With a unique mix of fascinating displays, the latest technology and hands-on activities, there is lots for your family to explore and discover across Colchester Museums’ three sites.

Built on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius, Colchester Castle is the largest Norman keep in Europe.

Situated within Castle Park, Hollytrees Museums is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

The Natural History Museum’s nave and chancel are thought to be Norman, while the windows are typically gothic.


Bronze Age to Iron Age

The area now known as Essex was at the forefront of social and economic developments in the Bronze Age due to its proximity to and connection with continental Europe.

Colchester’s collections include the famous Sheepen Cauldron, a huge and mysterious vessel from the Bronze Age, the artefacts from the burials of Colchester’s Celtic kings and the ‘doctor’s grave’, the resting place of a possible druid.


In AD 43 the Emperor Claudius invaded Britain. Over the next 350 years, Camulodunum (Colchester) was a centre of Roman power and culture.

Amongst hundreds of Roman artefacts are the Colchester Gladiator Vase, a bronze statue of the Roman god Mercury, a stone sphynx, decorative gravestones and the evidence of the town’s destruction at the hands of Boudicca.

Natural Science

The Natural Science collections held at Colchester focus on Britain and on north-east Essex in particular.

We have collections of preserved insects, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. We also have plant material, animal bones, fossils, rocks and minerals.

The collections range from mounted taxidermy to study skins, dried specimens to objects stored in fluids.

Social History

The Bernard Mason collection is made up of over 200 clocks, all made in Colchester. The collection is significant because it is so comprehensive, including examples by almost all the clockmakers who had businesses in the town.

The clothing and textiles collections range from fashionable silk dresses of the 1700s to a 2010 Colchester United football strip made of polyester.

What's On


Discover something new in Colchester.

Browse the diary to find fun, family-friendly events all year round. 

Exhibitions + Displays

Our programme aims to showcase the variety of the collections from art to archaeology, costume to clocks.

Saved for the nation, ‘Walton Bridges’ will be on display at Colchester Castle from the 26 September 2020 – 28 March 2021.

Where will your adventure start?