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Colchester Castle


Self-guided walks for the Curious...

Explore Colchester city centre with two self-guided heritage walks with a treasure hunt theme. Discover Colchester's "hidden treasures" whilst having a fun day out with family and friends!
Colchester was the capital of Roman Britain, long before London came to prominence, its castle was the blueprint for the Tower of London. Proportionately more Protestant martyrs were burnt alive during the reign of Queen Mary than anywhere else in England. The nursery rhyme 'Twinkle, twinkle little star' was written there in 1806, and in 1807 the oldest Hot Cross Bun in existence was baked there. In 1884 there was a major earthquake. The Kray twins, one of whom broke the jaw of a corporal, were graduates of its military school.


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The Booklet

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Curious About... Colchester

  • An exploration of Colchester's city centre with two self-guided heritage walks with an optional treasure hunt. Completing the treasure hunt keeps everyone actively engaged, and urges you to look up, down and every which-way - so you won't miss out on any of the city's treasures.
    Explore, Discover, and Enjoy!
  • Most clues are chosen for their historical value, so you'll learn about the diverse culture, significant people and extraordinary events which have influenced Colchester in becoming what it is today.
  • This is an outdoor, unsupervised activity - so you can go at a pace which suits you, whilst keeping you healthy!
  • A Curious About walk is a fun and social activity for all the family and friends. Different people can take on different roles - follow the map, identify picture clues, read directions, etc - it's ideal for children from the age of 6, and if you can walk/wheelchair it, you're young enough!
  • The two walks have been designed so that the second one follows on from where the first one ends. Do both, or have a breather and do the second one another day! They both start and finish in the heart of the city - so buses, trains and car parks are easily available to get you there and back.

1. Roman Gate to Colchester Castle - 1.5 miles / 2.4 kms
From the 1st century Balkerne Gate, the largest surviving gate in Roman Britain, this walk meanders its way around the characterful lanes and streets of Colchester’s heart. Walk past a jumbo-sized, Victorian water tower and onto a promenade for gentle men and women. Pass an ancient Saxon church, the magnificent Town Hall, a haunted hotel and a Natural History Museum before finishing at a remarkable castle set in fragrant, floral grounds.
1.5 hoursOK

2. Colchester Castle to St Botolph's Priory - 1 mile / 1.6 kms
Passing a Beacon in the midst of the dramatic Castle Park this walk takes you round Colchester Castle, along majestic paths with wonderful views, before arriving at the delightfully arranged and fragrant Sensory Gardens. Now change direction past contemporary art galleries, a Norman church and a long stretch of Roman walls, before entering the grounds of an 11th century Augustinian priory, dedicated to St Botolph, patron saint of travellers.
1 hourOK

Each booklet has a page dedicated to the history of the city and 2 pages summarising each walk with suggestions on what to visit along the way. Walk 1 has 21 clues & walk 2 has 14 - both with detailed directions to follow. There are interesting stories about important people, places & events along the way; detailed instructions on how to find a clue if you're stuck; and a comprehensive map with the routes marked on.
Buy a booklet by clicking on the Add to Basket button, then either checkout, or continue shopping. Checkout takes you through payments via a quick & secure process managed by a third-party company called SendOwl. At the end of the payment process SendOwl will email you a confirmation email (inc download link if relevant).

You have 14 days to complete your download, and up to 3 attempts are permitted. If you buy the print-at-home version you will need to print it on normal A4 paper and the email you receive, with the download link, explains how best to fold the pages to make it into an A5 booklet. If you buy the download to mobile version you will need pdf reading software on your phone or tablet, eg using the Adobe Acrobat App (free).

Printed Copy
The booklet has a flexible cover, which has been professionally printed. The inside pages are printed to order, to ensure that they are as up-to-date as possible. We post booklets out 1st class Royal Mail, usually the same, or next working day. A small postage & packing charge is added.

"Colchester's such a fascinating place to visit - well, it was with your Curious About walks. We'd never have discovered everything we did otherwise, so thanks! We'll definitely be doing some more soon."

Latest Revision : September 2023


Places you'll pass along the way - tap an image for more detail