Britain's oldest recorded town, Colchester is steeped in history. The Romans, Saxons, Normans and Victorians have all left their mark here, making it a must-visit town for history buffs. That being said, Colchester is a truly modern town with a wide variety of things to see and do. Located near the gateway to East Anglia with its picturesque villages yet only a stone's throw away from the coast, it's the perfect destination for a weekend escape.
Where to stay in Colchester - Wivenhoe House
During our visit to Colchester, we stayed at Wivenhoe House, a 4-star hotel on the grounds of the University of Essex that is run by students undertaking hospitality degrees, a unique concept that I've not seen anywhere else previously. From the check in desk to the waiters, all staff (with the exception of management) are students.
Room options at Wivenhoe House include doubles, suites and luxury suites, to cater for all needs. The hotel is a popular wedding venue and is also a great spot to enjoy a stylish afternoon tea in Colchester.
Upon check in, I heard animated shouting coming from one of the rooms, which I was informed was the popular murder mystery dinner, a fact that was confirmed when I saw a woman in a French maid's outfit and a man dressed as I presume Colonel Mustard, if his uniform was anything to go by!
Our room at Wivenhoe House
We stayed in room 210, a simple and tastefully decorated room overlooking the university's playing field (I'm not into sports, so I couldn't tell you what sport it was for, but it was a playing field nonetheless). My favourite feature of the room was the expansive, cedar timbered balcony (which could have comfortably held 10 people), where I spent my time gazing over the field at the ducks who were wandering around the grounds.
What to see and do in Colchester
There are an abundance of activities to keep you occupied in Colchester including the Colchester Castle and gardens, St. Botolph's Priory, First Site Museum, The Colchester Zoo and The Bourne Mill (a National Trust property) to name a few. If you can't be bothered seeking out specific places, simply enjoy a stroll around the town to see a wealth of architectural and historical delights.
During our visit, we loved taking a peaceful walk in the gorgeous gardens located on the Colchester Castle grounds, which would be perfect for a picnic on a sunny summer's day. Sadly, we couldn't go inside the castle during our visit as a wedding was taking place, but it looked spectacular from the outside!
While taking in the sights, we also walked past the gorgeous St Martin's Church, a redundant Anglican church and Grade II listed building that has an almost ethereal appearance.
Before we knew it, our weekend jaunt was over and it was back to London! Whatever you decide to do during your visit to Colchester, we'd advise that you plan the activities you'd like to do in advance, to ensure you make the most of your visit. If you're not sure where to start, The Colchester Visitor Information Centre (VIC), the tourist office for Colchester which is situated in the heart of Colchester's historic town centre, is the place to start!
For more information visit:
During our visit, we were hosted by Wivenhoe House and Visit Essex. All views opinions and photography are my own.
We've rounded our favourite places to inspire your visit to the United Kingdom.