Colchester Heritage Open Days – Dozens Open for free

Heritage Open Properties Map

Heritage Open DaysColchester Heritage Open Days

The popular Open Days Weekend returns to Colchester for 2019. Dozens of properties will be open to the public over two weekends spanning of the 13th to 22nd of September, giving you the opportunity to explore the town’s heritage for free.  Note not all are open every day so check the download for details.

Many of the properties are not normally open to the public, and several are hosting special events, tours and talks that will give you a special insight into the town’s unique history.

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Heritage Open Properties Map


Heritage & Environment

Bourne Mill Heritage Site

Heritage & Environment

Colchester Borough Council has issued a few news items lately that you might have missed and yet could interest you:

Bourne Mill Heritage SiteHeritage Open Days

This year Heritage Open Days is set to open the doors to over thirty historic properties across Colchester for FREE.  This includes Colchester Castle on Saturday 8 September.

From 6-9 and 13-16 September 2018, Colchester’s sites of significant historical and architectural interest will be open free of charge. Other planned activities over the two weekends include accompanied guided walks, talks, tours and exhibitions.

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture.  It sees historic places countrywide throw open their doors to celebrate their individual heritage, community and history. It provides a great way to discover Colchester’s fascinating history and see inside venues that are usually closed to the public, all for free. Find out more here.

This promises to be a great event so why not make the most of it?


Recycling – Thank You!

The latest figures for recycling are out one year on from the collection changes which were introduced last June.  Non-recyclable rubbish is down by 31% and food waste is up 80%, when compared to the same period last year.

Overall recycling is up to 53% of the total rubbish collected with recycling rates for all individual items also increasing.  You can read more here.


Essex County Council has recently launched a Keep Cup campaign.  It aims to get as many people in Essex to make a pledge to reduce the use of single-use coffee cups by opting for a reusable cup. More than 1000 residents have already made their pledge so why not make yours today?

Simply visit their website and make your pledge to show your support. Every pledge helps reduce the impact on the environment.

Save Paper When Parking

Save paper by switching from pay and display car park tickets to the FREE MiPermit app to pay for your town centre car parking in Colchester (and many other locations country-wide).

You can also use the app to:

  • set up a reminder to receive an alert when payment for your parking space is about to expire,
  • top up your parking without going back to your vehicle,
  • check on the app map to see where you left your vehicle and
  • check where your nearest car park is using your location.

You can find out more about the MiPermit app and register for an account here.





History Walk at Boxsted

History Walk at Boxsted
US 8th Air Force soldiers based in Essex

History Walk at Boxsted

Enjoy a Free heritage walk around Boxted airfield on Sunday 20th March, 2016.  The walk is being organised by Martin Cuthbert, Community Archaeologist exploring the legacy of the US 8th Army Air Force during their time here in WW2, a project .  This forms part of a 3-year Heritage Lottery Funded project whose main aims are:

  • Research and interpretation of the built and social legacy of the American Eighth Air Force in the East, through community archaeology, oral history, film and photography, and re-examination of museum collections.
  • Celebration of this material through local and regional events, exhibitions, , touring theatre and other showcase opportunities.
  • Sustaining the project beyond its active stage through website, digital flythrough, learning resources, social media and museum development.

Martin says:

Join us as we lead a walk through the historic airfield at Boxted, home to the 354th & 56th Fighter Groups and the 386th Bomb Group of the 8th USAAF during World War Two.

If you’re interested in landscape history, airfield archaeology, or just fancy the chance to have a walk in the unique landscape of this World War Two airfield, this walk is for you.

This Walk Through History starts at 10am on Sunday 20th March. Parking is at Boxted Airfield Museum, Langham Lane, Langham, Essex, CO4 5NW, where refreshments can be taken following the walk.

Admission to the Museum itself is by a £3 donation, accompanied children are free.  The walk, which is about 3.8 miles long is over easy terrain and is free of charge. You are advised to wear outdoor shoes and clothing appropriate to the weather.

