Colchester has plenty to offer those looking to escape the bustle of London life and explore heritage treasures, family attractions and scenic Essex countryside.
Photo: The George Hotel
Standing proud on Colchester’s historic High Steet, The George Hotel has been a hub of activity in the market town for half a century and recently underwent extensive refurbishment to breathe new life into the Grade II-listed building.
We catch up with Kiran Dulai, marketing director at Surya Hotels, the company that owns The George Hotel, to find out why Colchester is a top choice for a UK staycation.
Things to see and do in Colchester
Allegedly the oldest recorded town in Britain, Colchester has a long and interesting history that dates back more than 2,000 years, with many remnants of its past still fit for exploration today.
Bounded by a Roman wall, the town centre is home to heritage sites, ancient ruins and medieval buildings, including the famous Colchester Castle, all just a few minutes’ walk from The George Hotel.
“There’s lots of historic architecture and unique culture to admire when walking around the town, including our very own hotel,” says Kiran.
“The building is 500 years old and it’s very much part of the town’s rich and varied past with lovely period features which we’ve restored.”
But it’s not all history – Colchester offers excellent shopping, award-winning museums and a varied calendar of events, art exhibitions and nightlife.
Further afield, there are many family attractions and ample countryside to explore.
“We’re just a 15-minute drive from Beth Chatto Gardens and Colchester Zoo, with Dedham Vale – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beaty with plenty of walks and cycling routes, and the Essex coast, just a short drive away,” says Kiran.
Where to eat and drink in Colchester
Colchester is home to an eclectic mix of places to eat and drink, from traditional tea rooms and cosy pubs to trendy restaurants and independent cafes.
Much more than a place to stay, The George Hotel has recently revamped its food and drink offering with a relaxed two-tier restaurant serving a daily a la carte menu, an extended bar and lounge area, and a Moroccan-inspired heated secret courtyard specialising in tapas and cocktails.
“Whether you’re stopping off for a pre-dinner cocktail or sitting down for a three-course meal after exploring the town, you can expect a warm welcome and first-class food and drink,” says Kiran.
“We’ve got extensive wine, beer and cocktail menus, and our food is locally sourced and seasonal, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options,” she adds.
Colchester is known for its quintessential English tea rooms, but if you’re looking for something a little bit different, ‘T at The George’ is the hotel’s latest quirky addition, offering freshly brewed tea, tasty sandwiches and sweet treats in a super-stylish setting.
“It feels a bit Victorian and Alice in Wonderland, but with a chic London twist,” says Kiran.
“The food is fabulous – our pastry chef makes everything by hand, and a lot of attention goes into every detail. The tea room is popular for special occasions and we’re planning a series of themed events for autumn and Christmas.”
A welcoming stay at The George Hotel
To make the most of your visit to Colchester, The George Hotel offers a selection of boutique guest rooms inspired by the town’s historic roots.
Each of the heritage rooms has period features, designer touches and smart TVs, while the bespoke suites include luxury finishes such as emperor beds, high-end sound systems and freestanding baths.
“Whether you’re booking a one-night visit for a special occasion or an extended staycation, we cater for all types of getaways, from romantic breaks to family holidays,” says Kiran.
“We want to make sure your stay with us is truly special, and we also offer gift vouchers for afternoon teas or three-course meals if you want to treat a loved one.”
Call 01206 578494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
The George Hotel, 116 High St, Colchester CO1 1TD; suryahotels.co.uk