About Colchester

Colchester Location

Located to the North-East of the county of Essex, Colchester is Britain’s oldest recorded town, with a history dating back over 2000 years.  The town has plenty of attractions to suit all tastes, with everything from a Roman temple to an ultra modern arts facility built in 2011. For those who want to find out more about Colchester in advance of the event, the local BookCrossers recommend this website to get a full flavour of the town.

Travelling Around

Travel to Colchester is easy with links from Liverpool Street (travel time around 1 hour) and a regular bus service from Stansted. Alternatively, the town is reasonably close to Harwich. There is plenty of town centre parking available at reasonable cost. Journey times by car are approximately 2 hours from central London, 3 hours from Birmingham, 4 hours from Cardiff and 4 hours 30 minutes from Manchester.

For those who want to explore the town but need a little bit of help getting around, Shopmobility provide electric scooters should anyone require one. If this facility is needed then pre-booking is advised and there is a charge of £15 for a weekend hire plus a returnable deposit of £250. For more information visit the Colchester Shopmobility website.

Colchester Castle

Colchester Castle

This Norman castle stands on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, built after the death of Emperor Claudius in AD54, which can be visited during castle tours. The temple was built around AD1100 under the direction of William the Conqueror and currently stands as the largest surviving example of its kind in Europe.

At the time of the Unconvention, the castle museum will be hosting a display of the treasures of China with items from the earliest stone age tombs to the time of the last Emperor.

The Golden Banana

Opened in September 2011, the brand new and ultra modern arts facility firstsite has become known locally as the golden banana. This gallery, which commissions and shows new art from around the world, is one of the Plus Tate group of UK regional galleries.

St. Botolph’s Priory

St. Botolph’s Priory

The remains of one of the first Augustinian priories in England, founded in about 1100. Although only the nave of the ruined priory church is still standing,  this is a Grade 1 listed building under the care of English Heritage.

Further Afield

There are many attractions within a reasonable travelling distance of Colchester, including the Colne Valley railway and Colchester Zoo.

Especially For BookCrossers

Within Colchester there is great support for BookCrossing with a large number of OBCZs and an excellent BookCrossing friendly independent bookshop, Red Lion books.

If the books at the Unconvention are not enough to satisfy your needs, the venues are within easy access of a Waterstones, WHSmith, around 17 charity shops and several 2nd hand bookshops. In other words a bibliophiles paradise!