Essex has a reputation for being a very tawdry and undesirable place to live, but Chelmsford really outdoes itself and does the county a big service. It is a very nice town that's quite often ranked among the nicer places in the countrry to live, and having grown up there, it has lost none of its affect as a fine predominantly middle-class place to raise children especially.
While the usual complaints of "chavs" are valid, this is true of most towns to an extent, and it's not over-dialled anymore than what you'd see in the East part of London. I generally feel safe walking home at night on my own, and am a lot calmer than I am walking around London in the same conditions.
It offers some great shopping areas in the town center that I have already reviewed, so I will only reiterate that it gives you a lot to do. Of course, you do get the usual chavs hanging outside around the McDonald's restaurants, though. However, there is a lot to do for both young and old.
It also has a fine bunch of schools and is generally well-regarded in this stead. It has the famous KEGS grammar school near the town center that a lot of out-of-towners send their kids to because of its robust reputation.
For Essex, it is quite a picturesque town; it doesn't have tonnes of construction perenially going on like Romford always seems to, and despite a downright INFURIATING one-way system (which means you have to drive around the world to get to somewhere that's a few hundred meters away!), it is mostly well designed. Also, it has excellent transport links to London via Liverpool Street, making it a fine town for commuters or those who just fancy clubbing it in London every so often.
In short, its reputation as "Chavsford" is wildly overstated, and it is probably the nicest town in Essex, largely regarded as its "capital". It is also the birthplace of Radio quite famously, and so has a rich cultural history.
I thought I would write a bit about the place where I like to go shopping or just for a day out. This is Chelmsford, the County Town of Essex. This town has the population of just over 157,000 and goes back to the Roman days when in AD60 it started to develope into a small town. It was then called Caesaromagus which meant " market-place of Caesar". This is the only town in Britian to have the name Caesar in it. Many years later it was granted the right to have a market on one day a week that being a Friday. That was over 800 years ago and the market today can still be found flourishing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays.
This market has a very wide selection of stalls and is undercover beneath a
multi-story car park. You will find a selection of stalls with good fruit and veg, plants, bags, pet supplies, cards and calenders, food, butchers, shoes, ect.... my favourite two are the cheese stall and the magazine stall.
Starting with the cheese this has a variety of cheeses, because some are getting close to their sell by date you get great bargains. For an example in
the past I have had nets of 12 baby bel cheese 3 for £1.50 they usually have about 2 weeks left which is plenty for us as they go so quickly, also
Leerdammer Slices in packs of 24 for £1. I also get when I can as they don't get them often a bag of a 100 pats of butter ( like Countryside or Anchor)
they used to be £1 but my last lot cost £1.50 which is great as you can pop them in the freezer and just get out what you need!
The other stall is the Magazine one, which has a very large selection of mags
and books. The magazines can sometimes be quite a bit out of date, but
some of them are only last month still with the free gifts on the front. These mags vary from Good Food, OK, Good Housekeeping, Gardeners World, Glamour, Mother & Baby, Slimming World, Red, Cosmopolitan, Anglers Mail, ect.... these are 60p each or 3 for £1.50. These are also a good selection of puzzle books and childrens comics.
Once coming out of the market you are met with a large selection of shops that are undercover this is called Higher Chelmer you will find shops like New Look, Boots, Top Shop, JJB, Starbucks, Body Shop, Thorntons, Peacocks, ect... on walking through this area which has just had a makeover you will notice how clean and bright it is in there. On coming out at the other end you are met with an open area with more shops like
Debenhams, Clintons, M & S, Poundland, Macdonalds, Gap, Next ect...
When walking down you come to yet another undercover shopping area which is called The Meadows, this has shops like Dorothy Perkins, Ann Summers, Evans, BHS, Superdrug, Millies Cookies, Wilkinsons ect....
The Meadows runs along side the River Can which is a lovely river that you can follow along and on a sunny day you will see a lot of fish swimming around. Along this part you have several pubs ( which are all modern looking apart from Yates ) They have Edwards where you can sit outside and enjoy life, Lloyds bar(which has recently changed it's name and I can't remember what too!) Que Pasa again another outside job if you please. I quite like going to Yates as this has an upstairs balcony you can sit in that over looks the river which is great on a hot day!
If you follow the river you will come to Chelmsford Park which is lovely to wander about in with the colourful beds, there are plenty of seating areas and childrens play area which is enclosed. If you continue you will soon be
able to see Essex County Cricket Ground. This is a very popular cricket ground.
Chelmsford was also known for it's Marconi Factory the birthplace of Broadcasting, with it's first factory being built in 1899, with a further new one being built in 1912. It had it's first entertainment radio broadcast on the 15th June 1920.
There is a park and ride just outside Chelmsford so you need not worry about finding somewhere to park when you get there. If you are in a sporting mood, you could go Ice Skating as I did earlier this year. I'm completely rubbish, but I had a great time there with my family. This is adjacent to the swimming pool which is outdoors and indoors.
Of course Chemlsford is known for it's V Festival that is held in Hylands Park, which begins this weekend. This goes on all over the weekend with lots of well known bands and people like Lily Allen, Katy Perry, Keane, The Killers, Oasis, Snow Patrol ect.... the list goes on and on. This attracts thousands and thousands of people of all ages and it is funny if you go in to Chelmsford ona Monday morning as you will see lots of people wandering around with their colourful arm bands still on! This is always a quick sell out so it is best to get your tickets in April !
