Jackson & Co’s Top Five Colchester Town Centre Attractions
Published at: 18/10/2016
Whether you are new to Colchester, just visiting, or alread living here and want to reacquaint yourself with the town, here are Jackson & Co's estate agents Top Five Tips tips for attractions to visit in and around the town centre.
Colchester Castle Museum
The construction of Colchester Castle was ordered by William the Conqueror after he invaded England in 1066. Building work began in 1069 and was completed sometime around 1100. The castle is built on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, built by the Romans when Colchester was their capital of Britain.
These days the castle is home to the Castle Museum which takes visitors through 2000 years of the town's history and showcases such important finds as the Colchester Vase, the Colchester Mercury statuette, and most recently added the Fenwick Collection unearthed under the former Williams & Griffin store in the High Street during development work to create the stunning new Fenwick store.
Disabled visitors and the carers receive reduced admission, the castle is fully wheelchair accessible and has access for visual and hearing impediments and disabled parking.
GO4 Café & Market
The GO4 Café & Market has its home in Holy Trinity Church in Trinity Street in the heart of Colchester's town centre. Holy Trinity Church is the only Saxon building still standing in Colchester's historic town centre and the oldest building that is still in everyday use. Within its walls the indoor market offers antiques, vinyl records, crafts and prints, retro fashion and much, much more, whilst at the café you can enjoy barista fresh-ground coffee and light lunches, along with home-made pastries and cakes.
GO4 Café & Market is a social enterprise that creates volunteering, work experience, training and employment opportunities for unemployed people.
The café and market is wheelchair accessible.
Roman Circus Centre
The Roman Circus was discovered in 2005 and is the only known Roman circus in Britain. It was a monumental structure built in the early 2nd century AD and may have seated up to 8,000 spectators and was probably in use for about 150 years as a venue for spectator sports, including chariot-racing. The Roman circus site and visitor centre include outdoor and indoor displays and includes a cafe.
The Roman Circus and Café are wheelchair accessible.
St. Botolph's Priory
An area that is often overlooked by residents and visitors to Colchester, St Botolph's Priory was the first and leading Augustinian convent in England, founded at the end of the eleventh century from the Anglo-Saxon minster community of Colchester, until its dissolution in 1536, making it of national importance. The priory is an impressive example of early Norman architecture, built in flint and reused Roman brick, displaying massive circular pillars and round arches with an elaborate west front. It was badly damaged by cannon fire during the Civil War siege of 1648 and only the ruined remains of the nave survive today.
The Beth Chatto Gardens
The Beth Chatto Gardens were created by Beth Chatto OBE, an award-winning plantswoman and author of several books about gardening.
Construction began in 1960 on land attached to the Chatto family home. The gardens comprise a varied range of planting sites over five acres, including dry, sun baked gravel, water and marginal planting, woodland, shady, heavy clay and alpine planting, and now include the Gravel Garden, Woodland Garden, Water Garden, Long Shady Walk, Reservoir Garden and Scree Garden. Beth Chatto, now 93, still lives in her house in the midst of the gardens and continues to work with her team developing them and can often be seen around the gardens in her mobility scooter.
The Beth Chatto Gardens are fully wheelchair accessible and free admission is offered to a companion of visually impaired visitors.