1. Introduction

GreyFriars is a luxury hotel and restaurant destination, designed and created from a magnificent range of Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings at the top of East Hill, the beginning of the High Street, in the centre of the ancient City of Colchester.

The buildings are historic and on a sloping site, but we hope that we have succeeded, through careful research and attention to detail, to make this beautiful location accessible, inclusive and welcoming to all.

The management and staff are at your service, to assist and ensure that your visit to GreyFriars is enjoyable. Please do not hesitate to discuss your requirements with us.

2. Pre-Arrival

Our management and staff are at your service to assist and ensure that you enjoy your visit to GreyFriars to the full. Please do not hesitate to request assistance, guidance or to give us advance notice of any particular requirement you may have in order to make your visit a success. You may contact us prior to your arrival on 01206 575913 or by email on

3. Arrival

For an explanation and a map of how to reach us, please see the Contact & Directions page.

4. By Car

Colchester is located off the A12. Whether you are travelling eastwards from the direction of London, or westwards, from the direction of Ipswich, please leave the A12 at Junction 29; at the next roundabout take the 2nd exit on to the A1232 in the direction of the town centre; stay on this road for c. 2 miles until you reach a major roundabout, where you will see Waitrose on your left; take the 2nd exit from this roundabout; proceed down the hill and to the mini roundabout and take the 2nd exit; proceed to the next mini roundabout at the bottom of East Hill and take the 2nd exit, travelling up East Hill. Towards the brow of East Hill (with St. James’ Church on your left) take the right hand turning into Roman Road; proceed 100 metres down Roman Road, then turn left into Castle Road; almost immediately on your left you will see the entrance to the GreyFriars public car park. Bear carefully to the right on entering the car park and will see the wrought iron gates into GreyFriars Hotel & Restaurant. There is an intercom at driver level on the right hand side which communicates directly with Reception; press the button on the intercom and the gates will be opened electronically for you.

There is free parking for hotel guests in the hotel grounds for 22 vehicles and parking bays for motorbikes and bicycles. There are three large designated disabled parking bays located a few metres away from the North Entrance of the hotel and the dropping off point. The ground has a slight gradient upwards at this point towards the automatic glass sliding doors to the North Entrance and the drive has a coated tarmac surface.

Alternatively, if you park in the main public GreyFriars car park (charged by the half day), you will find two further designated disabled parking bays at the top of the car park, from which wheelchair access to the North Entrance is offered through a wide pedestrian gateway clearly visible in this area.

On reaching the automatic sliding glass doors at the North Entrance, you will find a call button for assistance if needed on the wall to the left of the doors. Reception is at a higher level approached by four limestone stairs here. A retracting staircase lift is provided here for wheelchair users and anyone with mobility difficulties who is unable to negotiate the stairs comfortably.

The stairs retract to show a lift The stairs are all the way way and the lift begins to rise The lift rises from the ground The lift makes it's way up to the reception level

On pressing the call button, Reception will activate the retracting staircase, revealing a base platform. Once the visitor is on this platform, the platform will lift you to the top of the stairs and from there level access is provided through a glazed automatic sliding door to Reception, to the restaurants, bars, private dining and meeting rooms and cloakrooms, and via a lift to guest rooms on the upper floors of the main GreyFriars building.

The grounds, parking areas and north entrance are well lit at night.

Rear Parking at Night

5. From Colchester High Street/East Hill

GreyFriars has a direct entrance, the South Entrance, from Colchester High Street via swing glazed doors. There is a call for assistance button to the left of the doors. The doors open inwards, given a light push. From here, access to Reception and the restaurants, bars, private dining and meeting rooms, cloakrooms and lift to the upper floors, is via six limestone steps, or via the retracting stairs by the North entrance just a few metres across the glazed entrance hall.

6. Reception

The 24 hour Reception Desk has higher and lower level reception desk points. Registration can be completed whilst seated and an enlarged registration card can be provided on request. Reception has a pale coloured marble floor and a comfortable seating area.

A familiarisation tour is available upon request.

Reception desk with receptionist smiling behind it Seat and tables in reception

7. Bedrooms

We have one fully accessible bedroom designed for wheelchair users. This is Room 23, a beautiful room on the ground floor of All Saints House, one of the three buildings which together comprise GreyFriars. Room 23 has a marble floor in the bedroom, with a Super King size sleigh bed. There is ample transfer space to the more accessible side of the bed, which is 500 mm (19.75”) high. Level access is provided through to the luxurious bathroom, with marble floor, marble bath with transfer seat and level access shower with seat.

