Location & Directions
GreyFriars is situated at the top of East Hill, at the Eastern end of Colchester’s High Street, perfectly located in the centre of Colchester’s Cultural Quarter yet only a couple of minutes’ walk from the Town Centre.
The Cultural Quarter is home to Colchester Castle (the largest Norman keep in Europe, built on the foundations of the Temple of Emperor Claudius of Rome), the Hollytrees Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Minories Art Gallery, FirstSite Modern Art Gallery, which is housed in a magnificent golden building designed by Raphael Vinoly, the ruins of St. Botolph’s 12th Century Priory and more. If you fancy a little shopping, Fenwick’s is a few minutes’ walk away at the west end of the High Street, together with a varied selection of independent and artisan shops as well as the high street multiples.
GreyFriars is also perfectly positioned for exploring the Essex and Suffolk countryside. Constable Country is only ten minutes away by car – Flatford and the Munnings Museum at Dedham are certainly worth a visit; Mersea, the home of the Mersea and Colchester Oysters is a breath away and the marvellous Essex and Suffolk coastlines are equally accessible.
Colchester is located off the A12. Whether you are travelling eastwards from the direction of London, or westwards from the direction of Ipswich/Felixstowe, leave the A12 at Junction 29. If travelling eastwards take the 3rd exit, if travelling westwards take the 2nd exit off the roundabout on to the A1232 in the direction of the Town Centre. Stay on this road for about 2 miles until you reach the roundabout with Waitrose on your left; take the 2nd exit off this roundabout; proceed down the hill to the mini roundabout and take the 2nd exit; proceed to the traffic lights at the bottom of East Hill and proceed straight across, travelling up East Hill. At the brow of East Hill (with St. James’ Church on your left) turn right into Roman Road. Proceed 100 yards then turn left into Castle Road. Almost immediately turn left again into the entrance of GreyFriars public car park which is also the entrance to GreyFriars Hotel & Restaurant (opposite the Foresters Arms). (If you overshoot this turning you will reach GreyFriars Court, which is strictly a private residence and nothing to do with GreyFriars Hotel & Restaurant.)
On entering GreyFriars car park, bear carefully to the right and you will see the wrought iron gates into GreyFriars Hotel & Restaurant. There is an intercom at driver level on the right which communicates directly with Reception. Press the button, announce your name and the gates will be opened automatically for you.
From Harwich, take the A120 in the direction of Colchester, leave at the junction with the A1232 and head in the direction of the Town Centre, on Ipswich Road and follow the directions above.
The postcode to enter in your SatNav is CO1 1UW. However, we do recommend entering Colchester from Junction 29 of the A12 as explained above, to avoid mistakes in the town centre’s one-way traffic system.
Colchester is very well connected to the rail network, with direct trains serving Colchester from a variety of directions and numerous arrivals and departures each hour during the day. The journey from London Liverpool Street to Colchester takes 50 minutes on the fast train.
Colchester North Station is the main station which is well served by taxis, as is the smaller Colchester Town station. A taxi ride from Colchester North Station will take between five and ten minutes, depending on the time of day. Just ask for GreyFriars at the top of East Hill and the driver will know your destination immediately.
London Stansted and London City Airports are the nearest international airports to Colchester and there is a regional airport at Southend. The journey by car from Stansted and Southend is about an hour or so, depending on the time of day. London City airport is about one hour 20 minutes away by car or by train. (Take the Docklands Light Railway from City Airport to Stratford; then take a mainline train from Stratford to Colchester - there are several trains from Stratford to Colchester each hour.)
On arrival by Ferry from the Continent to Harwich International, Colchester can be reached either by direct train or by car. Travelling time by either method from Harwich to Colchester is 30 to 40 minutes (see directions for “By Car” overleaf).