Colchester Roman circus visitor centre is now CLOSED for the winter break

The Colchester Roman circus visitor centre and tea room closed for the winter break on the 30th September. We will re-open them on the 27th March 2018 *.

The visitor centre is still in use during the autumn/winter: the Colchester Archaeological Group (CAG) and Colchester Recalled (CR, the oral history group) present public talks and hold their meetings here. The CAG talks are presented weekly (on Monday evenings) and the CR meetings, which each include a talk, are held monthly (on Thursday evenings). For details of these, please go to and or consult the calendar on this web-site.
The Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) also hold most of their meetings here at the Roman circus visitor centre, on the third Saturday of the month, for YAC members only.
Our two parts of the site of the Roman circus are still open to visitors, from 9.00 am till 5.00 pm, and you can also walk a large part of the site along Le Cateau Road, Circular Road North, Circular Road East and Napier Road.

The Trust also welcomes pre-booked groups to the Roman circus visitor centre during the autumn/winter, and we can provide these with guided tours and refreshments. The Roman circus visitor centre is also available to hire as a venue. Please ‘phone or email us for details (contact details at ).

*** The Roman circus visitor centre and tea room are now CLOSED (from the 30th September 2017).
*** The Roman circus visitor centre and tea room will re-open for our summer season at 11.00 am on the 27th March 2018, which is the Tuesday before Easter.
We look forward to seeing you!

We would like to thank everyone who has visited and supported the Roman circus visitor centre or tea room this year, and we hope that you enjoyed it. Also thanks to everyone who posted such positive reviews on TripAdvisor and Google!

Please visit our Roman circus visitor centre web-site at .

The floral image below is published online at and it is used here with thanks to the Graphics Fairy. The other two images show the Roman circus visitor centre today (2nd October 2017).






















* The Roman circus visitor centre is just responding to the seasons imposed on the earth by Ceres…
Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and the harvest. Chariot-races were held in her honour in April at the Circus Maximus in ancient Rome and, on the 4th October, the Ieiunium Cereris was a day of fasting to honour Ceres.
Ceres’ daughter Prosperpina, goddess of fertility, was abducted by the god Pluto in his quadriga (four-horse chariot), drawn by four black horses, and taken to live in the Underworld. (Quadrigae were used in Roman chariot-races.) Pluto was the god of death and the Underworld, and he owned all the riches in the ground: Prosperpina became his queen of the Underworld.
From the Trust web-site (in April 2016): ‘… The festival of Cerealia included the Ludi Ceriales (“games of Ceres”) which were Ludi Circenses (circus games). The Ludi were held in the great chariot-racing arena of the Circus Maximus… [which] was near the Temple of Ceres … In Roman mythology, Prosperpina was abducted by the god Pluto and taken to the Underworld, where Ceres found her: however, it was decreed that Prosperpina would live in the Underworld for six months of the year and in the upper world for the other six months, so Ceres imposed autumn and winter on the earth during her daughter’s seasons of absence …’.
Now that Prosperpina has returned to the Underworld for six months, Ceres mourns her absence, and autumn and winter return to the earth, so the Roman circus visitor centre is closed for six months, until spring and summer return…
See you then!














The image shows a Roman wall-painting which is now held by the British Museum (museum number 1883,0505.1: ‘Wall painting from a tomb: rape [abduction] of Proserpina; Pluto in a quadriga … carrying Proserpina in his arms …’. This dates to the 2nd-3rd centuries and is from Italy, the Tomb of the Nasonii, Via Flaminia – © The Trustees of the British Museum. The image is published online at and posted here under a Creative Commons Licence, with thanks.