Thursday, March 27, 2008

Colchester

Going to Colchester was purely coincidental. Our first choice has been Battle, which is the site of 1066's Battle of Hastings. That is perhaps the most important year in the English history, though some might argue that that should be 1966 instead.

We decided on Colchester on the sole reason that its main attraction, the Colchester Castle, was opened on Easter Monday.

Anyway, had Des and HP over for a sleepover so that we could catch the early morning train. As expected, the four of us ended up playing Dai di (again) through the night... we nearly didn't make it to Liverpool Train Station the next morning.

For some reason, there was no train service that day and we got the tickets for replacement buses for half the price. Although the journey time is the same (1h 40min), I would have preferred the train given our bad experience during our trip to Bath.

Colchester, with a population of 104,390, claims to be the oldest town in Britain. In fact, it was the first Roman settlement (thus the capital by default) built on the British isle after Claudius' invasion.

It was sacked by Queen Boudica and all 30,000 inhabitants were slaughtered in AD 61. The town never really recovered after that. London, which the Romans deemed to be a more desirable capital, overtook it as the administrative centre not long after that.

During Medieval times, the Normans built the present day Colchester Castle on top of the solid foundations of the Roman temple to the Divine Claudius. By then, the foundations would have been 1000 years old. The Romans really build things to last. As we walked around the town, we noticed that there were buildings erected using trademark red Roman tiles. These were pillaged after the Romans withdrew from the isle.

Admission to the castle costs 5.20 pounds per adult. The exhibition within is not to be missed. There's even a kids' trail which is quite engaging. The highlight, however, is the guided tour, which cost a further 2 quid. Lasting approximately 45min, the guide will take you through the vaults and the rooftop of the castle.

It began snowing just as we were leaving the castle. Caught some snow flakes on Wife's arms. Coming from a tropical isle, we don't really get to see snow very much. Well, needless to say, the four of us got quite excited at the sight.

Colchester, with the castle being its main attraction, may not be the choice for a day trip if you're in London for only a couple of weeks. Having said that, I would definitely recommend it if you can afford the time. The castle itself kept us occupied for more than four hours!

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5 comments:

london soon said...

Thought of you when I saw Prima Taste in Fair Price yesterday. Had been reading your blog regularly as I subscribed to the updates. Snowing huh.... Singapore is warm and sunny!

LadyBanana said...

You did well, I just could face the cold over Easter and stayed in!

kyh said...

It's a wonderful thing to take some time off and explore the history and culture of the land we're in.

Castles are a gr8 place to begin with, esp for us Orientals since we dun hv any of 'em here!

Gregorio said...

I'd love to see that castle as well as London Tower some time.It must have been awe inspiring.

C K said...

@london soon
Glad to hear from you again! Thanks for the subscription! Am now trying to get over my dependency on Prima Taste and concoting our own recipes... with limited success.

London is still gloomy at best. :|

@ladybanana
I can't afford to stay at home over the weekend otherwise I'll end up clicking non stop at EntreCard. :p

@kyh
Agreed! Don't see alot of castles back home. Been to Ayuthuya (Thailand) some time back... the ruins over there suggest that the city was awe inspiring at its peak. Highly recommended!

@gregorio
Would suggest that you pay a visit to Tower of London first. Although Colchester Castle was built based on the Tower, it wasn't as well maintained as the latter. A pity really...