About Colchester

Study in the UK’s oldest recorded town!

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Colchester Institute is set within Britain’s oldest recorded town, a town that exudes history, modern culture and creativity. With a population in excess of 170,000, and a vastly growing diversity of cultures and backgrounds, the thriving university town of Colchester demonstrates a dynamic and exciting urban lifestyle.

Studying with us means being only a ten minute walk away from the town centre, where you can find an abundance of shopping facilities, bars, clubs and restaurants. Whether your taste is English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian or perhaps Indian – Colchester has it all and, what’s more, caters for all budgets!

Colchester’s nightlife has something for everyone too. If a traditional pub is what you’re looking for, or a livelier club atmosphere, you won’t be disappointed. Instead of dancing until you drop, perhaps shopping until you drop is more your style. The town offers quirky, independent boutiques along the little lanes, as well as the larger, more famous brands and stores.

There’s a diverse range of modern and historic cultural activities to take enjoy, from the wonders of Colchester Castle – the largest Norman Keep in Europe set in the beautiful Castle Park to the highly regarded Mercury Theatre, well known throughout the town, with quality performances staged during the year. It has also played host to some well-known acts, including Lee Evans and Michael McIntyre!

Our very own Art Gallery, The Minories in Colchester High Street, hosts regular events and exhibitions with our students’ involvement in a multitude of projects. We are also proud to host our own live performances and showcases through Creative Arts Live – an exciting mix of live events and performances for all ages with some unmissable touring shows. An exciting programme of exhibitions, lectures, films and events takes place at firstsite, Colchester’s spectacular new venue for world class contemporary arts.

There is also the Charter Hall and the Colchester Arts Centre (whose home is a converted church – and has seen the likes of Lucy Porter, Tim Vine and Adrian Edmondson perform to name a few) with upcoming performances including comedians Sean Lock and Jimmy Carr, the hit show Avenue Q and popular musical Little Shop of Horrors, to name just a few.

If that wasn’t enough, Colchester offers many more attractions including one of Europe’s finest zoos, a multi-screen cinema and a spa combined with top notch leisure facilities at Leisure World. The town really does cater for all ages, interests and tastes.

colchesterThe town is visually stunning and you’re never far from a Roman ruin, heavily beamed medieval buildings or grand Georgian houses in Colchester. If it’s modern architecture that gets the thumbs up, Colchester has this in abundance too, including firstsite, the contemporary art gallery designed by award-winning architect, Rafael Vinoly.

Making Colchester your place to study or live means you are in good company. TV presenter Dermot O’Leary lived and studied in Colchester whilst Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame and X Factor winner Matt Cardle, are also from the area. Colchester is situated in north east Essex, just a few miles from the Suffolk border, with more towns, countryside and coastline to explore.

For those seduced by the bright lights of the big city, they are less than an hour by train from London. Colchester Institute is only a 10 minute walk from North Station, where you will find regular trains into the capital. If a little sea air is what you’re after, then you’re in luck too. The beautiful sea shores of the award winning Frinton coastline are only a half-hour drive away, along with the seaside towns of Clacton and Walton. There is also the ever popular V Festival in nearby Chelmsford and Latitude festival in Suffolk to enjoy.