Explore Colchester’s Hidden History for Free this September!
Heritage Open Days are back and bigger than ever! For ten days from Friday, 8 to Sunday, 17 September, historic venues will be opening their doors to the public for free across Colchester to join in with the national Heritage Open Days festival organised by The National Trust.
This year, the city of Colchester and the surrounding area have a record number of 48 buildings and events of significant historical and architectural interest lined up. Among the new nine participants for 2023 are Claudius Gateway, St Botolph’s Church and Priory, Colchester High School and The Nottage Maritime Institute in Wivenhoe. From Roman archaeological sites in Colchester to a Second World War airbase at Boxted, there is something for everyone.
We are thrilled to announce that Colchester’s iconic Victorian water tower, affectionately known by locals as Jumbo, will be part of this year’s prestigious line-up. Jumbo will be opening its doors to the public on Saturday, 16 September and will be offering timed talks and tours. Each timed hour-long slot will include a talk, and a chance to take a tour heading up the iconic tower.
To secure your slot, booking lines will open at 10am on the 3 August. Call the Visitor Information Centre on 01206 282920 to book. Please note, there is a limit of a maximum of two people per household and they must be aged 12 or over. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
On Saturday, 9 September, Colchester Castle will also be joining in the celebrations and opening its doors for FREE. With many treasures and the blockbuster exhibition ‘Gladiators: A Day as the Roman Games’ to explore, don’t miss this unique opportunity.
Councillor Cllr Michelle Burrows, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Heritage, said: “Heritage Open Days presents an amazing opportunity to visit places of historical importance across Colchester that are sometimes completely closed off to the public, and offers an inside glimpse into the city's rich heritage. I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of the opportunities available this September.”
To browse the full list of venues open for 2023, please visit www.visitcolchester.com/HODS23 or pop into the Visitor Information Centre to pick up a free leaflet detailing all this year’s highlights.
Page last reviewed: 2 August 2023