This historic Essex town was the country’s first city and the former capital of Roman Britain. Today it offers beauty, history and plenty of things to see and do on a spa day or break, retaining its appeal for more than 2,000 years.
Colchester is known for having many of the oldest claims to fame in the UK. It’s the oldest recorded city, has the oldest town walls in Britain (built by the Romans in AD 60), is home to the oldest church (remains) dating to AD 320, and, more peculiarly, it’s home to the oldest hot cross bun in the world, baked 207 years ago.
Just over an hour away from London by train, these historic details are enough to draw many visitors, but if ancient hot cross buns aren’t your thing then there’s plenty of other attractions. The 11th century Colchester Castle is something to behold, while the Firstsight visual arts gallery brings you a whole different form of architecture and design.
You can explore the remains of a Roman theatre in the area known as the Dutch Quarter or visit the Georgian Hollytrees Museum to discover 300 years of fashion and decorative arts. Families love Colchester Zoo or a stroll in Highwoods Country Park, and the town itself offers plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants to explore.
Spa hotels and day spas in Colchester give you ample opportunity to unwind. Stoke by Nayland Hotel is contemporary and relaxed, while Bannatyne Kingsford Park is perfect for a spa day before an evening out. For those looking for a total wellness retreat, Lifehouse Spa and Hotel is just over 30 minutes from Colchester centre and is a firm favourite for rest, relaxation and pampering.