SOME of Colchester’s historic sites opened their doors to thousands of visitors at the weekend for heritage open days.

The Town Hall, churches, schools, historic homes, ships and other site were all included in the even.

For the First time, the new headquarters of the Colchester Archaeological Trust , Roman Circus House, was opened to the public, along with the garden of adjacent Sergeants’ Mess, beneath which lie the foundations of the Roman Cicrus starting gates.

Visitors also got to enjoy tours of the private rooms of Colchester Town Hall, look backstage at the Mercury Theatre , or go on patrol with Roman Centurion Marcus Favonius.

Other highlights included the chance to look round the 14th-century Peake’s House, in the Dutch Quarter. Originally three cottages, the building is believed to have belonged to weavers when Colchester was a centre of the cloth trade.

Volunteers from the Churches Conservation Trust opened three places of worship, St Martins, St Leonard-at-the-Hythe and St Michael’s Church.

At St Michaels’ visitors had a rare chance to see the 16th-century burial chamber of the Audley family at the Audley Chapel.

Other attractions included a vintage bus display at King Edward Quay and the chance to view footage from the East Anglian Film Archive at the Firstsite gallery.