An easy day or weekend foray from London, Colchester is a charming place with a likable easygoing feel and a history that’s hard to beat. It claims the title as Britain’s oldest recorded city, with settlement noted here as early as the 5th century BC. Centuries later in AD 43, the Romans came, saw, conquered and constructed their northern capital Camulodunum here. So too, the invading Normans, who saw Colchester’s potential and built a monstrous war machine of a castle on Roman foundations. But it’s not all bygones and battlements here. By the end of 2007, Colchester will also be home to a spectacular new horseshoe-shaped gallery, Firstsite.