When it comes to shopping in Colchester, the town centre is the perfect mix of High Street names, department stores and specialist independent shops that have taken over the historic lanes of the town centre. It means you can find pretty much whatever you’re shopping for in Colchester.

Shopping centres

The Lion Walk Shopping Centre is named after the famous 4th-century Roman mosaic that was discovered by archaeologists in the town centre during the 1970s. The mosaic has now been relocated to Colchester Castle, and standing in its place is one of the most popular shopping centres in Colchester. It’s where you’ll find familiar names like M&S, Boots, Primark, River Island, Topshop, and WHSmith. They stand shoulder to shoulder with a mix of independent retailers selling everything from fashion to fine homeware. You’ll find the most high-end retailers in the beautiful boutique area of Red Lion Yard.

Red Lion Yard

Red Lion Yard

The pedestrianised Culver Square sits at the heart of the main shopping area of Colchester town centre. It’s home to popular retail options like TK Maxx, H&M, and Debenhams, as well as designer brands and fashion labels like Chanel, Calvin Klein, Ben Sherman, Levi’s, and Yves Saint Laurent. As if that wasn’t enough, a hop, skip and a jump away from the south side of Culver Square you’ll find the St. Johns Walk Shopping Centre. If you’re shopping on a shoestring, it’s great for hunting down a bargain thanks to resident retailers like Wilko, Poundland and Iceland.

In terms of out-of-town options, Tollgate Shopping is worth knowing about if you’re staying at our Colchester (A12) hotel as it’s just a short drive away down the A12, boasts nearly 500 free parking spaces, and has large outlets of household favourites like Sports Direct, Next, Argos and Boots.

Culver Square

Culver Square


Markets have taken place in Colchester for centuries. The town even has a royal charter decreeing Colchester’s right to a market. In recent times its location has changed a number of times, however, its current home on the High Street doesn’t look like it’ll change any time soon. It’s a prime location to host Colchester Market, perfect for anyone in town interested in a bargain, whether that’s farm-fresh food, homeware, gardenware, hardware, clothes to wear, jewellery and much, much more.

If you’re more interested in local art, crafts and street food, the Bazaar at Firstsite might be more up your street. Traders set up their stalls in the foyer of the multi-million-pound gallery on one Saturday of every month. It’s free, and always has plenty of pretty things to persuade you to pry open your purse strings. Plus, it’s only a ten-minute walk from our Colchester Town Centre (Castle) hotel, so you don’t have far to travel with your bagful of bargains.

Last of all, the Secret Vintage Fair regularly makes its way to Colchester, setting up its stalls in a different location with every appearance. You need to sign up to its mailing list, or follow it on social media, to find out when and where it will be held. It’s worth knowing, though, as it brings the best vintage, retro, upcycled and handmade goods from in and around East Anglia to the picturesque town. It’s great to wander around with wonderful stalls of clothing, jewellery, accessories, prints, furniture and homeware. Plus, it’s not your regular market; it’s no stranger to live music as well as great food and drink options like pop-up tea rooms.

Colchester Market

Bazaar at Firstsite

Looking for a hotel in Colchester?

Whether you're coming to Colchester for a trip to the zoo, a tour of the castle, a visit to Firstsite, or an evening at the Mercury Theatre, stay with us at any one of our three Colchester hotels. They're perfect for exploring this most historic of Roman towns and all of its fascinating attractions.