A Family Visit to Colchester Natural History Museum

Domestic house and garden Natural History Display

The O'Hallorans

The OHallorans

We’re made up of Lyndsey, John and Erin, who all love a new adventure. We try to get away as much as possible, especially during school holidays and variety is a must for us. That means staying anywhere from a luxury hotel to a hostel and it’s not often we go to the same place twice. 

Colchester is a wonderful place to visit as a family, with lots of options for things to do. The Colchester Natural History Museum is free to visit and a great choice for all ages. 

Address and contact details

Natural History Museum
High Street

The Natural History Museum is a 10 minute walk from Colchester town station, and the bus station. It’s also roughly the same to walk from the town centre. You’ll find the museum in the former All Saints Church, with the main entrance around the front. 

Website: https://colchester.cimuseums.org.uk/visit/natural-history-museum/

Exterior view of Colchester Natural History Museum

Opening Times

Tuesday – Saturday
10am – 5pm
11am – 5pm

Colchester Natural History Museum opening times

Facilities and access

  • Toilets are available at Colchester Natural History Museum. These include two unisex toilets and an accessible toilet
  • Baby changing facilities are available in the accessible toilet
  • The Natural History Museum is all on one floor, which has step free access throughout.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome.

Parking at Colchester Natural History Museum

There is no parking available directly at the Colchester Natural History Museum. However, there are plenty of paid car parks in Colchester which are only a short distance away.

Welcome to the Natural History Museum Colchester

What is there to do at Colchester Natural History Museum?

The collections

Being a Natural History Museum, you can expect to see a selection of both taxidermy animals and items from the natural world. This museum concentrates mostly on Britain and north-east Essex in particular. 

As the museum is set inside a former church, it isn’t huge but the use of space has been done really well. There are examples of typical animals from places such as gardens, including cats, mice and flys. You can see animals in their natural wildlife habitats and learn about their lives. There are plenty of informative displays, where you can learn lots of new things. The information isn’t overdone either so children will be able to read themselves without getting overwhelmed. We learned a lot about stag beetles in particular, as well as open salt marshes and the North Sea. 

There’s a real mix in the collections at the Colchester Natural History Museum. We really loved being to see some of the smaller details and animals and this made a nice change from the bigger museums we’ve been to in the past. 

On the Rocks display at Colchester Natural History Museum

Interactive displays

Sometimes museums can get a bit much for children, or they get bored easily. Something we loved about this Natural History Museum was how hands on it was for children (and adults). Although the museum is small, they’ve packed a lot into the space.

There are quite a few different interactive displays, which are great for keeping children interested. These included looking at shells under a microscope, learning about the food chain and life cycles, and crawling through animal tunnels!

Erin using an interactive exhibit at Colchester Natural History Museum

The gift shop

Just in front of the reception desk you’ll find an area set aside as the museum gift shop. Here you’ll find a range of products, for both adults and children. These ranged from toys to stationery and gems. It was nice to see some different items for a museum gift shop, as well as there being a range of products at lower price.

How long should you spend at Colchester Natural History Museum?

It would be safe to say that you can spend around an hour at this museum. As a small museum, you might struggle to spend much more time than this here.

Colchester Natural History Museum learning area

Colchester Natural History Museum is such a lovely family-friendly museum. We found there to be more to see and do than we had first expected and we really enjoyed our visit. 

Discover more to do in Colchester

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