Visit Chelmsford by train to explore England’s newest city, and the first in Essex.
Chelmsford has a rich and varied history, growing rapidly from a market town under the Romans. Today, Chelmsford maintains its 800-year-old market tradition with a vibrant retail market, alongside contemporary stores and exciting street events, all set within a quality riverside setting.
The Chelmsford Museum and the Essex Regiment at Oaklands Park bring the city’s history to live. From the Ice Ages to the white heat of technology, displays take you through the fascinating story of Chelmsford and the Chelmer Valley. Explore the 15th century cathedral or take advantage of the many parks with riverside walks and special play areas for children. The city is also the home of Essex County Cricket Club. The Essex County Ground hosts a range of cricket throughout the year, including T20 and international matches.
Beyond the city centre, Hylands House is a fascinating and beautifully restored country house, dating from 1730 and situated in acres of historic landscaped parkland, home of the renowned V music festival. Why not download the iPhone app for Chelmsford and discover the rich cultural heritage of city through a 90-minute exploration of its many points of interest? Download Chelmsford's City Tour app here
Out and about
With over 1,600 acres of parks, many of which have been awarded Green Flag status, there are plenty of places to relax and unwind. The wide variety of parks and gardens with beautiful planting schemes are situated within walking distance of the city, train and bus routes.
With the Rivers Can and Chelmer flowing through the borough, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful countryside from the water. Boating enthusiasts will find the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation provides a unique view of rural Essex from the water. Barges and narrow boats may be hired for trips along the tranquil waterways amidst largely unspoilt countryside. Find out more from Blackwater Boats
There's also an abundance of angling locations, including fishing lakes and Hanningfield Reservoir.
Chelmsford City Theatres offer entertainment to the people of Essex and beyond. Situated in the heart of Chelmsford's West End, the Civic and Cramphorn Theatres provide entertainment including concerts, plays, ballet, pantomime, opera, jazz, dance, musicals, comedy, cinema, live music and children shows. Enhancing the city’s cultural offer, the Cultural Events Team create outstanding outdoor spectacles, unique festivals, unexpected arts and accessible entertainment.
Food and drink
Chelmsford has an enormous array of places to eat and drink, from country pubs to cosmopolitan bars, restaurants and cafes. There are over 100 places to eat in the city centre alone, offering the best of British, to cuisines from all around the world.
Whether it’s three-course à la carte dining at a riverside restaurant you’re after, a Sunday roast and a pint at a thatched country pub or a quick snack on the hoof, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes. Chelmsford also offers a vibrant nightlife, with dozens of bars and clubs to choose from.
For unlimited bus travel around Chelmsford to get to all the attractions, buy a PLUSBUS ticket with your train ticket (at station or online).
Picturesque villages each with their own charm and history surround Chelmsford. Chignall St James and Chignall Smealey have delightful cottages revealing traditional Essex plasterwork; Pleshey has thatched cottages and a castle mound; Writtle has its traditional village pond and internationally renowned agricultural college. Great Waltham is where Tudor chimneys grace the beautifully restored Guildhall on the edge of the churchyard.
But the crowning of the countryside comes alive at RHS Garden Hyde Hall in East Hanningfield. Hyde Hall is a garden of inspiration with an eclectic range of horticultural styles from traditional to modern providing year round interest. Sitting prominently on a hilltop with sweeping views across the rolling Essex countryside, it takes full advantage of its 360 degree views.