Explore Colchester’s hidden heritage for free!

PUBLISHED: 1 August 2022


Heritage Open Days returns to Colchester for 2022 with record number of venues open to the public

It’s that time of year when historic venues across Colchester throw open their doors to the public for free as part of the Heritage Open Days festival. Now a firmly established annual event in the cultural calendar, it recognises the nation’s rich heritage and culture.

This year’s festival will take place between 9-18 September, and Colchester has a record number of 36 events and sites of significant historical and architectural interest lined up.

We are thrilled to announce that one of the new venues opening for 2022 is Colchester’s iconic Victorian water tower, affectionately known by locals as Jumbo. Jumbo will be opening its doors to the public for the very first time on the 17 and 18 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.

Visitors must book by calling 01206 282920 or visiting the Colchester Visitor Information Centre from 1 August. Please note there is a limit of a maximum of two persons per household and they must be age 12 or over. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

On Saturday, 10 September, Colchester Castle will be joining in the celebrations and opening its doors for FREE. With many treasures and new exhibition Wicked Spirits? Witchcraft + Magic at Colchester Castle to discover, Colchester Castle makes a great family day out.

Councillor Pam Cox, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Heritage, said: “Discover more about Colchester’s rich heritage with this fantastic festival. Go behind closed doors, step back in time and revel in Colchester’s fascinating past.”

Simon Hall MBE, Chairman of North Essex Heritage, said: “Jumbo was built at the highest spot in Colchester for a very good reason - to bring clean water to the whole town. The view from the top is superb but throughout its 140-year life Jumbo has been closed to the public. Now, as North Essex Heritage works to restore it, Jumbo’s inner secrets are starting to be revealed. The interior is amazing, and Trustees will explain to visitors how it is hoped to restore and convert the structure into a new attraction for the city, open to all and one which is worthy of this magnificent nationally important heritage asset.”

To browse the full list of venues, please visit www.visitcolchester.com/HODS or pop into the Visitor Information Centre to pick up a free leaflet detailing all this year’s highlights.

Page last reviewed: 1 August 2022


Subscribe to receive updates on Council news, events and offers, green living, leisure and sport, museums, committees, jobs and more.