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Colchester Christmas Lights/Willams and Griffin window
Christmas in Colchester gets under way on Sunday 29th November with the switch on of the town's Christmas light displays at 4.30pm by Hayley Tammadon who played Delilah Dingle in Emmerdale and Andrea Beckett in Coronation Street. There will be lots going on around Lion Walk and Red Lion Yard shopping precincts including singing, dancing. Events run from 12 noon until 17.00 - for more information please visit http://www.christmasincolchester.co.uk/christmas-lights-switch-on.html

Also on Sunday is the unveiling of the Williams & Griffin Christmas window with guest appearance by Fr Christmas and his Elf at 2pm.

Christmas Market, Winter Wonderland, Castle Open Evening
On Sunday 6th December the High Street will be closed to traffic to make way for the annual Christmas Market from 11am until 5pm. Pop along for traditional and exotic hot food, drinks, lots of presents and fun.

From 27th November until 3rd January 2016 is your chance to visit Colchester Winter Wonderland complete with Ice Skating Rink, fair-ground rides, local choirs singing carols, and a winter market selling local crafts and produce. Entrance is free but there is a charged for the Ice Rink and rides.

Colchester Castle Museum opens for FREE on Wednesday 9th December. You can visit Santa’s Grotto and meet Father Christmas (3.50 per child including a small gift), soak up the Christmas atmosphere listening to traditional carol singing and browse around the Christmas Market outside. Drop-in for free any time between 3pm – 8.30pm (free entry during these times only).

You can even park for nothing as there is free parking in Colchester surface car parks at Vineyard Street, Britannia, Priory Street, Butt Road, Napier Road, Sheepen Road after 3pm on Christmas late night shopping Wednesdays right up until Christmas.

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  Jacks Famous Supplies closes for the last time
Jacks Famous SuppliesAnother piece of Colchester's unique past will soon be gone forever as Jack's Famous Supplies closes its doors for the last time on 2nd February 2013. The store, which sold a combination of household items, camping gear, hardware, tools, clothes and shoes, has been struggling for some time and was only saved from closure last year when the owner made a plea for customers to support the store. However the reprieve was sadly short-lived and the store went into administration in mid-January in the hope that a buyer could be found to save the store. Sadly no buyer emerged for the store which announced it would close for the last time on Saturday.

Jacks has been popular with the residents of Colchester shop for many years and has a reputation for selling goods at bargain basement prices long before the advent of stores such as Poundland and it is with sadness that we say goodbye to yet another iconic and unique Colchester landmark.

Colchester Visitor Information Centre has moved
The Visit Colchester Information Centre has relocated to Hollytrees Museum. The Visit Colchester team look forward to welcoming you to their new home, where not only can you pop in for the best advice on where to go, eat, drink and stay, but you'll also get the opportunity to see three centuries of fascinating toys, costume and decorative arts as well as clocks and watches from the Bernard Mason Collection.

The new postal address for the centre is:-
Visitor Information Centre, Hollytrees Museum, Castle Park, Colchester, CO1 1UG
The telephone number (01206) 282920 and email
vic@colchester.gov.uk both remain the same.

The new location is situated just off the High Street in Castle Park almost opposite the old Queen Street location. The centre will be open Monday to Saturday from 10am until 5pm.

Colchester Castle closed for refurbishment
Colchester Castle and museum is currently closed to the public until May 2014 for a major refurbishment programme. The Museum displays is to be updated and modernised and repairs made to the fabric of the ancient building – soon to be one-thousand years old!

It is promised the project will reveal more of the Castle’s historic interior and new displays will tell the 2,000-year story of Colchester in a fresh and exciting new way with a new interactive hub and a full-size burial reconstruction, more audio character stories, video projections, and replica objects to handle.

Other improvements are planned to the museum shop and the toilets; the Castle roof will be insulated, and under-floor heating will boost energy efficiency plus a new glass lift to improve disabled access to the Castle.

