Colchester has the distinction of being the “historic” of numerous things. It possesses the ancient town walls in Britain and is the oldest recorded city. After Boudicca raided the area, the Romans constructed them, and a meter of the wall can still be seen today.
Colchester and its environs provide diverse activities, sights, and unique discovery sites. You’ll find a variety of museums and galleries in the town centre, nestled amid the numerous old buildings and heritage sites with terrific entertainment and fantastic shopping opportunities, and you might want to consider staying longer.
In this article, you’ll learn about amusing things to do in Colchester and some of the best restaurants where you can enjoy a meal with your family and kids.
1. An Introduction to Colchester
Colchester is a medieval market town which is located in Essex, England. It stands on the location of Camulodunum, the first significant Roman city in Britain and its temporary capital.
This place has everything you’d expect from a small English town. Also, the Essex-based city in Britain (approximately 5th century) is brimming with fascinating relics from its illustrious few must-see features, including a colossal Norman castle, vast Roman walls, and well-preserved timber dwellings.
Colchester has a long and illustrious history, and its many well-known residents replace the existing ones. Furthermore, it was the birthplace, home, and sometimes death place of several notable people, ranging from historical characters to modern-day household names.
Emperor Claudius led his forces into Camulodunum (the Roman name for Colchester), and Boudicca (or Boadicea), who destroyed Roman Colchester, are the two names that always come in the early history of Colchester.
Additionally, Painter John Constable and the 17th-century author Daniel Defoe contributed to Colchester’s history with their excellent work. This place is also the home of Blur, a well-known adversary of the British pop scene.
2. 9 Best Things to Do in Colchester
Here is a list of the things that you can consider while visiting here.
2.1. Colchester Castle
The castle provides a magnificent backdrop for many photographs and serves as a reminder of Colchester’s extraordinary history. Its Norman keep is Europe’s most prominent and best-preserved example.
This museum, housed within the castle, covers items from its illustrious past. Here, you’ll also find a shop offering numerous products inspired by Roman objects.
To explore the medieval times of Colchester, you’ll get a tablet. On that device, you’ll get a glimpse of the chapel, prison cells, remains of the Claudis temple, and many more.
2.2. Castle Park
The magnificent Victorian Park surrounding Colchester Castle is not to be missed. These gorgeous grounds, known for their lush foliage, vibrant blooms, and picturesque lake, have hosted numerous events.
This 11-hectare park contains over 2000 years of history neatly packed. It’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations in town.
There’s always something going on at this fun place, from residents picnicking on weekends to wedding receptions taking pictures to crowds gathered for music or firework celebrations.
Furthermore, there’s a cafe in Castle Park where you can relax and have tea or coffee by enjoying nature around you.
2.3. Colchester Arts Centre
You won’t be able to guess this beautiful little church’s inner offerings from the outside. The distinctive Colchester Arts Centre, a centre of enjoyment for the entire society, presents activities for each aged person.
This place is housed in a historic church with a fascinating past. Also, you’ll see the architecture of St Mary’s at the Walls with the blend of fifteenth-century and Victorian, accompanied by Roman tiles apparent in some areas.
After the Boudican revolt devastated much of Roman Colchester, the church was built beside the Roman Wall that encloses Colchester Town Centre.
Depending on when you arrive, you may find a local farmers market, a teen dance party, a comedy event, and several other kinds of programmes. This venue has around 300-400 seats for audience. Therefore, book tickets from its official website if you want to attend any programme.
Inside these holy walls, you’ll discover a stage, cutting-edge sound and lighting equipment, and an unbeatable funky vibe. The ornate stained-glass windows lend an ethereal quality to the space.
2.4. Highwoods Country Park
As you enter the vast expanse of Highwoods Country Park, your problems will evaporate. Stroll through woodlands overflowing with bluebells in the spring, relax in a wildflower meadow or go fishing in the lake. Whatever activity you select, you’ll enjoy decompressing in this beautiful setting.
This park also offers educational information on distinct habitats. Therefore, this place is ideal for kids to learn about grassland, wetlands, woodland, pasture, and many more.
Highwoods was designated as an Approved Country Park in 2012, which implies it is free to attend, well-staffed, has adjacent bathrooms, and has a primarily natural terrain. On-site amenities include three parks, a visitor centre, and a gift shop (which sells tea and coffee).
2.5. Beth Chatto’s Plants & Gardens
The inspirational, award-winning, and world-renowned gardens of Beth Chatto are dubbed as one of the most critical gardens.
In the 1960s, Beth took on a complex site that was boggy in some places and amazingly dry and unsuitable in others and set out to create the most beautiful garden possible, based on her ecologically sustainable planting principles of ‘Right plant, right place,’ or green crops where they are happiest.
Beth and her colleagues transformed the property into the Gravel Garden, Water Garden, Reservoir Garden, Woodland Garden, and Scree Garden, among other informal gardens.
It is a large nursery with over 2,000 different types of plants and bulbs, primarily herbaceous. Here, you’ll also see a gift shop and a teahouse offering local produce and light refreshments. The tearoom, gift shop, and nursery are all free to visit. The gardens’ admission should be booked online.
