Everything you need to know when you visit Colchester


Colchester attractions

If you’re visiting Britain’s oldest town, why not stay in its oldest hotel?

Located in Essex, Colchester is built on the foundations of an ancient Roman temple, which means there are historical sites at every turn. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to find modern day fun here, as shopping, gastronomy and entertainment are high up on the to-do list too. Our experts at the hotel have put together this Colchester guide for you, as you can see, there’s plenty of things to do!

Visiting a town as old as this requires comfortable shoes so you can really go exploring, but that also means having somewhere comfortable and chilled out to retire to at the end of the day. The Rose and Crown Hotel is no ordinary hotel, for starters there’s a 700 year old prison in the basement. If you love history, you’re literally going to be sleeping on top of it!

Things to do with kids in Colchester

If you’re exploring the history and fun of Colchester with children, you’re not going to be short of attractions! There are so many experiences to fill their minds and help them let off some steam, hopefully resulting in a good night’s sleep! There are plenty of free things to do in Colchester with kids, but even the paid activities don’t have to break the bank.

Travel back in time at Colchester Castle Museum

10 minute walk from The Rose and Crown Hotel

Colchester Castle MuseumWe already know that Colchester is Britain’s oldest town, so why not head to see one of the oldest fortifications, Colchester Castle? There aren’t many kids who don’t love running around a castle and enjoying the historic scenery around them. And even the older children should enjoy learning all about the history.

This is the largest Norman castle in the whole of Europe and it’s actually built on ancient foundations of when Colchester was the Roman capital of the country. The museum has plenty of history and collections to learn about, and you can even learn how to steer a Roman chariot!


Say hello to wildlife at Colchester Zoo

15 minute drive from The Rose and Crown Hotel

Everyone loves a day at the zoo, right? And Colchester Zoo is one of the best around! If you time your visit right, you’ll be able to watch feeding sessions and talk to the keepers about the different animals calling the zoo home. Check out the Komodo dragons and head to the Kingdom of the Wild with the huge African savannah, home to giraffes, rhinos and zebras, to name a few. Before you go, be sure to head into the tunnel and watch the sea lions swimming over the top of you.

One of the best Colchester attractions, the zoo is a must if you’re looking for things to do with kids in Colchester. And if you need a hotel near Colchester Zoo, The Rose and Crown Hotel is just up the road, making it the perfect place to stay.


Walk The Brambly Hedge Trail

20 minute drive from The Rose and Crown Hotel

When the weather is good, there is no better way to spend a family day out than to wander around the Brambly Hedge Trail, spotting characters from the Brambly Hedge series along the way. With plenty of space to roam and run, trees, flowers, plants, and fresh air in abundance, the Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre is your starting point, taking you through this beautiful nature reserve.

Unusual things to do in Colchester

Do you love visiting places which feel like living, breathing windows to the past? If so, Colchester is the place for you! Historical places usually have plenty of quirky and unusual things to see and do and Colchester is no different. If you’re keen to fill up your social media feed with weird and wonderful rather than plain and boring, check out these things to do in Colchester town centre and beyond.

Visit the hotel bar and drink on top of history

The Rose And Crown BarHaving a drink in The Rose And Crown Hotel bar isn’t just any old experience, you’re actually sitting on top of a 700 year old prison, right beneath your feet!

This is a quaint and rustic bar which is ideal for chilling out and enjoying a few beverages (in front of a real log fire if you fancy it!). You’ll find an eclectic range of chilled beers and ales on tap, plus an impressive collection of premium spirits, liquors and mixers.


Play golf with… a frisbee?

10 minute drive from The Rose and Crown Hotel

Yes, you read that right! University of Essex has a campus at Wivenhoe Park which is pretty in itself, but is also home to a rather unusual but extremely fun activity of golf frisbee. This 18 hole course is the ideal way to try something a little different. Certainly fitting the bill of one of the best things to do in Colchester summer holidays, you can head here at any time and enjoy the fun of these 200 acres of beautiful parkland.

If you’re wondering how you play golf frisbee, you simply aim for the chained baskets and hope for the best!


Be a little confused at Talliston House & Gardens

50 minute drive from The Rose and Crown Hotel

At first, it looks like you’re walking into a regular council house in Essex, but when you venture a little further you enter into a completely different world! No, you’re not in Narnia, but you’re somewhere around the globe which feels a million miles away from Essex, for sure.

Talliston House is home to 13 different rooms which all have different themes of time and place. If you want to travel through time and space without actually having to do so, this is the ideal place to go. It’s a truly quirky experience, and a very unusual place to visit during your holiday.

Things to do in Colchester at night

Colchester might be historic, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of options for night-time enjoyment! Colchester has different types of nightlife on offer; despite the fact that most nightlife is quite laid back and quaint, you will find clubs and cocktail bars too.

