Monday, 15 April 2013

The joy of Colchester united

Took the kids on a day trip to Colchester during the Eater holidays and what an underrated place it us. We started off with lunch at the Lemon Tree restaurant where you dine next to the 2000-year-old Roman wall in the basement. Then we visited the Balkerne Gate which has the best preserved Roman arch in Britain, Jumbo the giant water tower, and the outside of the castle (the interior is closed until 2014 for renovation). Then we found the monument to the two royalist commanders executed in the Castle Park and the Old Siege House where bullet holes from the English Civil War of 1648 are picked out with red rings around them.

Our party went on to the Firstsite art gallery, aka the "Golden Banana". The loitering goths outside are the best exhibit, but there's also resin sleeping bags and abandoned mattresses by artist Richard Hughes and a very good cafe that does cinnamon coffee and music that impressed my 14-year-old elder daughter. There's a chapter on Colchester in my book The Joy of Essex and the town also boasts an excellent independent bookshop in the Red Lion Bookshop, where the book is now in stock. What have the Romans ever done for Colchester? Quite a lot actually. All this, and it's the oldest town in Britain. Take that, Londinium. Proof that Essex should really be the capital of Britain.


  1. I'm a big fan of Colchester, and love all the things you can do in just a day. The seige house pic is amazing. nicola

  2. I guess we'll always have Colchester...