautiful scenery that awaits you.

Jimmy’s Farm


Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park is fun for all the family, with something for everyone!

Working farm, wildlife park, restaurant, tea rooms, wedding venue, events, education hub, birthday party location, farm shop, butchery, shops, corporate events!

Tiptree Tea Room, Museum and Jam Shop

Tiptree, Colchester

Most people who have had a cream tea or stayed at a hotel around England will be aware of the brand Wilkin & Sons, which has been making preserves, jams and marmalades in the village of Tiptree since 1885. Queen Elizabeth II paid the factory a visit when the company celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2010. You can make the short drive from Wivenhoe House for lunch and tea.

The factory shop has special treats like strawberry and champagne jam or salted caramel spread.

The jam museum at the site has vintage machinery, historic document, photographs accumulated over the company’s 130+ years.

Bringing Nature to YOU

Chris Gibson Wildlife

If you, with your family group or a few friends, would like to explore nature in and around our beautiful little town of Wivenhoe, why not book a tailor-made guided walk (from one hour to a whole day) with our local expert all-round naturalist Dr Chris Gibson who can show you the interesting trees and fungi in the parkland surrounding Wivenhoe House; the special plants and bugs of the local area; or the delightful birds of the estuary. In short whatever interests you the most. (NB no transport, or refreshments, provided.)

Family (up to 2 adults plus up to 3 children) £15 per hour | Adults (up to 6) £5 per person per hour (minimum £15 per hour).

Depending on the current Covid advice, larger groups may be possible.

Please get in touch if you are interested, via Chris’ website www.chrisgibsonwildlife.co.uk, email chrismothman@btinternet.com or phone 07503240387.

Layer Marney Tower

Layer Marney, Colchester, Essex
Step forward 500 years and visit Layer Marney Tower, built in the reign of Henry VIII and visited by the monarch himself and his daughter Elizabeth I. Attracting visitors from all over the world to see the impressive architecture, gardens and landscape, the Tower reopened on 30 March 2014.

The Beth Chatto Gardens

Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex
Just four miles from Colchester are The Beth Chatto Gardens, a beautiful tranquil haven to delight any garden lover. Set up in 1960 by Beth Chatto and her late husband Andrew, the garden features many unusual plants and Beth Chatto has published books and lectured around the world sharing her love and knowledge of planting.

Green Island Gardens

Ardleigh, Colchester
20 acres of professionally designed gardens laid out from 1996 onwards within woodland that was destroyed in the 1987 hurricane, now planted for all-year interest. It has a water garden, a pond, a bamboo dell, a Japanese garden, woodland gardens, a ‘seaside’ garden, gravel gardens, and much else besides.  The fluid design, leads you along quite naturally, and the spacious island beds, planted with a large number of herbaceous plants and shrubs many of borderline hardiness which can be seen thriving within the Islands unique microclimate. Seldom does a designer’s garden display so much plantsmanship.

Lakeside Theatre

Within the lush green grounds of Wivenhoe Park lies an urban jungle of adventure, a place of learning, curiosity and discovery. This place is the University of Essex and within its labyrinthine walls next to a beautiful lake there is an underground delight that has been described as Colchester’s best kept secret. This place is Lakeside Theatre.

Roman River Music Festival

Various beautiful locations in North Essex
International music festival featuring world-class musicians in intimate and charismatic venues. The core programme is classical plus opera, theatre, electronic, jazz, folk, pop and world music. Tickets (£6 – £36) need to be booked in advance online  or by phone 01206 729 356.

Concerts in July for the summer mini-festival, and from mid-September until the beginning of October for the main festival.

Munnings Art Museum

Dedham, Essex

The Munnings Art Museum is at Castle House, the former home of the artist Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) and his wife, Violet. Described by Munnings as ‘the house of my dreams’, he lived and worked in this elegant Tudor and Georgian building for over forty years until his death in 1959. The House, garden, artist’s studio and Garden Café are set in forty acres of beautiful countryside in the Dedham Vale on the borders of Suffolk and Essex. The museum owns the largest collection of art works by this prolific East Anglian painter and former President of the Royal Academy (1944-1949)

Much more can be found on www.visitcolchester.com

Mercury Theatre


The Mercury Theatre is a theatre in the centre of Colchester, producing highly regarded original work under the title “Made in Colchester” and also receiving touring shows. The theatre has two auditoria, and is led by Tracey Childs, Steve Mannix and Ryan McBryde.

It has recently undergone an exciting refurbishment.

Wivenhoe House friends…

Boutique Hotel 

Exquisite Essex 

The Hotel Guru 

Britain’s Finest 

Cool Places

Best Loved

Essex Life 


find us, however you travel
By car:

When using a SATNAV please enter the location WIVENHOE, Colchester (do not use a postcode as this will direct you to the wrong side of Wivenhoe Park).

Take the exit marked Colchester (A133)
Follow the A133 towards Clacton
Please follow signs for WIVENHOE
You will see a black sign on your right which says, ‘Wivenhoe House & The Brasserie’, turn right here into PARK ROAD
The entrance for Wivenhoe House is shared with the University of Essex, but PARK ROAD leads you through Wivenhoe Park and you will be able to see our beautiful house from the road on your right
CONTINUE to follow the signs for WIVENHOE HOUSE and it will lead you to us.

If you would like any help with directions, please do call us on 01206 863666 and a member of our team will be able to assist you.

By train:

Colchester station, Colchester Town station, Wivenhoe station and Hythe stations are all between 10-15 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Trains run between London (Liverpool Street) and Colchester station every 10-20 minutes. The journey takes around an hour. Also connect with Colchester from Norwich, Ipswich, Felixstowe & Harwich. Some trains from London (Liverpool Street) also stop at Wivenhoe Station. When travelling from the Clacton/Walton direction, alight at Wivenhoe or Hythe Stations.

By plane:

Stansted airport is approximately 45 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Helicopter pad coordinates are 603200/223900.