Sample Seafood at Mersea Island

20 minute drive from The Rose and Crown Hotel

OystersMersea Island is famous for its oysters – they’ve been produced here since the days of the Roman Empire, so sampling these local delights is a must-do! If oysters aren’t your thing, there are countless other delicious seafood treats on the menus of many top-class restaurants around here and it’s a great night out with a difference.

You can reach Mersea Island in just over 20 minutes by car, it’s just nine miles away. It’s also a very scenic drive too, so take your time and enjoy the view!


Dance the night away at ATIK

18 minute walk from The Rose and Crown Hotel

If you want to enjoy a nightclub experience in Colchester, ATIK gives you a high-end experience with plenty of fun to be had. Regularly hosting big named DJs and themed parties, ATIK will certainly give you a night to remember and if you check online before your visit you’ll be able to choose a theme which suits your tastes.

ATIK is only 1.5 miles away from The Rose and Crown Hotel, but if you need a taxi then you’ll find plenty outside the club and surrounding High Street.


Catch a show at Charter Hall

20 minute walk from The Rose and Crown Hotel

Charter Hall is one of Colchester’s many event venues and regularly hosts big named artists in music, drama and comedy. Jimmy Carr is one of the big names who has played Charter Hall, so be sure to check out the itinerary of events before your visit to catch one of your favourite artists or entertainment figures. This is one of the best things to do in Colchester in the evening, for sure.

If you’re looking for a hotel near Charter Hall, The Rose and Crown Hotel is easily within walking distance, making us the perfect place to stay if you’re watching a show.

Free things to do in Colchester

There are many romantic things to do in Colchester and downright fun things which don’t cost the Earth, and some are totally free! If you want to enjoy your time in Colchester without breaking the bank, check out these suggestions.

Follow the Family Heritage Treasure Trail

14 minute walk from The Rose and Crown Hotel

Family Heritage Treasure TrailThere are several different routes to choose from, so put on your warm coat and comfortable shoes then head off on the Family Heritage Treasure Trail. You even get a prize at the end!

The trails take you through some of the most historic and beautiful sights in Colchester, including Roman ruins. Kids will learn plenty of new things to tell their friends, you’ll get some exercise, and everyone will be able to fill up their social media feeds with new photos!

The starting point of the regular trail is Hollytrees Museum, which is only half a mile away from The Rose and Crown Hotel.


Explore history at The Natural History Museum

14 minute walk from The Rose and Crown Hotel

Colchester’s version of the Natural History Museum takes you from the Ice Age, right up to the modern day. Free to enter, this is a great way to spend an hour or two, and a perfect thing to do in Colchester when it’s raining!

There are also many interactive displays, so you can get a hands-on view of history and really learn something new during your time. There’s even a free garden trail outside the museum for the sunnier days.


Breathe in the fresh air at High Woods Country Park

10 minute drive from The Rose and Crown Hotel

High Woods Country Park is the perfect way to grab some fresh air and enjoy the weather. This beautiful conservation area is ideal for walking, cycling or simply taking a picnic and enjoying the scenery. There are fishing opportunities available, however you will need a permit, and a small cafe and restaurant on site for refreshments. Be sure to spot the wildlife milling around and take plenty of photos during your free day out.

Fun things to do in Colchester

Colchester is about history but it’s also about fun – who says that history can’t be fun anyway?! There are plenty of fun things to do in Colchester when it’s raining, when it’s sunny, or even when it’s snowing!

Travel at speed at Rollerworld

2 minute walk from The Rose and Crown Hotel

Roller skatingIf you’ve always loved the idea of going to a roller disco or simply love whizzing around on a pair of skates, Rollerworld is right up your alley!

Ideal for a rainy day or a fun evening out, Rollerworld has themed evenings and a huge skating area which means you’re never going to be crowded. Ideal for families, couples and friends.


Challenge yourself at Escape Colchester

17 minute walk from The Rose and Crown Hotel

If you love games and puzzles, Escape Colchester is a great choice. Ideal for families and couples, or simply groups of friends, this is a themed activity which asks you to solve problems and puzzles every step of the way, in order to find your way out of the issue you’ve stumbled your way into. It’s almost like stepping out of your world and into another, with themes such as wizard and witchcraft and Baker Street.


Seaside fun at Walton Pier

30 minute drive from The Rose and Crown Hotel

What better way to enjoy your holiday than a day by the sea? Walton Pier give you the old-fashioned seaside vibe, with candy floss, fish and chips, and all the fun of the fair. With amusements, tenpin bowling, promenades and plenty of fun to be had, Walton Pier is the ideal day out for families, couples and groups and is open all year round. A perfect day trip out!

History and fun combined!

As you can see, Colchester has more than enough to keep you occupied during your stay, and by combining that with one of our comfortable and relaxing rooms, you’ll certainly have a holiday to remember.

Christmas is a wonderful time to visit Colchester, find out all about the Christmas events that we’re running at our hotel.

With several different suites and room options available at The Rose and Crown Hotel, you’ll find something which suits your needs with ease. With all that exploring to do, you’ll need comfort when the night draws to a close!