"Britain's Oldest Recorded Town" Top 5 Page for this destination Colchester by alucas
Colchester Travel Guide: 75 reviews and 227 photos
I regard Colchester as my home town because it is the nearest large town to our village.
Colchester was the probably the first Roman town in Britain, having been settled soon after the invasion in AD43, and the Romans stayed here for over 400 years. Traces of the Roman town and fortifications can be found all over Colchester, from large parts of the Roman Walls, the Balkerne Gate, and many other archaeological finds.
A Roman chariot circus has been found in Colchester during excavation works at Colchester Barracks. This is the ONLY one ever found in Britain. The excavations were open to the public for ONE day only, Saturday 22nd January 2005. Now the area will be covered over again to preserve the finds, and will probably not be seen again in our lifetimes.
See the travelogue for more info.
The castle was built on the site of the Roman Temple of Claudius by the Normans and was started around 1076AD. When originally built it was the largest keep in Europe, much bigger than even the White Tower at the Tower of London, and was twice as high as it it now. But by the 14th Century it was no longer required as a fortress, and was used as a prison for a while. During the English Civil War, it was briefly held by the Royalists, but surrendered after a twelve week siege of the town. It was sold to a local business man, who demolished the top two floors for the building materials, but fortunately for us found that there wasn't a profit to be had, and left the remainder standing.
Now, after restoration, the castle houses a museum.
Nowadays, Colchester is a busy expanding town. The Army has a significant presence here, and redevelopment of the old Victorian Barracks is taking place, releasing land for housing as well as providing up-to-date quarters for the many troops and their families that are based here. Good rail links (well, most of the time, anyway) mean that there are a lot of commuters, mainly to London, but also to Chelmsford and Ipswich. Some of the old-established industries have finally gone, but there are new industrial estates to the east and south-east of the town providing plenty of work.
We had a great day out at Colchester Zoo recently. The zoo covers a large area now, much much larger than when I went as a kid, and has over 200 species of animals, many of them endangered species. In fact 41 species are part of European Endangered species breeding programmes, including the Amur leopards and Amur tigers. I have posted a couple of travelogues with some of my favourite photos from our visit - I have many, many more !
Tips now added !
Some of the local villages and towns have quite a history of their own. I'll be adding to this list pages over time, but the pictures might have to wait til the spring, when the sun returns to this damp drizzly country. They do say that this part of Essex has practically the lowest rainfall in the country - you wouldn't know it at the moment ! (written early 2005 - in 2006 I took quite a few photos - now in 2007 I am finally writing the pages ! )
Have a look at my pages on
(more to come)
Tip under construction - please do not rate yet, but come back later when I have written the text. If you want to see... more travel advice
I know some of you are completely against zoos, but Colchester Zoo is a shining example of what a good zoo should be... more travel advice
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