After a morning of passing wizard exams*, I was intending to
spend a leisurely afternoon on my own with my book in hand, snuggled in a nice nearby
London coffee shop. But, unable to choose where to go, I had found myself
staring at the train departure boards of Liverpool Street Station and buying a
ticket almost all the way to the East Coast of England.
This isn’t a normal person behaviour, I know, but the
combination of a sunny afternoon and a terrible case of wanderlust in my soul,
Colchester – the oldest town in England – was selected almost at random based
on having a castle, length of train journey and fascinating history.
all life decisions were so easy to settle on.
Letting my better half know I was fleeing London, and
wishing (much too late) that I had left the house with a coat and phone
charger, we hurtled through the lush green countryside as I hurriedly googled
‘what to do in Colchester’ before we pulled into the train station.
“The castle?” The bus driver looked at me blankly. Slightly
befuddled I answered “Er, yeah, Colchester has a castle according to Google
Maps doesn’t it?” (Because of course Google Maps is the holy grail of
directions…) “OH, yes, you mean the High Street stop really.” Only in the UK
are castles are so common to the locals that an ancient structure isn’t
considered a landmark anymore. To be fair the castle is on a small slip road
behind the shop (and a hilariously wonky Estate Agents office.) #SoVeryBritish
With no real plans in mind, a dying phone (and camera
battery) and the onset of mid-afternoon very much in the forefront of my mind I
simply meandered along the High Street, wandering down along steep side roads
lined with pastel homes, through Wisteria draped archways and along the floral
paths of the Castle Park.
As I mooched (the locals must have thought I was homeless or
something) and snapped away, I discovered a few back roads of cool graffiti, an
Andy Warhol exhibit in an incredibly modern building and modern follies tucked in
amongst suburban homes.
Serving as the first capital of Roman Britain, and claiming to be the oldest recorded town in Britain, Colchester has been home to the Romans, Saxons, Normans and Victorians all leaving their mark on the landscape.
Claiming to be the birthplace of several nursery rhymes – Humpty Dumpty (Richard III’s defeat in the battle of Bosworth Hill), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (written by Jane Taylor in the 19th Century) and Old King Cole (a derivation of Cole’s Castle) – even the High Street is rather fascinating.
I also stumbled on the cutest tea rooms tucked behind an
archway; complete with daisy studded lawns, kids birthday parties and warm
scones served with clotted cream and local jam. The sun ducked behind a cloud
as the Mums began to round up their tribes and I attempted to improve my
flatlay skills – much to their amusement.
I wish that I’d had a little more foresight and a little
more battery for planning, but as far as on the hoof adventures go (I’ve managed
to get at least 9 action words into my sleepy little afternoon description) it
was a pretty cool little place.
And then, then I discovered the Victorian Water
Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place?
*Not an everyday occurance
sadly, but a brilliantly themed escape room. The only upset was when Miss
Runaway Kiwi declared that I was of Slytherin House – I’m not entirely sure if
our established friendship is going to survive such a character assasination but we’ll see.