Essex CO1 1TJ
Colchester Castle in the centre of Colchester was built in 1076 and is an almost complete Norman Keep. It is home to the Colchester Castle Museum which showcases archaeological collections of international quality covering 2,000 years of history, including some of the most important Roman finds in Britain.
The Keep is the largest in Europe and includes several important archaeological sites. It was constructed on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, built when Colchester was the first Roman capital of Britain.
The Castle is one of England's most important heritage sites and one of the most popular visitor attractions in the East of England.
Dating from 1076, this Norman Castle was one of the first stone castles in England. It saw action only once, in 1216, when King John besieged it and captured it from French Mercenary troops sent to aid his rebellious Barons.
The castle is built on the remains of the large Roman temple to the Divine Claudius. Dating from 55-60AD the temple was the grandest of all Roman buildings built in Colonia Claudia (Colchester), the first capital of Roman Britain. Boudica (Boadicea) burnt the Temple to the ground in 60AD leaving a basic platform on which the Normans constructed their Castle some 1000 years later. The foundations of the Temple can be visited on a Guided tour of the Castle.
Remains of a Celtic Round House dating from around 100BC have also been found within the Castle grounds. Because the remains consisted only of post holes, a replica Round House has been erected in the Museum.
During the Castle’s long history it has also been the County and Town Gaol. The earliest record of its use as a prison is in 1226. Prison cells dating from 1727 complete with massive oak doors and iron barred windows survive and can be visited today as part of the entry into Colchester Castle Museum.
Matthew Hopkins from Mistley near Colchester became known as the Witchfinder General, extracting 'confessions' from women accused of witchcraft. Some of his interrogations took place in the Castle prison.
The gaol was finally closed in 1835.
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:
Things to Do
Children can dress up and there are lots of interactive displays where visitors can try their hand at building a Norman archway, excavating a Roman doctor's grave or steering a chariot around Colchester's recently uncovered Roman Circus! Get involved as a large scale 'son et lumière' projection transforms the east wall with light and sound.
Colchester Castle App
The Castle App takes visitors on a journey of discovery revealing the Castle as it would have looked in its hey day. Tablets with the App can be hired for just £1.
Open seven days a week.
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00 hours.
Sunday: 11:00 - 17:00 hours.
Last admission every day: 16:30 hours.
Expert-led tours down into the creepy Roman vaults and up onto the panoramic Castle roof can be booked for a small additional charge, and take place regularly every day.
Toilets & Baby Change facilities; Picnic Area; Gift Shop.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1206 282 939
Situated in the town centre in the gounds of Castle Park, just off the High Street. See location on Google maps Map:
Google Maps - Colchester Castle