This is one of a series of walks organised by Martin’s project, find out more at

Sports, Heritage & Apples

Sports, Heritage & Apples

Sports, Heritage & Apples are the subject of recent leisure-time news from Colchester Borough Council:

Summer Sports FestivalSummer Sports Festival at Highwoods

Taking place on Sunday 30th August at Leisure World, there is an opportunity for all the family to join in with a range of FREE sports activities including:

  • Football – with Colchester United Football in the Community,
  • Parkour – with Team Traceur,
  • Volleyball – with Volleyball England,
  • Netball – with KATS Netball Club, and
  • Tennis – free hire of tennis courts at Leisure World Highwoods.



Heritage Open DaysHeritage Open Days

This year’s Heritage Open Days takes place across the weekend of Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September 2015.  You can discover Colchester’s heritage in a weekend of FREE activities and entry to more than 20 historic properties:

  • firstsite,
  • Roman Circus,
  • St. Helen’s Chapel,
  • St. Peter’s Church,
  • Quaker Meeting House (St. Mary’s House),
  • Mersea Barrow,
  • Roman Theatre,
  • Castle Museum,
  • Town Hall,
  • Sparlings Solicitors,
  • Audley Chapel,
  • St Martin’s Church,
  • St John’s Abbey Gatehouse,
  • Trinity Street,
  • Bourne Mill,
  • Super Home,
  • St. James the less & St. Helen’s Church,
  • Holy Trinity Church,
  • Peake’s House,
  • Colchester Cemetery,
  • War Memorial,
  • St. Mary at the Walls Church (Arts Centre), and
  • Colne Light Ship.

More details and opening times are available at

Celebrate Heritage fun day{Colchester Presents} Celebrate Heritage

On Saturday 12th September, between 9am and 5pm, the clock will be turned back  as you stroll through the High Street  and Upper Castle Park.

Enjoy a stroll down the High Street (closed to traffic) and take time to admire the wonderful architecture of the many fascinating buildings which adorn the High Street, from the Town Hall to to the Red Lion Hotel. Watch out for historical characters that you pass along your way, you may bump into Marcus Favonius!

Soak up the sounds of the historic music, dance and drama and enjoy some story telling and the iconic British Punch and Judy Show. Colchester has it’s very own Mr Punch living at Hollytrees Museum, take a visit and see this very special puppet, dating from 1945.

Take a wander through Colchester’s Charter market, dating back to 1189 and you will find stalls selling everything from artisan bread to clothes. There will be plenty of food stalls to fill your appetite.

Step back in time to the award-winning Castle Park which will be hosting historic market stalls, traditional side shows, puppet theatre,talks and demonstrations, all within the backdrop of Colchester Castle which will be open for free.

Apple DayApple Day at the BIG Garden, High Woods Country Park

Taking place on Saturday 26th September you can drop in at any time between 12pm & 3pm (donation requested).  Come and celebrate the local apple harvest! Enjoy tasting some heritage fruit varieties and try your hand at crushing and pressing local apples to make delicious juice. Family games, crafts and apple cakes and bakes to sample.

Details of these and many more activities are on the Colchester website.

Colchester News, Market, Park & Ride

Colchester News – Market, Park & Ride

Latest news updates received from Colchester Borough Council…

Market_logoColchester Market has a stylish new home

Colchester Market has moved to its new home on Colchester High Street. The new site has bigger, sophisticated, branded stalls providing a mix of exciting new products alongside regular favourite traders. Find out how you could become a trader to trial your small business idea here>>.

Park and Ride service now open

Click for larger image

Essex County Council have launched the new Colchester Park and Ride facility. With a car park situated north of the A12, just off  junction 28, it links to Colchester Railway Station and Colchester Town centre.


