Incase you missed the memo my mission for this year is to visit a lot more of the UK. My most recent trip in that mission saw me head off for a day trip in Colchester.
You’re probably wondering why Colchester, I know I’d be wondering the exact same thing… Well Go Euro invited me to use their service to book a National Express bus and I wanted to visit somewhere that was within easy reach of London. There were the obvious cities like Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton etc. but for this trip I wanted something a little less mainstream and that was how I ended up choosing a town in Essex. The only thing I knew about Essex was from that dreaded TV show and I wanted to find out what more it had to offer. I figured the best way to do this was to visit the oldest recorded town in England: Colchester.
I used the Go Euro website to find the best deal for the National Express bus, I was able to pop in the times I was thinking of travelling and let the website do the hard work. After finding the bus it was a simple click through to book the journey I wanted.
Day Trip to Colchester
Spend the morning exploring the history
Colchester had a lot more history than I imagined before researching it but as it is the oldest recorded town in England I’m not sure why I was so surprised. There are a couple of places you definitely need to take some time to see especially if the sun is out.
St John’s Abbey Gate
St Botolph’s Priory
Each of these historic spots has a plaque explaining about the history and why the sight is important for the town.
Wander the streets of the Dutch Quarter
This area of the town is quiet and set back from the main high street but the reason for needing to visit is the architecture. This area was inspired but the Dutch and many of the house boast quirky architecture and colourfully painted exteriors. The small streets help to emphasise these designs and a few of the houses seem like they should be from a film set about the tudors. I mean this in a good way, such gorgeous houses.
Get lunch at Lunch
This US inspired cafe was the first suggestion I found on Trip Advisor for lunch in Colchester. The reviews raved about the food but warned of the small space for dining inside as many of their custom comes from takeaways. When we arrived for lunch we grabbed the last table in the cafe, thankfully the tables turn over quickly so you wouldn’t have to wait long if you got caught out. The menu has some of your typical American food like burgers and loaded fries but also has standard paninis and sandwiches. Thankfully for me they even had gluten free paninis! The food was delicious, served in those typical red baskets and loaded with all the extra toppings America does so well. We shared a basket of loaded fries and each had a panini/burger and were stuffed afterwards.
Wander around the town centre
It is always nice to just wander the streets to get to know a new town better. It is also a great way to stumble upon cute, photographic streets that every town seems to keep hidden otherwise. In Colchester that particular street happens to be Trinity St, wander in the right direction and you’ll have the Town Hall tower in view too. The colourful buildings and independent shops/cafes made this street an even better find, if we were staying longer I would certainly have tried some of the eateries on this street for lunch too.
Get active at Jump
What better way to spend an afternoon than bouncing around on trampolines? Colchester has a trampoline park around a 30 minute walk from the town centre and it was the perfect way to burn off all those calories consumed at lunch time. We booked an hour slot online as advised by the website. Their open jump sessions are scheduled in hour slots so if you arrived between one you’d have to wait for the next session (basically you’re better off booking). There was plenty to keep us entertained for the hour and it certainly felt like a fun workout!
Tea and cake
After all that jumping we certainly worked up an appetite and stumbled upon a gorgeous tea rooms to fulfil our English want of tea and cake. Tymperleys was a beautiful tutor building with a gorgeous court yard and beautiful interior that was set back from the hustle of the town centre. They had a good selection of teas and fresh cake on show to help make that decision making easier. I went for the gluten free salted caramel brownie which was amazing although I was a tiny bit gutted I couldn’t try some of the rainbow cake. They also serve lunch and breakfast.
Cocktails at The Cells
(And dinner if you have time)
We couldn’t finish our trip without a visit to a bar. While researching the trip I found The Cells on Trip Advisor and just knew we had to visit. This quirky bar and restaurant is set underneath the old magistrates’ court and each cell is decorated with a different theme. We only popped in for a cocktail or two but I wish we had stayed for dinner and hung out in one of this quirky cells too. I think the one where you got to draw all over the walls was probably my fave! The menu also looked pretty tasty with loads of gluten free options.
When I first selected a town that was not as well known as Oxford or Cambridge I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough to do but we easily filled the whole day.
This post was brought to you by Go Euro who search flights, trains and buses to show you the cheapest way of reaching a destination. I loved the ability to search plane, train and bus prices for travel across the UK. I never think to take the National Express when travelling but I certainly will be in the future. It was on time, super comfy and had USB ports for charing!
Have you been to Colchester before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.