Car-free adventures aroundColchesterEssex

Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town (known then as Camulodunum), Colchester was home to the UK’s biggest classical temple, along with theatres, mosaic-floored villas and racing tracks. Colchester castle, an eleventh-century Norman keep, was built on top of the Roman temple. Enriched over the centuries by Flemish weavers and Victorian engineers, it also has a long military history and is now one of Britain’s fastest-growing towns. A great network of trains and buses makes it easy to escape into the Essex countryside, visiting hilly bluebell woods or seafront beach huts.

  • County: Essex
  • Great for: bluebell woods | castle | family | history | railway museum | seaside |
  • Refreshments: pubs, cafes and restaurants
  • Please note: researched/updated August 2018. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 3. Brightlingsea by bus

    Also leaving from Colchester’s North Station (right outside the main exit this time), Bus 62 makes the journey to the coast.

    • An amble around beautiful Brightlingsea feels like a classic seaside walk – beach huts and promenades, flowering gardens and bungalows.
    • There’s a restored 1930s lido too and the Colne Estuary, with its low-lying grazing meadows, shingle banks and saltmarshes, is a national nature reserve.
  1. 4. East Anglia Railway Museum by train

    The East Anglia Railway Museum is just a twenty-minute train ride away and visitors who arrive by train get two tickets for the price of one.

    • Hop on a train from Colchester towards London. Five minutes later, change at Marks Tey station and catch a connecting train on the branch line towards Sudbury for another five-minute journey. (Obviously, if you’re coming from London and want to visit the railway museum, get off at Mark’s Tey before Colchester!)
    • This branch railway – branded the Gainsborough Line – immediately takes you over the thousand-foot Chappel Viaduct, England’s second-largest brick-built structure.
    • Get off at Chappel and Wakes Colne station to find the Railway Museum right there. You can even have lunch in a vintage railway carriage or dress up as an old-fashioned stationmaster.

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount

Visit car-free in 2019!