  • Adult daily: £3 (Monday to Saturday)
  • Adult weekly: £15
  • Adult monthly: £55
  • Children (aged between 5 and 15 years inclusive) – daily £1, weekly £5, monthly £20.
  • Children under 5 years old travel for free at all times


Concessionary pass holders travel free after 9am Monday-Friday and all day Saturdays.

Find out more here>>

Have your say on The Wonderhouse

The Wonderhouse is an exciting new concept, which will transform Colchester’s heritage offer and provide an innovative attraction for local residents and visitors. We would like to hear your views on it.

The distinctive history and heritage of Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town, is reflected by the rich range of objects collected by Colchester Museums for over 150 years.

The three museums; Colchester Castle, Hollytrees Museum and the Natural History Museum; highlight selected objects from the collection, which showcase the town’s key stories and unique character.

However, it’s impossible to display everything. A wealth of collections are also stored by the museums service. These objects include items from Colchester’s more recent history, archives, photographs and oral history- all awaiting discovery by the public. A new collections centre, ‘The Wonderhouse’, will provide the key to unlocking their potential.

Councillor Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Licensing, Community Safety and Culture comments: “The Wonderhouse is an exciting project that will add to Colchester’s already rich heritage offer. It will be a real draw for residents and tourists alike.

Colchester is extremely lucky to have a wealth of internationally significant objects. The Wonderhouse will give people the opportunity to discover and appreciate them for the first time.

This project will also unveil a vital piece of the town’s previously hidden Roman Wall. It will create a launch pad to explore Colchester’s many historic sites. I’d invite residents and visitors to complete the survey and let us know their views on this project.

Find out more here>>


Heritage Watch Launched

Heritage Watch LogoHeritage Watch Launched

Influential figures in Essex’s heritage industry came together on 23rd of April at Stow Maries First World War Aerodrome to launch a new police initiative aimed at protecting the past. Heritage Watch is an Essex Police led partnership between agencies that are committed to protecting our heritage, as well as members of the public who want to help preserve our heritage.

The watch scheme looks to maintain and preserve important places of interest, encouraging vigilance and reporting of suspicious activity around sites. This is to prevent any theft or crime that may damage assets beyond recovery, which may lead to the loss of a piece of history for this and future generations.

Heritage Watch locations would include ancient earth works and archeological sites, listed buildings, museums, galleries, religious buildings, historic visitor attractions and others.

Dominic Petre of the Historic Houses Association said he was ‘very pleased’ about the initiative, adding:

When heritage is lost, it is lost forever.

Crimes against heritage are not just crimes against the owner. They are crimes against future generations and culture in general.

Chief Superintendent Carl O’Malley said:

In Essex we have some really significant sites, from the Roman remains in Colchester to Audley End House in Saffron Walden.

The key element for any watch scheme is to involve a broad range of different partners and bring them together. Through expert advice and assistance, we can all help one another. It is about communication, sharing, understanding and reporting.

For further information contact your local Essex Watch Liaison Officer using the Police 101 non–emergency telephone number.

Heritage Day at St Mary’s (Old) Church

Heritage of St Mary's Old Church
Heritage at St Mary’s Old Church, West Bergholt

The Friends of St Mary’s Old Church are holding a Heritage Day in the Old Church in conjunction with the Churches Conservation Trust between 10am – 4pm on Sunday 15th September.

Heritage walk around

A walk round leaflet costing 50p will tell you more about this old building so come and find out more about the Old Church:
  • view the Royal Coat of Arms, which was painted over the chancel arch by order of King James 1 (reigned 1603-25) and only discovered in 1986;
  • examine the massive oak chest which dates from about 1400; and
  • try the seats in the 18th C gallery.

Other attractions

There will also be:
  • an exhibition by professional and amateur artists;
  • Christmas cards of the Old Church for sale; and
  • Refreshments available
Find out more about the Old Church on our webpage, the location for those unsure is St. Mary’s (Old) Church, Hall Lane, West Bergholt, CO6 3DU.