Image Ancient Tymperleys House, now a restaurant tea room, in Colchester

Colchester

Britain’s oldest town has – unsurprisingly – a lot of history to show off. The centrepiece is Colchester Castle – Europe’s largest Norman keep built on the foundations of a significant Roman temple, and now an exemplary museum. The town’s friendly shopping streets are lined with Tudor-beamed buildings and elegant Victorian architecture, and the surrounding countryside has flower meadows and picture-postcard villages galore.