If you are into museums then you will like this one The Chelmsford Museum,
this covers the history of Chelmsford from the Ice Age right through to today.
It also has a reconstruction of a Victorian Kitchen, a Thirties Kitchen, a Forties Living Room, also with toys from the fifties and sixties which is great for kids to see what was about at that time. There is also an Art Collection, Natural History with stuffed animals and birds.
There are so many things to write about Chelmsford that you could go on and on, but I will finish with just one last thing and that being the beautiful
Cathedral which is worth a visit. It's not the biggest in the world but lovely and if you go in on a Friday lunchtime you can sit and listen to one of the local choirs be it the police choir or local schools this is free and is lovely to listen to. This is not always on so it is best to check I think the next session begins in September. Well I hope I have opened your eyes to a small bit of Chelmsford!
I have lived in Essex all my life except for when i was at uni and from the age of 21 i have lived in the centre of Chelmsford. Firstly like all towns there are good and bad bits and one particular area i would avoid living is Melbourne. It's very (for want of a better word) chavvy and i have never felt safe during the day let alone at night around there. It's dirty with well known drugs users, and a hideous block of flats. The only good thing is the sports centre there which has badminton courts and a gym and lots of classes for all age groups. The sports ground is also there with a running track etc.
On the outskirts of Chelmsford are Galleywood, Springfield, and Chelmer Village most of which are quite pleasant with superstores, cornershops, pubs and restaurants nearby. There is a good bus service which runs from all of these in to town and around Essex, The bus station itself was recently given a complete facelift and is much safer and cleaner now. The train station is small but only takes 35mins to get into central london which is why Chelmsford appeals to lots of commuters.
In the last few years lots of flat developments have gone up most of which are very modern. There are lots of schools with good reputations, clubs, a golf course, ice rink, gyms, swimming pools, churches, museums, a cathedral, university, cricket ground, beautiful parks and the river too - you're never short of something to do in Chelmsford!
The town centre boasts and array of bars, restaurants, shops and cafes with something for all tastes.
All in all it's a lovely place to live when you consider everything.
I spent most of my childhood in Chelmsford. It's right in the heart of Essex and is full of rude-boys, rude-girls and rude-cars. It's actually a very old town and has a certain element of charm that is perhaps more appreciated by outside visitors than by its residents.
The town centre is pedestrianised and is always full of local folk milling around buying things from clothing stores, walking up to Lush then back to Boots and then to Tesco. It's very England. If you are looking for some sights to see, then stick to the old. The cathedral is beautiful and the 18th century railway viaduct nearby is great. There are beautiful and safe parks that are well worth a picnic and a wander around. The Chelmer river runs right through the center of town, as does the river Can. Both are wonderful to follow, especially on a bike.
The real joy of Chelmsford is the surrounding area. Chelmsford is situated in a beautiful part of England, with plenty of agricultural fields, old WW2 buildings, centuries-old houses with thatched roofs, woodlands... It's a great place to drive around. Taking your bicycle down the many bike paths that cross Essex is a real joy.
I'll give away a secret place in Chelmsford that is one of my spiritual homes. It's an old settlement that saw activity in 600AD all the way through to 1400AD. It was excavated in the 80's and the grass has since regrown. There are circular moats, old grave sites, traces of walls, raised areas. My wife found it one dark morning at 6am and didn't have a clue what it was until she retraced her steps the next day. It's a wonderful place, very serene - a real contrast to the housing and industrial areas that surrounds it. It's near Sainsbury's on the North side of town. You'll need to head up Springfield Road, all the way up to the roundabout where you can join colchester road. Once you reach the Sainsbury's roundabout, go right down a small road that goes downhill. It's barely a road at all. Head down it for a short distance, and on the right you'll see a car park. On the left of this is a walking path. Take this path for a while. There might me a lot of stinging nettles so be careful. It'll take you past a new housing development and into a wooded area. Once you've walked in this wooded area for approximately one minute, go right on the path that appears shortly after a sign that tells you what the path you were on is called. You should come out very quickly into a open green area. This is it!! You've found the hidden mystical gem of Chelmsford!
There you have it! A short description of Chelmsford and the directions to a really cool area. The only thing i'd warn about Chelmsford is to avoid large groups of youths. Especially on the weekends. They aren't always the friendliest.
Chelmsford is a superb town in Essex... great for shopping, nights out, eating out and everything you could want from a bustling town centre!
There is a wide range of shops from the usual high street brands such as Next, Mothercare, M&S, etc through to more unusual independent shops like Fun Junction for fantastic educational toys.
Chelmsford boasts a regular market situated undercover for all the usual bargain veg, materials and clothing and once a week there is also a farmers market where you can buy amazing local produce, from locally reared venison to locally made cheeses and home made fudge! Well worth a visit, this market is generally placed along the main hight street.
Chelmsford also benefits from 2 theatres... the Civic and the Cramphorn theatre. The Civic is a must once a year for the fabulous pantos put on that appeal to all the family... from the youngest little one to grandparents alike! For more out of the usual, independent shows then the Cramphorn is the place to go.
Chelmford has a wide range of eateries with all tastes catered for... whether you want fish and chips to eat by the river... a pub lunch with friends in a waterside environment or the hustled bustle of a lunch in a town bar. Evening meals are also available in Italian, Indian, Chinese or Mexican cuisines (to name but a few).
Chelmsford really does cater for all tastes and needs in my opinion, without being overly busy ... it still has that friendly atmosphere. Well worth a visit!