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About Colchester

Colchester is a vibrant place with an exciting future: where 2000 years of history sits alongside 21 century culture. The town has a thriving local economy, a growing population, increasing visitor numbers and a wealth of amenities to offer.

St Botolph's ruins

Colchester may be the oldest town in Britain with an impressive Roman heritage but it is no longer content to rest on these historic laurels. The focus of major public and private sector investment in Colchester's regeneration areas are playing a vital role in the region's contribution to the Government's need to increase housing and job opportunities in the south east.


Strategically positioned close to Stansted Airport and the Haven Ports of Harwich and Felixstowe, with good rail links and on the A12, Colchester is seen as a logical centre for commerce, shopping and visitors. It is close to London to provide good business opportunities and is a natural centre for the surrounding rural areas of north Essex, south Suffolk and beyond.

Location of Colchester

Fläkt Woods factory Economy

Colchester has a buoyant, broad based economy. Whilst sectors such as financial services, printing and publishing, retail and leisure, electronics and defence feature strongly in Colchester, the local economy is not over-dependent on any particular sector although there has been a shift in recent years to service industry roles, perhaps reflected in the rise in tourism. The Army Garrison continues to play an important role in the town as does the University of Essex.

An investment hotspot - Colchester has 5 regeneration areas which are bringing some £3bn into the Borough.

Click here to find out more about each of Colchester's regeneration areas.

Examples of such investment include:

  • £40m refurbishment & extension of Fenwick's Williams & Griffin department store
  • Firstsite, a £25m contemporary visual art gallery, opened in 2011
  • 4 new hotels including Greyfriars Boutique Hotel, The Blue Ivy Hotel and the town centre Premier Inn which opened in 2015
  • The Knowledge Gateway: £26m is currently being invested at the University of Essex, which will be the new home for social and scientific research and business space
  • and in North Colchester The Weston Homes Community Stadium opened in 2008, junction 28 from the A12 was completed in 2010, the new Park & Ride opened opposite the Stadium in 2015 which uses the new link road into town. 

Castle small Tourism

Colchester is a town full of unique cultural and historic assets; a Borough which provides an impressive range of award-winning visitor attractions for all ages and tastes. Find out more about visiting and staying in Colchester and the surrounding area at