New stores open in Colchester town centre
The opening of two new clothes stores by major retailers has revitalised an area of Colchester town centre that was hit by the loss of Woolworths and Zavvi last year. H & M opened their new store in March on the site formerly occupied by Woolworths in the Culver Square area with a further entrance to the store in Head Street while Republic opened for the first time in June having taken over the former Zavvi site next door. The arrival of these two well-known names in this prestigious area of town is great news for Colchester and will hopefully attract shoppers back into the town.

Colchester's Roman Chariot Circus is saved
The battle to save the remains of the only Roman Chariot Racing arena known in Britain from being lost forever looks to have been won. A consortium of the Colchester Archaeological Trust, Colchester and Essex Councils needed to raise 200,000 by the end of February 2010 in order to buy the ex-sergeants’ mess building from developers Taylor Wimpey, under which lie the remains of the arena starting gates. They managed to meet their target with days to spare and therefore ensured this unique site was saved for future generations. The consortium now plan to set up a heritage centre on the site. You can read more about the site and help to support the cause by visiting http://www.romancircus.org.

Colchester's Castle Park named Best in Britain

Colchester's Castle Park has been named the Best Park in Britain by garden machinery firm Briggs and Stratton. The competition has been running for 6 years and this year over 60 parks from all over the UK took part. Castle Park now goes forward into a best of Europe competition where it will come up against other winning parks from France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden. And if you want to see why Castle Park proved so popular here is a short video clip.

Frankie & Benny come to town
American/Italian 50s Style chain Frankie & Benny's have opened a new restaurant in Colchester at Tollgate on the west side of the town. The restaurant has it's own large car park and is only a short distance from the A12 junction at Stanway.

Woolies shuts it's doors in Colchester
After trading in the town for almost 100 years the Colchester branch of Woolworths in Culver Square - fondly known thoughout the UK as 'woolies' shut it's doors for the last time on Saturday 3rd January after the firm went into liquidation. The firm had been trading in Colchester for 94 years and almost everything was sold off - even the shop fittings. Sadly 75 staff members lost their jobs.

New Colchester Utd stadium opens at Cuckoo Farm
Colchester United's new 10,000 seater stadium at Cuckoo Farm to the north of Colchester has opened for business in time for the 2009/10 season. The new 14m ground replaces Layer Road, the clubs former home since they were formed in 1937 and which had a capacity of just 6,180 (2014 seating, 4166 standing). Supporters are encouraged to use a bus link from North Station to and from the ground as parking is limited and access to the ground is not easy until a new link road to the nearby A12 has been completed.

The first home game at the new stadium saw Colchester United take on Huddersfield Town in Division 1 - the result 0-0.

Colchester on the Monopoly Map!
Colchester and it's castle are to be featured on a new UK edition of the famous Monopoly board game. Along with London & Manchester the town is one of the Crimson coloured areas which were Pall Mall, Whitehall & Northumberland Avenue on the original classic layout.

Colchester, which came 17th in a public poll, is in the position formerly occupied by Pall Mall but with a price tag of 1.4m in the new edition against the original Pall Mall value of 140!

Colchester Parks win Top Awards.
Castle Park and High Woods Country Park have both received Green Flag and Green Heritage awards. Castle Park won its 6th Green Flag and 5th Green Heritage award, while High Woods Country Park wins a 5th Green Flag award. The awards are designed to recognise the best parks in the United Kingdom.

First stage of Western by-pass opens.
The first stage of the new Colchester West by-pass was officially opened on 20th July 2007 - a full 20 years after it's initial concept. The new section of road links Tollgate retail park with Essex Yeomanry Way and the A12 interchange and has been designed to relieve traffic at Tollgate roundabout.

Construction of the second stage of the by-pass, between Tollgate and Warren Lane, is due to begin in autumn 2007. This is designed to divert traffic away from Stanway completely.



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