This bedroom and bathroom are designed and fitted to comply with the latest Regulations and Recommendations for wheelchair users.

Also worth noting, Room 23 has its own spacious courtyard garden with level access directly from the bedroom. A sun trap in the summer months, the courtyard provides a large elegant space with terrace, seating and planting.

Courtyard Room Courtyard Bathroom Courtyard table

On the second floor of the main GreyFriars building, accessed via the lift or stairs, Room 15 is designed to suit use by those with ambulatory challenges. The bathroom is fitted with twin showers, one with a marble mosaic seat with vertical and horizontal assistance rails and one standard shower.

Room 15 accessible bathroom and shower

8. Refuge Points and Emergency Evacuation

There are designated Refuge Points on all floors for use in emergency. Their location in the buildings will be explained to guests on arrival. In the event of an emergency evacuation of the building, a trained designated member of staff will be on hand to assist any guest with a mobility difficulty. For guests with visual or hearing impairment, vibrating pillow pads with strobe lighting which activate in the event of emergency, are available on request.

9. Dining Rooms, Restaurants, Bars and General Public Areas

Our dining rooms, restaurants, bars, private dining/meeting rooms and cloakrooms are all located on the ground floor of the building and have level access. A variety of seating arrangements is provided which are designed to accommodate as many requirements as possible. The print size on our Menus can be provided in enlarged format upon request.

The main arterial flooring on the ground floor is marble. There is a mixture of hardwood flooring and short pile carpeting in the restaurant and bar areas.

The cloakrooms are accessed across a small carpeted lobby, to the cloakroom corridor and cloakrooms which have marble and porcelain flooring. There is a separate wheelchair accessible w.c. in this area.

10. Cigar Lounge

We have an attractive heated courtyard, “the Cigar Lounge” which provides a comfortable and congenial outside Lounge for the enjoyment of our guests and visitors who wish to smoke. Cuban cigars are on sale in the Baroque Bar from our humidor.

Wheelchair access to the Cigar Lounge is via the retracting staircase off Reception in the glazed entrance, across the Baroque Terrace. This is all level Yorkstone paving which is well lit on darker winter days and evenings. Alternatively a more direct access is via a set of two stone steps.

11. The Baroque Terrace

The Baroque Terrace is accessed in the same manner as the Cigar Lounge. For those who are able to negotiate two small steps, the Terrace can be accessed from the Baroque Bar corridor, through the Cigar Lounge.

This beautiful Terrace is perfect on a Summer’s day for lunch, tea or drinks from the Baroque Bar.

Terrace showing umbrellas The lower terrace

12. Lower Garden Terrace

There is a lower garden terrace below the Baroque Terrace. This is accessed via four steps from the Baroque Terrace or by wheelchair from the driveway.

13. Upper Floors – GreyFriars Building

The GreyFriars building has lift access to the two main upper floors. There are three separate smaller wings which are accessed separately by small flights of stairs in each case which we regret are therefore not able to be accessed by wheelchair without assistance.

The two main side staircases have short pile carpeting with coloured brass nosings to assist with visibility of the stair treads.

14. All Saints House

All Saints House is joined to the main GreyFriars building by the glazed limestone entrance, close to Reception. It has two ground floor bedrooms each with its own private courtyard. One of these guest rooms is fully wheelchair accessible (Room 23, see Item 7 above), fitted in accordance with the latest guidance and regulations.

There is no lift access to the upper floors of All Saints House. The staircases have short pile carpeting.

15. Guide Dogs

Guide dogs are welcome in the main areas of the building. Please inform us when making your reservation if you require your Guide Dog to stay in your room so that we can discuss the most suitable arrangement for you and your dog.

16. Fire Alarm – Evacuation of Building

The alarm signal is a continuous siren; the alarm also produces a flashing light as an additional awareness measure. In the event of the alarm sounding, wheelchair users should make their way to the nearest refuge point (as will have been shown to you on arrival) and press the button for assistance. A trained designated member of staff will come to your assistance. For those with visual or hearing impairment, vibrating pillow pads with strobe lights which activate in the event of emergency, are available on request.

16. Additional Information

Our aim is for GreyFriars, in all its magnificence and beauty, to be seamlessly enjoyable and inclusive to all, whether you are joining us as a hotel guest, for afternoon tea, a cocktail in the bar, lunch, dinner, a party or a business meeting. Our staff undergo regular awareness training and we welcome your feedback so that we can continue constantly to improve upon our high standard of service.