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Roman Relics & Island Flavours

Roman Relics & Island Flavours

Calling all foodies... sample fresh Mersea oysters and indulge in a scrumptious Tiptree cream tea. From Britain's First City, Colchester, to Mersea Island, explore our county of contrasts.


Day 1



Morning - Start your day at the Beth Chatto Gardens in Elmstead Market. Beth Chatto OBE started these gardens in 1960 and they have since become world famous, partly because of Beth's mantra, 'right plant, right place'.  She was one of the first eco-gardeners and her Dry Garden thrives here without any watering except from the rain.  There is also an excellent nursery here to inspire you to take home a precious plant or two... or you can order plants to be delivered to your home. 

Just 10 minutes drive from Beth Chatto Gardens, take lunch at The Brasserie at Wivenhoe House Hotel, set in the beautiful landscaped grounds of Essex University.  


Afternoon - Britain’s First City, Colchester, boasts the impressive Colchester Castle, the largest Norman Keep in Europe and constructed on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius.  The engrossing Castle museum reveals many fascinating layers of Colchester's long history and, with plenty of interactive displays, is suitable for all ages.  The Castle stands in the grade II listed Victorian Castle Park Gardens where there is a cafe and children's play area as well as the charming Hollytrees Museum - three centuries of toys, costumes and decorative arts are displayed in this beautiful Georgian house museum as well as it being the home of the Visitor Information Centre. 

A few minutes walk away is Colchester high street with its wide range of high street stores and independent shops, cafes and restaurants.   


Day 2



Morning - Spend a while exploring Firstsite art gallery, just off East Hill.  An unusual building, designed by South American architect, Ralph Vinoly, and clad in 'tecu' gold, it houses art exhibitions, special events and cinema screenings.  Make time for coffee and cake in their lovely cafe, overlooking the grounds and remnants of the Roman city wall.  

After Firstsite, head down to Mersea Island for a stroll along the waterfront and lunch at one of the seafood shacks where, if there's an 'R' in the month, you’ll find the famous Colchester 'native' oysters on the menu.

Afternoon - After lunch take a (pre-booked) boat trip on the Lady Grace on the waters around Mersea or, in the Summer months, pre-book a sailing, canoeing or paddle boarding session with Mersea Island Watersports.  Later, head over to East Mersea and Cudmore Grove County Park for a stroll along the sea wall and a spot of fossil hunting.  Catch the ferry over to Brightlingsea (only runs during the Summer season).  


Accommodation



Greyfriars Boutique Hotel in the heart of Colchester, just near the Castle.


* Please check opening times of all venues before visiting as they are subject
to change. Please quote Visit Essex when booking any of these venues.

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Product Information

  1. Colchester Castle Museum

    Colchester

    Colchester Castle is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. Constructed on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius. The Castle Museum today reveals many fascinating layers of history to visitors.

  2. Beth Chatto's Plants & Gardens

    Colchester

    Covering 6 acres, these beautiful gardens and nursery were created by award-winning plantswoman Beth Chatto.

  3. Wivenhoe House Hotel

    Colchester

    Wivenhoe House is a beautiful 18th Century four-star hotel, near to the pretty quayside village of Wivenhoe, and minutes from Britain’s oldest recorded town, Colchester.

  4. Hollytrees Museum

    Colchester

    Three centuries of fascinating toys, costume, clocks and decorative arts displayed in an attractive Georgian town house from 1718.

  5. Cudmore Grove Country Park

    Colchester

    Cudmore Grove offers visitors a trip to the seaside with a difference at the eastern tip of Mersea Island. The park includes a sandy beach and open grassland, perfect for picnics and great views.

  6. Greyfriars Hotel

    Colchester

    Located in Colchester's historic cultural quarter, Greyfriars is an exquisite, Michelin recommended 4* luxury hotel with superb restaurant, afternoon tea parlour, terrace and lounge bars.

  7. Firstsite

    Colchester

    Firstsite is an international gallery and creative community space. See the world differently – experience the very best art and culture from around the world that inspires, empowers and opens your mind.

  8. Brightlingsea Boat Trips

    Brightlingsea, Colchester

    We offer a range of boat trips departing from Brightlingsea:  

    Pub Lunch River Cruise (Brightlingsea - Wivenhoe)  Find out more information, dates and times here.  Harbour Tours If you are short for time and you want to take a closer look at the yachts and power boats moored within our…

  9. Mersea Island Watersports

    West Mersea

    We offer Stand-Up Paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and the new sport of Wing Foiling. Choose either private lessons, group lessons or hiring. We also run kids clubs, offer parties and corporate events. We are also available for tv and filming.

Itinerary Distances

FromToDistance * (metric)
Colchester Castle Museum (51.89052,0.903)Beth Chatto's Plants & Gardens (51.87449,1.00388)6.44
Beth Chatto's Plants & Gardens (51.87449,1.00388)Wivenhoe House Hotel (51.87858,0.95169)3.25
Wivenhoe House Hotel (51.87858,0.95169)Hollytrees Museum (51.89005,0.90442)3.14
Hollytrees Museum (51.89005,0.90442)West Mersea Oyster Bar (51.77478,0.90514)11.55
West Mersea Oyster Bar (51.77478,0.90514)The Company Shed (51.77987,0.89937)0.62
The Company Shed (51.77987,0.89937)Cudmore Grove Country Park (51.79268,0.99302)5.95
Cudmore Grove Country Park (51.79268,0.99302)Greyfriars Hotel (51.89005,0.90629)11.14
Greyfriars Hotel (51.89005,0.90629)Firstsite (51.88898,0.90536)0.12
Firstsite (51.88898,0.90536)Brightlingsea Boat Trips (51.80598,1.02436)11.11
Brightlingsea Boat Trips (51.80598,1.02436)Mersea Island Watersports (51.77844,0.8993)8.23
Total Distance *61.54 miles
Estimated Journey Time1.98 hours

* Approximate distance by road

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