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.
The picturesque town of Wivenhoe is just a short 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 Town Centre, Essex
One of the many highlights is Colchester Castle, the biggest Norman keep in Europe, reopened on 2 May 2014, after an intensive programme of improvement works to the museum.
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.
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.
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.
Art Exchange Gallery
The University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex
Art lovers are spoilt for choice in Colchester. Just a few metres from the hotel is the University of Essex’s acclaimed Art Exchange Gallery with new exhibitions throughout the year.
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.
Green Island Gardens
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.
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
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