Take a trip into Es­sex

If you fancy a day out of the county, Colchester and north Es­sex have much to of­fer. Here are five sug­ges­tions

EDP Norfolk - - Days Out -

The Colchester to Ca­mu­lo­dunum walk­ing tour is the per­fect way to take in the real essence of Colchester and pick up on some of the his­tory that can so eas­ily be missed. The tour takes you through Cas­tle Park, the Dutch Quar­ter and the High Street – only min­utes away from each other, but each with a very dif­fer­ent story to tell. You can book a walk­ing tour through Visit Colchester, email vic@colchester.gov.uk, visit www. vis­it­colch­ester.com or call 01206 282920. If you’d like to ex­plore Colchester’s unique his­tor­i­cal sights at your own pace, the free An­cient Colchester App is avail­able for down­load onto both Ap­ple and An­droid de­vices. cimu­se­ums.org. uk/visit/venues/an­cient-colchester-app/

The Mer­cury Theatre in Colchester is a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence in the east’s grow­ing cre­ative econ­omy. In May there is the chance to catch

Spa­malot on tour and also Arthur Miller’s highly-ac­claimed The Cru­cible.

The theatre is just a five minute walk from Colchester town cen­tre, just head for Jumbo. www.mer­curythe­atre. co.uk or call 01206 573948.

First­site, built in 1994, is a fab­u­lous build­ing. Now a thriv­ing art gallery and cul­tural cen­tre in the heart of Colchester, inside you will find a range of ex­hi­bi­tions from both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tion­ally-renowned artists, plus arts events and ac­tiv­i­ties, learn­ing work­shops and a wide range of films, plus live opera and bal­let per­for­mances screened in the state-of-the-art au­di­to­rium. En­try is free to the gallery.

Just out­side Colchester is Elm­stead Mar­ket, home of Beth Chatto Gar­dens. The gar­dens were cre­ated by award-win­ning gardener, au­thor and lec­turer Beth Chatto, who won 10 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in 10 con­sec­u­tive years. Now, they are an in­spi­ra­tion to gar­den­ers and garden lovers, wel­com­ing visi­tors from all over the world and there is also a renowned nurs­ery which stocks more than 2,000 va­ri­eties of plants, many prop­a­gated from plants in the gar­dens. www. bethchatto.co.uk or call 01206 822007.

A few miles from Elm­stead Mar­ket you will find Ded­ham, the boy­hood play­ground of one of the world’s most fa­mous land­scape artists, John Con­sta­ble. This small town has a charm­ing ap­peal that is easy to en­joy at any time, but to make the most of your visit and learn more of its his­tory, a town tour should not be missed. Guided tours of Ded­ham take place through­out the sum­mer; see www.vis­ites­sex.com

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