Travel back in time and revel in Essex’s rich history at these fantastic local events.

Warner Textile Archive

Warner Textile Archive, Silks Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3GB

Discover how to decorate a palace during a visit to this enormous archive, comprising more than 100,000 items. Get an up-close look at historic textiles that were supplied to the royal household, stately homes and ocean liners as well as public buildings such as churches and hospitals.

Event Times

Friday 15 September: 11.30, 12.30, 13.30

Saturday 16 September: 11.30, 12.30, 13.30

Pre-booking: Required

Paint Your Wagon

Castlepoint Transport Museum Society, Point Road, Canvey Island, Essex, SS8 7TD

Learn the history of the old bus garage from wartime onwards. Hop aboard vehicles from a range of areas and operators, and examine transport memorabilia from ticket machines, timetables, badges to bus stops. New for this year is an innovative mural featuring local children’s artwork.

Event Times

Sunday 17 September: 10.30-16.00

No booking required

Colchester Castle Museum

Castle Park, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ

Explore Europe's largest Norman keep. Visit the newest exhibition ‘Gladiators: A Day at the Roman Games’ and learn what life was like for Roman gladiators in Colchester. Exhibits include a 2,000-year-old murmillo gladiator helmet found at Pompeii, which is on loan from the British Museum.

Event Times

Saturday 9 September: 10.00 - 16.30 last tour at 16.30

No booking required

Peake’s House: home to Colchester’s cloth trade

30 East Stockwell Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1ST

Take a rare chance to see the Tudor, timber-framed Peake's House, believed to have originally been three weavers’ houses and shops, at the centre of Colchester’s Dutch Quarter. The late-Elizabethan interiors give an insight into the lifestyle of a prosperous late-Elizabethan merchant.

Event Times

Saturday 16 September: 10.00-16.00

Sunday 17 September: 10.00-16.00

Pre-booking: Preferred

Mercury Theatre Tours

Mercury Theatre Co, Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1PT

An opportunity to go behind the scenes at the theatre and discover the backstage secrets of a Mercury production. Your guide will take you on a journey through usually hidden spaces including the rehearsal room, wardrobe and workshop.

Event Times

Sunday 17 September: 10.15, 10.45, 11.15, 11.45, 12.15, 13.15, 13.45, 14.15, 14.45, 15.15, 15.45 & 16.15

Pre-booking: Required

Harwich Guildhall

Harwich Town Council, Guildhall, 11 Church Street, Harwich, Essex, CO12 3DS

Explore the only Grade I listed building in the old town of Harwich, Essex. Originally the Bear Inn, it was rebuilt and converted into a Guildhall and Gaol. See the Council Chamber and former Magistrates Court on the first floor as well as the Mayor’s Parlour during your visit.

Event Times

Saturday 9 September: 14.00-16.00

Sunday 10 September: 14.00-16.00

No booking required

Brewster Centre - Colne Valley Railway

Colne Valley Railway, Yeldham Road, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Essex, CO9 3DZ

Join the celebrations marking 50 years since the arrival of the first steam locomotive at the Castle Hedingham. This mini-local history fair, comprising talks and guided museum and site visits, will highlight the history of this often-overlooked part of the Essex countryside.

Event Times

Saturday 9 September: 10.00 – 16.00, last entry at 15.00

No booking required