Your chance to see inside Jumbo

We are excited to announce that thanks to brilliant support from volunteers across Colchester, we can release a limited number of tickets for guided tours of the magnificent Jumbo water tower.

Tickets, priced from £10 plus a booking fee, are available for the period November 25 to December 23. Thanks to our partnership with The Mercury Theatre, Colchester via their Experience Ticketing system, these can be booked online. Profits from ticket sales will go to The Jumbo Project, North Essex Heritage’s initiative to restore this Colchester icon and bring it back into sustainable use for everyone to enjoy. Once the restoration starts there will be very limited access, so this is your chance to walk inside the huge water tank before the experts get to work on the Grade ll* Listed building. We also limit visits during the nesting season of our resident peregrine falcons.

Volunteer guides will lead small groups on one-hour tours up the tower to explain its fascinating history and the exciting plans for the future.

North Essex Heritage has been given £250,0000 development funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to work on its plans to restore the tower and transform it into a financially sustainable heritage and community space, made possible thanks to National Lottery players. The charity has leased Jumbo, officially known as the Balkerne Water Tower, for 150 years. The aim is to produce a commercially viable operation which pays for the building’s upkeep. The building will be run as a destination venue, restaurant, visitor experience and historical interpretation space. Jumbo will be a fully accessible heritage attraction, so everyone can admire the remarkable engineering and stunning views or join in community activities.

Current access to Jumbo’s Engineers’ Room and the water tank is via a single very steep spiral staircase. Please note there are strict health and safety rules in place which restrict who can be admitted. Everyone must wear suitable footwear. Children under 8 years of age will not be permitted access to the tower. All children 18 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

Please study the full rules before booking and be aware that you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of children in your care. Colchester Jumbo Limited, as the owner of Jumbo, and Colchester and North East Essex Building Preservation Trust (North Essex Heritage), as the Lessee, together with the Trustees and any supporting volunteers, cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage to person or property as a result of your presence at Jumbo, or any aspect of your visit to it, including in particular as a result of any slips or falls while climbing or descending the stairs.

For more information and to book a tour go to:

You can also book in person or by phone from The Mercury Theatre, Colchester.

The Jumbo Project has already been supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, the Government’s Town Deal Fund and The Architectural Heritage Fund.