We’ve all been there as parents. The weekend’s arrived, or it’s half term, and the kids are around. You find yourself feeling the summer was some kind of dream that you can’t quite remember. It’s raining and you’ve got to keep those young ones busy. You need options.
Luckily, there are a bunch of cool places to go in Colchester when the weather is bad…
The Castle – www.cimuseums.org.uk/castle
The outside walls might not have changed for at least a couple of centuries, but the interior is much-improved since the major re-fit two years ago. The 21st-century standard displays (including a wall-covering projection!), models, videos and information all grab your attention, and there’s a huge depth of history to soak up. The only thing that’s missing is a café, but there are plenty nearby and one in the park itself.
Empire Skatepark – www.facebook.com/empireessex
An industrial unit that backs onto the railway line doesn’t sound promising, but once you step inside, you realise it’s a whole new world of fun. Suitable for those kids who love their skateboards and stunt scooters. It’s fine for all levels of ability (although best to have a good grasp of the basics) and is run by a co-operative of skaters. Open from around midday until 10pm – expect younger kids during the day and older ones later on.
Firstsite – www.firstsite.uk
Love it or loathe it, Colchester has an international-grade gallery on its hands. There’s usually a cool exhibition worth checking out in the various rooms, and the café and shop areas have a great vibe. They have activities at weekends for families, often run by artists themselves. Watch out for regular film showings in the cinema for an alternative experience to the Odeon.
Rollerworld – www.rollerworldcolchester.co.uk
Good old-fashioned fun on four (or eight?) wheels. A large, ice rink-sized oval with great lights, a disco ball, and a snack bar. Plus, if that wasn’t enough, they have a Quasar arena in the next room! What better way to spend an afternoon than chasing your mates around the floor and then shooting them with a laser?
The Library – http://libraries.essex.gov.uk
Whether it’s your local or the central library in Trinity Square, you can’t underestimate the value of a quiet, warm space with seating and an almost inexhaustible supply of inspiration and entertainment. Stories, pictures, adventures, characters, plus history, design, technology, cookery… the list goes on. People are there to help if you need it. There is also details about other useful services and local information. And it’s free. Use it or lose it.
But whatever you do, don’t let the rain bring you down. And don’t give in too easily to the games console! (Save that for later)
Do you know of any other great places to go in Colchester with kids when it’s raining?