Coronavirus (COVID-19)

From Thursday 19th March all of Colchester Borough Council’s building are to be closed to the public, as part of the steps to combat the spread of COVID-19. As a result, Colchester Castle, Hollytrees Museum and the Natural History Museum will be closed for the foreseeable future. This decision follows the advice from the Government on mass gatherings and around self-isolation, which will have an impact on the levels of council employees available to staff the venues.

The council will be reviewing these closures on at least a weekly basis and will look to reopen them as soon as possible within Government guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Click here for the latest news on the council’s work to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Click here for the latest public health guidance visit 


Museum From Home

The buildings might be closed, but we’re doing what we can to bring the museum to you!

Each week, our team will be sharing a variety of activities, inspired by the collections, to help educate and entertain.

Check out our growing library:



Enjoy 300 years of history in this beautiful Georgian townhouse through hands-on exhibits and displays. Discover what family life was life for the rich and the poor. Then be transported back to the days before washing machines to try out a dolly peg and dress up as a servant. 

Explore Hollytrees in miniature through the dolls’ house or discover Bernard Mason’s fascinating collection of Colchester clocks. You can even learn all about the origins of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, loved the world over and written in Colchester. 

What You Can See

The Building

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

Built in 1718, this Georgian House was home to Charles Gray, an attorney, a Justice of the Peace and a Member of Parliament for Colchester.

The Collections

Hollytrees Museum houses a range of collections, including toys, art, costume and clocks.

Discover what family life was like for the rich and the poor. Then be transported back to the days before washing machines to try out a dolly peg and dress up as a servant.

Changing Displays

From temporary displays showing-casing stored collections to projects involving local communities, one of our galleries regularly changes, providing something new to discover each time you visit.

The Bernard Mason Clock Gallery

See star examples of Bernard Mason’s collection of clocks made in Colchester, from long cases to lantern clocks.


Colchester Museums was a winner in the 2019 Hoop Awards, scooping Best Holiday Workshops in Essex!

See What's On and come experience our range of family-friendly activities for yourself!


Upcoming Events

There are no events on at the moment. Join our newsletter and be notified when new events are due to start plus much more.

Plan Your Visit

Opening Times

Monday – Saturday
10.00am – 5.00pm


Free admission

What can you see?



Our museum shop offers a wide range of products, from Tiptree jams and chutneys to prints of Colchester, vintage toys to local books. Whether you’re looking for a memento or the perfect gift, we have something for all tastes and budgets.



Every effort has been made to make Hollytrees Museum a great place to visit for everybody.

If you have any access queries please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Facilities include:

  • Automatic sliding doors.
  • Parking spaces for blue badge holders by Castle Park in Museum Street, and on the High Street.
  • Accessible toilet and changing facilities available at the neighboring Natural History Museum.
  • Lift – Please note no more than two wheelchair users allowed on the first floor. If there are more than two wheelchair users in your group, please contact us.
  • Display cases and text are at wheelchair height.
  • RADAR accessible toilet.
  • Hearing induction loop.
  • Inductive couplers for hearing aids fitted to sound phones.
  • Display sound transcripts.
  • Twiddlemuffs (sensory aids) available on request.
  • Tactile RNIB ‘Maps For All’ floor plan.
  • Hands-on interactive and sensory experiences. 
  • Display sound commentary.
  • Guide and helping dogs are welcome.
  • Free drinking water available on request.

Where will your adventure start?