Access At Hollytrees Museum

Everybody should have the opportunity to be inspired by our museums. We are committed to supporting that, which means listening to our visitors and continually finding ways to improve.

Simply scroll down for useful access information, such as when the museum is quieter, what to expect when you arrive and what facilities we have. If you cannot find the answers you are looking for, please contact our Access Champions on 01206 282931 or email and the team will be happy to help. 

Useful Information

To open our Visit England Accessibility Guide, simply follow the link below:

Getting here

Hollytrees Museum is situated just inside Castle Park, within Colchester’s city centre. The nearest set of park gates are those by the cenotaph. Pavement surrounds the building and you can approach the main entrance via steps or a gentle slope. Alternatively you can enter Castle Park via gates behind Hollytrees, where the end of Colchester High Street meets East Hill. Please note there are a few steps as you walk around to the front of the museum. Click here to see a map of Colchester.

If you are travelling by car, please use CO1 1UG for sat navs. There are 11 spaces for disabled badge holders just outside the park gates in Museum Street (200m from the entrance), and places slightly further away on the High Street. Further details on blue badge spaces in Colchester can be found on the Colchester City Council website.

If you are travelling by taxi, you could be dropped off by the cenotaph, on Colchester High Street or by the park gates at the end of Museum Street. 

More information regarding accessible transport and parking options in Colchester can be found on the Visit Colchester website.

Please note, we are closed on Sundays.

When You Arrive

Automatic glass doors will bring you to an area full of leaflets and brochures advertising different local attractions. Just beyond that is the reception and shop. You will be greeted by uniformed staff at the welcome desk. The Colchester Visitor Information Centre team look after the museum and know a lot about the city.

You may have to wait a short while to be served. If you are accompanied by someone who finds queuing difficult, please let us know and we will do our best to prioritise you.

If you would like to borrow one of our Sunflower lanyards while you’re in the museum, simply ask at the welcome desk.

The museum is free to visit and you do not need to book.

Quieter times

The museum is typically quieter in the afternoons, particularly after 2.30pm on weekdays once any school groups have left for the day.

As the display are spreads across rooms on different floors, sounds do not tend to carry from one room to another.

Some spaces are quite small or narrow, such as the Childhood Gallery or the stairs, so if other visitors are already in those areas, the museum may seem busy. 

Getting around

The entrance to Hollytrees Museum is cobbled and the Upper Ground Floor hall is tiled. The rest of the museum floors are carpeted and flat. 

The museum is spread across several floors and the displays can be viewed in any order:

  • Ground Floor – the shop, Visitor Information Centre and exit
  • Upper Ground Floor – the Garden Room, leading to the hall and the Bernard Mason Clock Gallery
  • First Floor – Running the Home Gallery
  • Upper First Floor – the Childhood Gallery and Portrait Gallery
  • Second Floor – the Education Room (typically roped off as it is used by schools and for events)

All the rooms are accessible via stairs or a lift.

The lift has two doors at right angles to each other. Entering from the ground floor and exiting on the Upper Ground floor for example involves a 90-degree turn to the left. The inside of the lift is quite small so this is not easily done and may not be possible with larger wheelchairs, mobility or double buggies.

The walkway from reception into the Upper Ground Floor hall is quiet narrow and there are a few steps.

Some of our displays are spot lit, while other areas, such as the crawl through tunnel inside the Childhood Gallery, might appear quite dark.

  1. Visitor Information Centre foyer
  2. Visitor Information Centre and shop
  3. Hall
  4. The Bernard Mason Clock Gallery
  5. The Garden Room

6. Lift
7. Running the Home Gallery
8. The Portrait Gallery
9. The Childhood Gallery


Hollytrees Museum has two unisex toilets. One can be accessed through the Running the Home Gallery on the first floor, the other through the Education Room on the second floor or via the lift. Please note, the doors are a little heavy.

The toilets are quite small spaces and with heavy doors. The nearest accessible toilet is a public facility just to the left as you exit the museum.

The nearest baby changing facilities can be found at the Natural History Museum over the road.

Hollytrees Museum does not have a Changing Places facility. The nearest can be found at the Castle Park cafe (0.1 miles/ 3 minute walk), Colchester Library (0.3 miles/ 6 minute walk) and at Leisure World (0.6 miles/ 13 minute walk). A full list of Changing Places Toilets is available on the Changing Places website.


Assistance dogs are welcome.

The museum does not have a cafe and food is not permitted. If you have a refillable bottle, our team are happy to top it up with tap water.

We welcome breastfeeding.

If you or a member of your group require a quiet space during your visit, please speak to the Visitor Information Centre team. 

If you or a member of your group require medical attention whilst at Hollytrees Museum, please alert staff and they will contact the emergency services.

The nearest defibrillator is at Colchester Castle.

Hand sanitiser is available.

Contact Us

We want all our visitors to have the best possible experience. If you’re planning to visit Hollytrees Museum and have any questions or concerns, our team are more than happy to help. You can contact us on:

Tel: 01206 282920 


Welcoming Visitors With…

Mobility Impairment

  • A lift provides access to all the floors of the museum.
  • The reception desk has a lowered section so staff can better serve you.
  • Different types of seating are available throughout the museum.
  • Please note, due to fire regulations, only one wheelchair user is permitted in the building at any one time. If there are multiple wheelchair users in your group, please contact us.

Vision Impairment

  • Sheet magnifiers are available to borrow.
  • An A4 printed guide of the paintings is available on the First Floor landing.

Hearing Impairment

  • A hearing loop is available in the reception area. To access it, please set your hearing aid to the ‘T-coil’ setting.
  • Some of our Visitor Services team are trained in basic BSL.
  • The telephone audio installation in the Running the Home Gallery has a transcript nearby.
  • The film playing in the Garden Room is silent. The film playing in the Childhood Gallery has gentle background music and text on screen, but no speech.
  • In the event of a fire, our alarm includes flashing lights.


  • Twiddlemuffs are available to borrow whilst in the museum.
  • The museum has wooden puzzles and a play kitchen with fabric food items visitors are welcome to use.
  • We also have a downloadable visual story and a sensory map of Hollytrees Museum.
  • As you exit Hollytrees Museum, the Castle Park sensory garden is to the right.


  • Twiddlemuffs are available to borrow whilst in the museum.
  • We also have a downloadable visual story and a sensory map of Hollytrees Museum.
  • Our displays include popular toys and household items within living memory, so can act as a stimulant for conversations.

Hollytrees Museum Sensory Map

Below is a floorplan of the museum, showing where visitors might encounter sensory stimuli.


A simplified graphic of an open eye in a teal colour.

A simplified graphic of a speaker in a teal colour. Curved lines emanating from it suggest sound is coming from the speaker

A simplified lightbulb graphic in a teal colour. Lines emanating from it suggest the bulb is lit up.

Video or sudden moving visual Unexpected noises Change in light level

What's On


Discover something new in Colchester. Browse the diary to find fun, family-friendly events all year round.

Exhibitions + Displays

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


Where will your adventure start?