2.6. Day Pond State Park
Day Pond State Park, also known as DEEP, is a 180-acre public recreation facility in the Connecticut town of Colchester. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection manages the state park, which borders the Salmon River State Forest.
Hiking, swimming, shoreline fishing, picnics, and mountain biking are all available at the park. This State park is modest but centred around a lovely pond. A tiny roped-off beach area is ideal for young children.
A trekking track circles the pond, and longer trails lead back into the forest. Here, you can walk down into the trees to finish the process around the bridge. Because of the bridge structure, it pays to be somewhat agile when stepping off the hiking trails.
2.7. Munnings Art Museum
Dedham, a little community 7 miles north of Colchester, is home to the Munnings Art Museum. The scenery around this museum is a piece of artwork in and of itself, having been made renowned by John Constable’s pastoral paintings.
The Munnings Art Museum is located at Castle House, once the residence of Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) and his wife, Violet. Munnings lived and worked in this exquisite Tudor and Georgian building for over forty years until his death in 1959, describing it as “the abode of my dreams.”
The house, garden, and artist’s studio are on forty acres of lovely countryside on the boundary of Suffolk and Essex in Dedham Vale.
This museum has the most extensive works by this renowned East Anglian painter and former Royal Academy President (1944-1949).
2.8. Roman Circus
Despite its long history, Colchester’s impressive Roman Circus Walk was uncovered in 2004. This is Britain’s only Roman Circus, an oval track for chariot racing.
The circus, which formerly held 8,000 spectators, is estimated to have been built in the early 2nd century AD. You can also relax at their cafe, which offers home-baked light food items and refreshments to their customers.
2.9. Colchester Natural History Museum
Inside the All Saints Church lies the Colchester Natural History Museum. The vast, open areas, Gothic exterior, and Norman nave offer an authentic, old sense to the displays, making it an exciting location for a museum.
The museum is a popular destination for families with small children, with various hands-on displays that make learning entertaining. The museum opened in 1958 and focuses on the natural world in the nearby northeast Essex region.
Many of the exhibits also focus on current wildlife threats in the region. The creatures on the show are made out of actual animal skin, hence why they appear so natural. You can also check out other city outdoor activities with your kids.
3. Famous Kid-Friendly Restaurants
After enjoying the outdoor activities with your kids, you cannot ignore that they might be tired. So, you must be thinking of relaxing and chilling. But sometimes, it’s challenging to manage; therefore, we have listed some restaurants you can enjoy with your kids.
3.1. The Wooden Fender
It is a welcoming pub with a good cuisine reputation and fresh food menus. This welcoming dining restaurant serves fresh, home-cooked food with a diverse menu that includes gluten-free and vegan options.
The Wooden Fender is a beautiful country bar in Ardleigh, Colchester, offering classic beers since the 17th century. They have an extensive assortment of lagers, beers, and over 30 gins.
You can have a good time in this place as they have a large garden with seating for outdoor eating and a Children’s play area to make them enjoy. So go ahead and have your family time at this renowned place.
3.2. The Bull
The Bull is a “warm, comfortable, family-run pub” serving outstanding meals and excellent service. All of the meals are prepared from scratch using only the finest ingredients.
The staff here is friendly and helpful. Children are given crayons to keep them occupied, and some parents note that their children received a special gift when they were born.
The personnel was beneficial and attentive, and they went above and beyond for us. They were terrific with the kids and even brought toys for the baby.
If you’re looking for something lighter, they have a fancy meal for the dining and a bar menu. Furthermore, you’ll get a weekly rotating set menu on Sundays, including the delectable roast dinners.
They also offer a two- or three-course option for your children: a tiny Sunday roast and some colouring to keep them occupied while you enjoy your meal.
3.3. Dog and Pheasant
Dog and Pheasant is a historic tavern with a modern dining area, events, and superb food back to 1750 that attracts visitors. There is a nice assortment of children’s meals, and the staff is kind to all families, including large ones.
Warm, welcoming outpost serving British comfort food and a large beer garden and children’s play area. There’s also a beautiful beer garden where the youngsters can unwind. They’re also quite accommodating.
3.4. The Anchor at Rowhedge
The Anchor is ideal for unwinding with delicious food, wine, and good company. It is located on the banks of the River Colne in Rowhedge, approximately three miles from the centre of Colchester.
It mixes the best traditions of a traditional English pub with a pleasant and informal restaurant, providing fine ales and classic cuisine while overlooking the water.
Private gatherings are also offered here with complete packages. From hosting events to arranging food, you’ll get them all.
Whether you’re stopping in for a drink, eating lunch on the riverside terrace, or arranging the year’s biggest party, the Anchor is the place to be.
Colchester is a place of old natural beauty with many offerings. This place will give you a great experience during your journey, and you’ll love the fantastic food and gestures of the famous restaurants, too.
Apart from exploring, you can do many thrilling activities here. Therefore, planning a trip to Colchester with your kids and family will never make you regret it.