OUT AND ABOUT

PLACES TO VISIT

 

Colchester – Britain’s oldest recorded town, with a colourful history dating back over two thousand years.

 

Coggeshall – a small market town known for its 300 listed buildings and formerly extensive antique trade. A market has been run every week on Market Hill since 1256, when a charter to do so was granted by Henry III.

 

Colne Valley – This area is very beautiful and lovely walking country.  It is also steeped in railway history. You can’t miss the impressive Chappel Viaduct and beautiful river.

 

Constable Country / Dedham Vale – The Dedham Vale has the official status of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is perfect cycling and walking country and is the only way to really appreciate Constable’s landscapes, taking in scenes and skies so favoured by some of Britain’s leading artists.

 

Mersea Island –  this is the most easterly inhabited island in the United Kingdom.  Mersea Island is a beautiful, unique and accessible tourist attraction famous for oysters, its unique setting and friendly community.

 

ARTS

 

Mercury Theatre – The range of productions at this theatre is extensive. From pantomime to Shakespeare, from Mercury Company productions to travelling productions, from productions in the main theatre to productions in the studio theatre, from conventional seating layouts to theatre in the round, this theatre has it all.

 

Firstsite – a national leader in commissioning new art, providing innovative learning opportunities, and supporting the professional development of local and regional artists.

 

Colchester Arts Centre – provides a place for people to come and experience a wide variety of live arts performances in a beautiful, atmospheric setting.

 

NATURE

 

Essex Wildlife Trust – The County’s leading conservation charity.  There are 7 Visitor Centres, 87 Nature Reserves, 2 Nature Parks and The  Trust manages 7,250 acres of land.

 

RSPB Old Marsh Hall – Embanked from the sea over 400 years ago, Old Hall Marshes was one of seven blocks of semi-natural grassland remaining in Essex.  It has developed into a series of outstanding habitats and received several protective designations.

 

SHOPS

 

Freeport – An outlet centre with over 85 famous named stores offering up to 60% off every day, including M&S, Nike, Gap, Home Bargains and Costa.  Free parking.

 

Williams & Griffin - An award-winning department store.  Six floors offering everything from fashion to furniture. World famous brands.  The latest must-haves.  Superb gifts.

 

GARDENS

 

The Beth Chatto Gardens – Covering 6 acres, these beautiful gardens have become world famous. Original problem areas have been transformed into gravel, water and woodland gardens by the careful selection of plants chosen for each habitat.

 

Marks Hall – Gardens and Arboretum, feature landscaped woodland walks and footpaths, with vistas across the lakes to the Millenium Walk and the 18th Century Walled Garden.  The Visitor Centre offers a tea room, gift shop and plant centre.

 

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

 

Colchester Castle – The largest Norman Keep in Europe. Superb Roman displays, hands-on activities and tours. An award-winning experience of 2000 years of history. Exciting events all year round.

 

Colchester Zoo – one of Europe’s finest, this award-winning zoo is essential for a fun-packed full day out

 

Tiptree Jam Museum – Tiptree is the home of the Wilkin family – where, from 1885, the first Tiptree jam was made. Delightful museum, tea room and gift shop.

 

Colne Valley Railway – Sample the atmosphere and take a ride on an award winning period country railway. A pretty line, almost a mile long, with relocated station buildings, signal boxes and bridges all lovingly restored and rebuilt.

 

Hollytrees Museum – Three centuries of fascinating toys, costume and arts displayed in an attractive Georgian town house from 1718. Parkland children’s play area, shop, sensory garden. Free entry.

 

Natural History Museum – Discover an interesting ‘hands-on’ perspective on the local natural environment from The Ice Age right up to today.

 

St Botolph’s Priory  - An impressive example of early Norman architecture, built in flint and re-used Roman brick, the church displays massive circular pillars and round arches and an elaborate west front.

 

High Woods Country Park – Waymarked paths lead you through bluebell woods with glimpses of the lake and wildflower meadows with great views of Colchester.

 

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