Everything you have to do in Colchester at least once

The best town in Essex (Sorry Chelmsford)

As towns go, you won’t find many better than Colchester. Sure, the football team is crap and everyone’s terrified of bumping into the squaddies on a Friday night but apart from that it’s got everything you could possibly want, especially when you’re growing up. Don’t believe us? See how many of these quintessential Colchester experiences you’re able to tick off your bucket list.

It's steeper than it looks

It’s steeper than it looks

Sunbathe on the hill in Castle Park

You initially were planning to walk all the way down/up but gave up halfway and decided here made as good a spot to sunbathe as anywhere else. Close your eyes and you can hear the murmur of people getting ice cream at the shop as well as the shouts from people playing football in the main field below.

Roll down the hill in Castle Park

You used to do this as a kid all the time and wish it was acceptable to still do it.


Wait for a friend in Culver Square

“Hey, where should I meet you?”



Thank God we have one obvious meeting point in town.

Spend all afternoon hanging out in Culver Square with your mates

It’s where you’d decamp to if it was too rainy and miserable to sit in Castle Park.


Have a curry at the Alishan

This Colchester institution isn’t just for boozy groups of lads all there to save the Queen and dare each other to eat a Phaal. No, it’s for everyone, the gateway experience that will have you planning a trip to India and ordering takeaway vindaloo well into your 40s. Even the people who don’t like curry can enjoy a meal out here.

Get approached by a local weirdo in St Botolph’s

On the rare occasion you and your friends would hang out at St Botolph’s instead, at least one of you would either be offered drugs, asked for money or shouted at for no reason. If you wanted to hang out with a frisson of danger, this was the place to be.

There are better places to hang out each weekend guys

There are better places to hang out each weekend guys

Buy a kebab from Bodrum’s

This Crouch Street institution is the only place to go for greasy late-night sustenance. If you’ve come from a nearby bar, it’s nice and convenient. If you’ve spent all night on the other side of town, it’s the only acceptable reason for a cross-Colchester pilgrimage at 3am.

Go to the zoo

Growing up in Colchester, you might assume everywhere has a zoo this good and start taking it for granted. Don’t. Everywhere else is rubbish, the animals look miserable and you can never spot the tigers because they’re asleep.

Spend an entire night in the Playhouse

It’s where every night begins but it’s never where a night ends (unless something goes seriously wrong and you spend hours nursing the toilet bowl). Buck that trend just once though and find out what it’s like to be the last punter out the door. It will be the cheapest night out you’ll ever have.

Spend all day and all night in the Playhouse

Only for the most foolhardy. Try to do it on a Thursday so you can have curry for dinner.

Play Quasar

If you didn’t come to at least one birthday party here, did you really have any friends?

Get the train to Frinton without paying

Yes, this is screwing the train company over and depriving them of much-needed money but you’ve not got a lot of spare cash at the moment and surely they won’t miss a few quid? Plus, if they really cared they’d have put barriers at Colchester Town to stop people just walking onto the train. Right?


Walk around Hilly Fields with your dog

If you don’t have a dog, borrow one. Or buy one. Dogs are awesome. You should probably get a dog.

Visit Williams & Griffin

You’ll never get the chance to do this anywhere else. Sure, it’s basically like any other department store but this one comes with a little hometown pride. Why would you ever go to Debenhams instead?

Walk through Waterstone’s as a shortcut

There’s no easier way to get from Culver to the High Street, especially if it’s raining.

Go down the blue flume at Leisure World

Why would you ever pick the green one? It’s for babies.

Go to Twisters on a Thursday night and spend the entire time sat outside

It’s probably the weirdest smoking area in town but it’s also one of the best. Much better than trying to find a space to stand in inside anyway. If you came out hoping for a dance, maybe you should have gone to Liquid instead? (That’s a joke, obviously never go to Liquid).

Go to Straws, do one shot of tequila, then leave

It’s all Straws is good for. Never stay long enough to hear an entire song. Never.