Colchester Campus

Virtual Open Day

Colchester Campus buildings at night

Explore our Colchester Campus virtual Open Day to see what life is like at Essex. Check out our facilities, accommodation and social spaces and hear why students from around the world choose Essex.

Home to over 10,500 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campus universities on the planet – we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

With shops, a bustling street marketing, restaurants, banks, a theatre and even a nightclub and a hairdresser, it’s possible to survive without ever leaving campus (not something we recommend, but you get the idea…).

The campus squares are always buzzing with life. Get cakes and curries on market day, piping hot pies on the No. 64 campus bus, or mega milkshakes in our Happy Days diner. Or you could join in with karaoke, quizzes and a game of pool in one of our many bars, catch a film in our cinema Cine10, or dance the night away in our award-winning nightclub SubZero.

For laid back afternoons, people-watch by the lake or explore the Latin American artworks hidden in the midst of our bold, brutalist buildings. You’ll always find something to do, whatever your mood.

Campus tours

A campus tour with a student gives you the chance to see our campus while getting answers to any questions you have about life at Essex. Tours are available on our Open Days or you can book onto one of our regular campus tours that we run throughout the year from Monday to Friday.

Screen grab of 360 degree tour

Interactive 360° campus views

Interactive campus views

Although we would love you to come and visit us at an Open Day, we realise that it isn't always possible.

Explore our attractive campus, award-winning accommodation and outstanding facilities with our interactive 360° campus views.

Creative Colchester

Our campus is an inspiring place to be – did you know that artist John Constable painted Wivenhoe Park (now home to our Edge Hotel School) in 1816? And we’re still mad about the arts today. We bring both internationally famous and emerging artists into the heart of our campus, and offer you the chance to work with them.

We’re the proud home of ESCALA, a world-renowned Latin American art collection, and also offer opportunities for students to hone their creative skills at our Art Exchange gallery. Never satisfied with the ordinary, Art Exchange has so far released 15 lobsters, singing post boxes, and a pair of Victorians onto campus. What they do next could be up to you.

Our Lakeside Theatre also hosts internationally acclaimed plays, live music, performances by our own (incredibly talented) drama students, and you can get involved through the regular open mic nights, show auditions and creative workshops.

What our students say

  • The atmosphere

    What our students say

    Tricia Beer

    Tricia Beer

    Second year LLB Law

    My favourite place on campus is the Squares

    It’s difficult to explain the atmosphere on campus. It’s a mixture of excitement, hubbub and life – corny but true. Honestly, it’s a bit of a maze, and I used to get lost. Then I downloaded the FindYourWay app and my life was transformed!

    My favourite place to eat on campus? Hmmmm… either the SU Bar or Fusion. I get duck noodles in Fusion, or pasta in the SU. But I’m good; I only treat myself once every so often! When my lectures are finished for the day, I either head to the gym for a workout before going home or I head straight back to have some tea and hit the books for an hour or two.

    The best place to chill out is without a doubt by the lake. Grab a blanket, take some suncream and a jumper (just in case!) and a good book and you’ll be there for hours. I love the lake in the summer – it’s so picturesque and green – but I’d say my favourite place on campus is the Squares. On busy days there are so many people there and there’s always something going on. Although it’s set in beautiful parkland, the University is only about a ten minute drive from town, if that. Buses run late which is great for someone like me, who often misses the last bus home.

    What our students say

    Nikki Ijanusi

    Second year BA Politics and Human Rights

    The atmosphere on campus is awesome

    There is a welcoming atmosphere on campus where everyone is friendly and really open.

    In my first week I kept on getting lost on my way to lessons, but people were super nice and helpful, which made it less daunting.

    The unis large number of students and non-judgmental nature makes it easy to meet new people, whilst its campus based community creates a sense of familiarity and security where you never feel alone.

    When I was living in the Quays at the beginning , it took me about 15 minutes to walk to campus. By the second term, my journey averaged half an hour because of how often I’d bump into people and end up talking. And talking.

  • Food on campus

    What our students say

    Kit Cherry-Hulley

    Kit Cherry-Hulley

    Third year BA History and Politics

    A diverse range of cuisine

    I love food so much that I try to get it in at least four times a day. One of the benefits to having such an international campus is the diverse range of cuisine available to all students, at mind-bogglingly, wallet-strokingly low prices. Mexican, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Colombian, Russian foods have all graced my plate. As for the accompanying beverage, aside from the tender ministrations of the Cheese and Wine Society, the cider festival, and pubs upon clubs upon hostelries upon bars have, by turns, caressed, stroked, surprised, outraged, and occasionally, plain old upset my glass.

    Through thick and thin, Frango’s, the superb, chicken-dedicated venue, has been there to nurse my head and soothe my stomach after perhaps a little too much indulgence. In fact, Frango’s has provided me more than just palliative hangover cures. It was where I first dined with my girlfriend, and whenever she visits, it’s where we return, loyalty card firmly in hand, for the umpteenth time. They should really erect a plaque for the both of us.

  • Nightlife

    What our students say

    Rebecca Moylan

    Third year BA English Language and Linguistics

    There's something for everyone

    For students moving away from home for the first time, one of the first hurdles to overcome is establishing where they want to spend their free evenings. Luckily, at Essex, there are plenty of options, with something for everyone.

    Although Colchester town is a lot of fun, many students tend to stick to campus for nights out. There’s the main club, Sub Zero, and smaller venues like Frango's and the SU Bar. The SU work hard to put on live acts and big DJs (we’ve had DJ Fresh, Rudimental and Lethal Bizzle to name a few!).

    There’s Sports Fed on a Wednesday, where the sports clubs come together to dress up and have a big night out in Sub Zero. And on Sunday, you can head to the SU Bar for Super Sunday, where drinks are extra cheap all night.

    The SU make sure your night is not just loads of fun, but safe too. There’s a safety bus for students who live off-campus – jump on one of the minibuses and you’ll be dropped to your door for only a pound! Essex Night Ninjas are a group of volunteers put together to help anyone who’s lost, needs to get home or (we hate to say it) had a little too much to drink. Nightline is a service, originally set up at Essex, but now found all over the country. They have a confidential helpline and a place to for students in need to stay.

    Drinking and partying not your thing? Don’t worry! There are plenty of fun things to do in the evening that don’t involve alcohol. Top Bar is smaller and quieter than the SU, and perfect for a catch-up over a soft drink with friends and a game of darts. The Lakeside Theatre is also a great place to visit for a quiet night if you fancy watching a play or a comedy show.

    What our students say


    Third year BSc Biological Sciences

    The University is always lively

    The University is always lively and there are loads of places to go on campus, which will make no two nights the same.

    The events in Sub-Zero are great – I’d recommend going to Milk It! on a Monday night for some cheesy music, and look out for the Foam Party and Full Moon Rave.

    There’s also a pub quiz every Thursday in the SU Bar, and it’s a great opportunity to have a relaxed night out with your mates. It does get pretty competitive amongst the different societies though!

UG Open Days

Book a place at our undergraduate Open Day. Our department and admissions staff can answer any questions you have, and you can speak to current students about life at Essex while taking a campus tour.

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.

Students' Union

Students' Union

Our Students' Union (SU) is one of the most active in the country. Our SU will be there to offer you support, plus the opportunity to join numerous clubs and societies and to enjoy lots of events and nights out.


Visit Essex Uni Life

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