Shopping with children in Chelmsford

Thursday, 14 December 2017
Days Out

My eldest has always been a bit of a fashionista and already loves a bit of retail therapy. Couple this with some vociferous complaints about ALL her shoes being uncomfortable and her WHOLE wardrobe needing a good clear-out, I decided , to her delight, that we were overdue for a shopping trip.

To make the trip a little more special, and fun for the two younger boys, who can’t bear shopping trips but had no choice but to come with us, we decided to go by train, instantly offering up many towns that I wouldn’t be prepared to drive to myself and creating an additional element of fun and adventure on our day out.

With a little internet research, we discovered that Chelmsford city centre is just 5 minutes’ walk from the rail station, and a direct journey with Greater Anglia just over an hour from our home station, Diss, so we decided to try a little rail adventure! Our tickets were £19 return for me and just £2 each way per child.

Kids on a train

We weren’t disappointed! After a delightful journey of beautiful views, snacks from the buffet car and comfy seats we alighted at Chelmsford station which is modern, smart and bright, and followed the signs into the city centre.

This was a short walk past the very pretty cathedral, until you hit an entirely pedestrianised high street, full of market stalls as we visited on a Saturday, and a large array of retailers featuring all the usual big names as well as all the usual eateries. As it was lunch time our first stop was McDonalds, but on the way we passed a Turtle Bay, a Jamie’s Italian and further down the high Street were Pizza Hut, Carluccio’s and Taco Bell so there is something to suit all tastes and occasions.

Kids at the station

After a good wander round the shops, and quite a few purchases, we came to the end of the pedestrianised area and followed signs for Central Park, where, to the youngest’s delight, we found a play area where all three children could relax and let off steam for a little while. From here there is a fantastic view of the railway viaducts with fountains in the lake in front of them, and a little café ‘Cake in the Lake’, which unfortunately was shut by 3.30pm when we wandered over in the hope of refreshment.

However, it was only a very short walk back into the city centre where there were lots of cafes to choose from. We stopped at Greggs for a cake and cold drink and then made our way back to the station via a couple of fairground rides and a street entertainer blowing enormous bubbles which the youngest couldn’t resist chasing and catching for a little while!

Our time in Chelmsford flew by all too quickly and it was soon time to head back to the station for our journey home. Travelling by train to Chelmsford was a really relaxing way to shop – no driving, no queues in traffic or for car parking, just a short walk to the shops and a nice, relaxed journey back.

The eldest was delighted with all her purchases, the boys enjoyed the train and park and I was delighted to ditch the car and the queues! I think we will definitely be discovering a few more towns by rail in the future!

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