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Colchester in General

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20 Reviews

Colchester is a town and is the main settlement of the Essex borough of Colchester in the East of England. It has a population of 104,390 and, as the oldest recorded Roman town, makes claim to be the oldest town in Britain. Colchester is located 56 miles (90 km) north east of London and is connected to the capital by the A12 road and the Great Eastern Main Line.

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      20.05.2011 18:24
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      A place that could be so much better, after years of consideration.

      After moving to Colchester from London nearly 5 years ago, I wrote one more-or-less neutral review, then a highly negative review. I've had time to ponder what I wrote on both occasions, and have lived here long enough to have a solid feel for what the place and its people are about.

      I have grown to absolutely hate this town, and will harbour no regrets or nostalgia about leaving it. Moving here was one of the worst decisions of my life, and an expensive one (property purchase etc) at that. Having lived all over the UK, I have a pretty good idea of good and bad places; pleasant and unpleasant places. Colchester isn't so much "bad" - it's just "nothing". It's a suffocating, isolating, boring, drunk town of boring, drunk and chav people. This, despite the efforts of the authorities before I moved here, to brand it "the cultural centre of Eastern England".. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      .. Compared with the near-by, comparable towns, such as Chelmsford or Ipswich, Colchester is extremely run-down. The town centre is full of smashed-up and/or boarded-up shops. The lovely old shopping streets, such as Eld Lane, are now full of vandalised premises, boarded-up windows, beggars, Big Issue-sellers. At the very best, the old independent retail shops have been replaced with kebab/fried chicken places. Even streets once considered prestigious, such as Crouch Street, are full of rubbish and smashed-up, closed old shops. Everywhere is covered in litter, graffiti, and stinks of piss. I've sometimes been challenged by people in authority to "prove" this -- in response, I've repeatedly asked them to spend an hour, walking around with me - none have ever agreed.

      The people:- I'm not going to stereotype. I'm a Brummie, I grew up in the Black Country, so I've heard every stereotype there is going about regional populations. I know what rough people, and rough areas, are. That said, Colchester town centre on a weekday literally feels like something out of the Jeremy Kyle show. Tattooed necks; tattooed breasts; kids being walloped by their teenage parents; dreadful, foul language at every step; rubbish and grime everywhere. Then at night, everyone, literally everyone, drunk, off their heads, the screaming and shouting, the constant, dreadful language; the signs on the pub doors saying "we're a chav-free place" (only town in England where I've seen this...). Again, against the stereotypes, I have *never* seen the army lads create problems - and I live literally next door to one of the biggest barracks in the UK. The people who cause trouble here are local.

      The place:- It could be a fantastic, pretty, historical town. But it's dreadfully badly run. For example, on the two occasions when I officially complained about street cleanliness issues (firstly, about litter); then about the lack of snow-clearing, the official in charge's response suggested that I was either imagining things, or mentally ill for even complaining (I have, courtesy of Gmail, kept all the correspondence). And, later, when I complained about vagrants and drunks making an area of central Colchester a no-go area (this was true - they had literally infested it) - I was told not to involve politicians or the media in my complaint (the issue was only dealt with, after this...) - despite years of complaints from me, and many other people, to the Police and local authorities.

      Other thoughts:- (1) It cost me more to commute from here to London daily, than it did to pay for a £200,000 mortgage (the region has the most expensive, and one of the worst, rail services in England - forget about roads, there basically aren't any). (2) There are many, lovely, local cycle routes, but forget cycling on the main roads - the place is full of potholes because Essex County Council deliberately neglects Colchester and spends the money on Chelmsford instead. (3) I had lovely neighbours, the first I'd got to know since leaving London. They all agree with my views on Colchester; most of them also want to get out of here.

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        12.03.2010 12:03

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        TO BE AVOIDED:Please be advised, Home Fresh - A carpet cleaning company based in Colchester offer a great service price bracket, However this does not compensate for the very poor customer service and hasle from missed appointments, The company have provided a low standard of customer service and are also not opperating on a 5 days a week schedule so if no carpet cleaner arrives at your allocated time slot then youll have to wait until the company opens for an attempt at either re-booking or bieng told "YOUVE HAD YOUR MOAN -GOODBYE!", Other carpet cleanering services are available in Colchester who offer the same standard of service price wise and provide a much more respectable customer service."THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT?"Not so if you go to HomeFresh!Many Thanks.

