...more than just Britain's oldest recorded town.
Colchester today is a thriving centre with many great attractions. It is also surrounded by rural landscapes that have inspired some of our country's greatest artists, making it just right for a day trip, short break or family holiday.
Colchester's history is one you can share by visiting the town's award-winning museums, which include collections of international importance. Best known is Colchester Castle Museum, housed in the largest Norman keep in Europe, whose excellent displays and hands-on activities underline the town's importance as the capital of Roman Britain. Please note that the Castle is undergoing major refurbishments and will remain closed until Spring 2014.
Yet Colchester is also very much at the forefront of the contemporary arts. In fact, 2011 saw the opening of a new cultural hotspot, firstsite. This breathtaking new art gallery is designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects and its stunning architecture and forthcoming collections are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. This new attraction showcases local, national and international artists as well as Europe's only permanent collection of Latin American art. firstsite will also feature inspiring exhibitions, innovative learning programmes, a resource centre, conference facilities, a café and restaurant.
If you're travelling with children, enjoy a steam train ride at the East Anglian Railway Museum or go behind the scenes at the Tiptree Jam Museum which has been crafting tasty preserves for over 100 years. Another local speciality is Mersea oysters; venture across the causeway to Mersea Island, washed by salt-laden breezes, and sample the local catch for yourself at the various restaurants along the seafront.