COLCHESTER residents have been presented with a unique opportunity to climb to the very top of one of the city's most famous landmarks this year. 

North Essex Heritage are hosting one hour guided tours of Jumbo, which serve as an opportunity to learn about the tower's fascinating history and its exciting plans for the future.

A team of volunteers will guide visitors up the tower's 159 stairs, into its Engineers’ Room and the water tank itself.

There will also be chance to climb to the cupola on top of Jumbo and to witness the stunning bird’s eye view of the city skyline.

With limited dates spanning from November 25 until December 23, there will be plenty of opportunities to take a look inside such a special water tower.

Visitors will not be allowed inside Jumbo during its upcoming restoration work, or while the resident peregrine falcons are nesting, so this is a rare chance to buy tickets to see inside the Grade ll* Listed Building.

Jumbo's restoration has been made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund's £250,000 of development funding given to the North Essex Heritage charity.

Speaking after the award of the money charity chairman Simon Hall said: “Colchester has always loved Jumbo, which is an icon of our city.

“Jumbo has stood empty and deteriorating for almost 40 years and this is the last real chance to save this magnificent building.”

The charity has leased Jumbo, officially known as the Balkerne Water Tower, for 150 years.

The charity plan to run the building as a destination venue, restaurant, visitor experience and historical interpretation space, which will pay for the building’s upkeep.

Children under eight will not be permitted and all under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

Tickets are £10 and all profits will go to The Jumbo Project, North Essex Heritage’s initiative to restore the Colchester landmark and bring it back into sustainable use for everyone to enjoy.

Thanks to a partnership with the Mercury Theatre, via their Experience Ticketing system, tickets can be booked online, in person or by phone.

To book a tour go to: