by Carmen Allan-Petale
Colchester is about as far as you can get from jellied eels whilst still remaining in Essex.
It claims to be the oldest town in Britain because it was the first Roman capital in the country and to this day its castle stands proud in the middle of the town.
Built in the 11th century, the castle’s architecture is in the same style as the Tower of London.
When we visited it was a beautiful sunny day and there was a county cricket match on in the grounds surrounding the castle. School holidays were also on – in force – and screaming children ran about amusing themselves in a kid’s wonderland where you can play mini golf or row a boat on the lake.
We bypassed all this and ate an ice cream under the shade a big oak tree. Life’s simple like that sometimes.
We then walked through the grounds, and past a giant fish pond and numerous hedges shaped into amusing designs keeping in the style of the heritage-listed site… such as a dragon and the Queen’s crown.
Across the road from the castle entrance is the Minories Art Gallery which is run by local artists exhibiting their art. There’s a small shop where you can buy some handmade jewellery and greeting cards – one offs that are really unique. You can also have afternoon tea in the garden if the weather’s agreeable.
So if you’re in Essex and you want to escape the fake tan and false eyelashes – hit the oldest town in Britain to get a touch of tradition.