The Essex city with an award-winning castle where celebrities often visit

Colchester Castle in Castle Park
-Credit: (Image: Marion Sidebottom/Woodland Trust/PA Wire)

Essex is well known for being a hub for the rich and famous. Celebrities just can't get enough of our county, thanks to its stunning areas, abundance of things to do and our incredible history.

But there's one city that has an award-winning castle where celebrities often visit. Colchester Castle is located on Upper Park next to the city centre, which also boasts Hollytrees Museum, a play park, a cafe, crazy golf and a bandstand.

With so much to do nearby, a trip to Colchester Castle makes for a great day out this summer. The castle has been visited with the likes of Olly Murs and Professor Green - and it's even attracted Bananarama and The Human League who are set to perform there this summer.

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The castle is also rich in history. Construction of the castle began in 1076, but at the end of the 17th century, the castle was bought by a private owner who wanted to demolish it. However in 1727, it was given as a wedding present to Charles Gray, a lawyer and antiquarian.

Gray was responsible for the restoration of Colchester Castle, although at the time he believed it to be a Roman construction, hence the Mediterranean style roof tiles visible from within Castle Park. Subsequently, the Castle took on its current role as a Museum for archaeological treasures, beginning life as a museum over 150 years ago in 1860.

Colchester Castle has also been honoured with the Bronze Award in the ‘Accessible and Inclusive Tourism’ category at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. The castle's museum offers Sunflower lanyards, concessions for disabled visitors, and welcomes requests for free familiarisation visits. In addition to this prestigious national accolade, Colchester Castle also triumphed locally, winning the Gold Award in the ‘Creative, Cultural, and Community Business of the Year’ category at the Colchester Business Awards.

Commenting on the castle’s new awards, councillor David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, said: “Winning VisitEngland's Bronze Award in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category and being named 'Creative, Cultural, and Community Business of the Year' are fantastic testaments to the hard work and commitment of our team at Colchester Castle.

“These recognitions underscore our efforts to make the castle a welcoming and enriching experience for everyone, regardless of their accessibility needs. We are thrilled to be acknowledged at both national and local levels and will continue to strive for excellence in inclusivity and community engagement.”

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