Colchester’s Horrible History – a walking tour with Costumed Guides





The Tour / Experience:

This is a family friendly walking tour of Colchester with two costumed Blue Badge Tour Guides in character.  Join Nick and Mary, Colchester Castle Gaolers (aka Claire and Ian of GuideEast) as we discover the (not so nice) history of Colchester, Britain’s first City.

Tales of Boudicca’s revolt against Rome, the 17th century siege of Colchester, executions, witch-hunts, plague and pestilence abound as we journey through the historic town centre and adjacent Castle Park, soaking up the atmosphere of the town’s dark history.

On our tour of the Park, past the ancient Castle and through the many medieval streets of the Dutch Quarter, we will visit some of the locations associated with the town’s horrible history and hear about many of the horrible events that took place and the horrible characters who were involved.

During the tour, you will also discover why so many weavers from the Low Countries of Europe made Colchester their home in the 17th century, and of the Religious persecution and deprivation that later led to so many from this area leaving to start a new life in America.

This is a great tour to experience as night falls on the town, and is ideally suited to large families or small groups of friends, perhaps combined with a visit to one of the town’s many restaurants or pubs.


The Highlights: 

Join Nick and Mary, the gruesome 17th Century Castle Gaolers on this walking tour of Colchester and enjoy their unique and entertaining look at the Town’s dark past.

Highlights of the tour include:

  • A walk through some of the most historic and atmospheric areas of Colchester
  • Tales of ‘bloody’ Roman sacrifice and Queen Boudica’s revolting revolt
  • The story of the Matthew Hopkins, the self-appointed Witchfinder General, and how he extracted confessions from those he accused of witchcraft
  • A visit to the site of an execution to hear the last words of those who were murdered
  • The Story of Colchester’s last Religious martyr and the prison conditions that resulted in his death
  • The ‘smelly’ origins of the well-known English expression ‘getting the wrong end of the stick’
  • The ghostly tale of Alice Miller, foully done to death by her married lover at the Red Lion


Tour Details:

Start and End Locations:   The tour starts and ends at The War Memorial, Cowdray Crescent, Colchester, Essex

Distance: 1.5 miles

Duration: 1hr 45mins


Contact Details:


Tour gallery

About the guide

Name: Claire Partner

Qualifications: East of England

Languages: English