Colchester Roman circus visitor centre is a Children’s University Learning Destination





The Colchester Archaeological Trust is delighted to say that the Colchester Roman circus site and visitor centre have been included in the Colchester Cultural Trail 2017 as a Learning Destination.

The Cultural Trail is part of the Essex Children’s University or CU (Colchester Campus) scheme for children in Essex during the school summer holidays (the image shows the CU logo). The scheme runs from the 29th July to the 20th September 2017. Every school child in Essex has been given an information pack and, last week, we received a copy of the information pack. The pack includes a ‘Passport to learning’ and a booklet titled ‘Colchester Cultural Trail 2017 – A guide for children aged 5+’. The booklet includes a map and a list of Learning Destinations in Colchester, as well as a contact email address. (The Learning Destination logo is displayed here at the Roman circus visitor centre and on the home page of this web-site. You will be able to look at our poster or pick up a flyer here at the Roman circus visitor centre.)

We have now created a timetable of activities here at the Roman circus visitor centre for children who visit us as a Learning Destination during the school summer holidays. Trust archaeologist Laura Pooley has compiled our school summer holiday activities: she worked at several museums as a curator before joining the Trust. We have set up a ‘Cultural Trail’ corner in the ‘chariot room’ here at the Roman circus visitor centre. Children will be able to come and spend an hour a day (Tuesday-Friday) with a Trust archaeologist and discover what it’s like to be an archaeologist. We hope that this will be fun as well as interesting! There will be some craft activities for you to do at other times. We will also stamp your ‘Passport to learning’, either in the ‘Cultural Trail’ corner or at the tea room counter (we’ve got the stamp here, all ready to use). We also have a lot of green outside space which is great to run around in.

The Cultural Trail booklet says: ‘… History, art, design, performing arts, music or literature – the Colchester Cultural Trail 2017 has something for all children aged 5+
The Trail has been designed to inspire new ideas and provide new experiences over the summer holidays …
All children must be accompanied …
Take the Trail booklet to the activities you choose … At each activity your Trail will be stamped …
Before the end of September, post [your] Trail to the Essex Children’s University to be entered into a draw to receive £30 of vouchers which can be redeemed with any of the organisations involved …
Take your Passport as well as the Trail to receive your CU credits …’.

Roman circus visitor centre activity timetable for the school summer holiday 2017:


Detailed info.:
Always available during opening hours:
A quiz sheet on the Roman circus visitor centre is available here. There will also be some craft activities for younger children.

Come and meet a real Colchester Archaeological Trust archaeologist and have a go at different activities:
Tuesday (August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Sept. 5, 12, 19), 11.00 am-12 noon – mini excavation
Come and have a look at some of the equipment used to excavate a site and find some real archaeological objects in our mini sand-pit dig.

Wednesday (Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Sept. 6, 13, 20), 11.00 am-12 noon – archaeological finds washing
Have a go at some finds washing with a Trust archaeologist.

Thursday (Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Sept. 7, 14), 11.00 am-12 noon – archaeological finds sorting
Have a go at some finds sorting with a Trust archaeologist.

Friday (Aug. 4, 9, 18, 25; Sept. 1, 8, 15), 11.00 am-12 noon – archaeological finds quiz with some finds handling
Come and have a look at our table of archaeological objects with a Trust archaeologist – can you guess what they are, how old they are and what they were used for?!

Saturday 19th August and Saturday 16th September, 11.00 am-2.00 pm – come and play Aquila!
is based on an ancient board-game. which the Trust found during excavations at Stanway near Colchester in the 1990s – come and play! It is a fun strategic game for two players and it is addictive… Come and play it under the supervision of Alex, who created Aquila. (We can provide a number of boards. Age 6+. Children must be accompanied by an adult.)

Every Saturday from April to September (July 29; Aug. 5, 12, 19, 26; Sept. 2, 9, 16), 12 noon-1.00 pm and 1.00 pm-2.00 pm – guided tours of the Roman circus site and visitor centre
Join us for a guided tour of Colchester’s Roman circus site and visitor centre. The tours start at 12 noon and at 1.00 pm from inside the Roman circus visitor centre (the fee is £3 per adult, accompanied children under 16 free).


Most of these children’s activities will take place on two long tables in the corner of the ‘chariot room’, by the entrance door – you can’t miss it! The finds washing and mini excavation will take place in our marquee.
All these children’s activities are free – but there is a donations box in the ‘chariot room’ and all donations are gratefully received!

Visitor information:
The Roman circus site and visitor centre are open Tuesday-Saturday, 11.00 am-4.00 pm, April-September. Admission is free.
Our tea room is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11.00 am-4.00 pm.
The site and visitor centre are pushchair-/wheelchair-accessible.
We provide a small visitor car-park with free parking, and a visitor WC with baby-changing table and wheelchair access.

Visit the Essex Children’s University web-site at .

The images below show a Children’s University ‘Passport to learning’; Laura holding the information pack in our children’s ‘Cultural Trail’ corner in the ‘chariot room’ of the Roman circus visitor centre; and the passport stamp! [Images to follow.]