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        10.09.2009 10:37
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        Has a lot to offer for a day out be it a piece of History, Shopping or General browsing around.

        I thought I would give you a brief tour of Colchester Town, as this is somewhere I have been visiting for over 20 years. Sadly it is not somewhere I choose to go to as often as I used to as with the last few years it has suffered a downward decline.

        This used to be a very busy bubbly town with a great atmosphere, but today it is a sad shadow of it's former self. One of the places for shopping is known as Culver Square. This has a lovely water fountain in the middle with stone seating around the edge. Children love to climb up onto the seats and throw in the odd penny or two and make a wish!

        This was the home for Woolworths, Virgin and Adams not so long ago with it going round in a circle and all it's entrances opening into the square. Sadly no longer as these stores have had to close down so the square looks pretty lonely with Debenhams, TK Max, Clarkes Shoes and Costa. Costa's have tried to make the most of the space and have a selection of tables and chairs out the front, which is lovely to sit on a nice hot summers day. This is the meeting area for most of Colchesters many students that gather there in their lunchtime. Many coming from the 6th Form College and Colchester Instituite.

        You then have two different ways to go on through to the rest of the shops, I personally always choose what I call the back way as this leads you into Sir Isaacs Walk. This feels like you have stepped back in time here as the street is quite narrow (room for one car only) and has a cobbled effect to it. The shops down here tend to be different and individual with a tiny Teddy Bear Shop that sells all sorts and sizes of teddy bears and a wonderful old fashioned sweet shop that sells quarters of sweets from years back and has been designed to look like a shop in Dickens day.

        There are a few quaint restaurants and tea rooms to stop for a break, which I've heard nothing but praise for. These being the The Lemon Tree with it's huge outside Gazebo to sit under, this is a more modern restaurant. It is best to reserve a table here as it gets very busy. Next there are Nibbles, Poppy's Tea Rooms and many more scattered throughout Colchester, The town has of course got it's own Wetherspoons which is particularly worth a visit as this was a former theatre many many years ago. It has been kept in the original form of this and on entering you step back into the old theatre with many old posters and programmes from many years back covering the wall On walking further into the pub you go up a couple of steps and it has been converted into several booths to sit in with a huge roaring log fire in the winter. This part is the former stage that you sit on and on turning around you will see the circle seating area upstairs as all old theatres had.This is not accessible to the public, but has had life size dummies put up there including the Queen, Prince Charles, and many many more. There is something a bit eerie about that part and you imagine them coming alive after everyone has gone home!!

        Of course Colchester is a Garrison Town and you will always see the soldiers wandering through town when not being sent on their tours of duty. Colchester also has a well known Castle which is situated in the towns park. This was built roughly in 1070.There is still a large park of it remaning in which you can go and visit for a small fee. There is also talk of a Roman wall that went around Colchester that was said to be over 20 feet high and 10 feet thick. This was built afer the Romans had defeated Boudica to keep all their enemies out. I beleive that parts of it still exisit now.

        There is a story that goes around here that the nursery rhymne Humpty Dumpty was originally from Colchester as this was the name of one of the largest cannon about and one day it got fired on and fell of the wall and crashed. Thus being "All the kings men couldn't put Humpty together again!"

        Colchester has it's far share of pubs, bars and clubs which brings in all the youngsters for the nightlife. A lot of these are in the main High Street, but again a lot of the shops are boarded up due to having to close down. I personally do partly blame Colchester Borough Council for this as the price they charge for parking is absolutely disgraceful. I can't actually quote an exact price but it is in the area of £2.50 per hour. Where my son has gone to Huddersfield, in the main part of Huddersfield town it is £2.50 for 5 hours or £1 on Sundays thats more like it!!

        There is an area known as The Hythe which sits on the River Colne you will find this is where lot of the big DIY shops tend to be and other out of town shops. Colchester is very well known throughout the world for it's Oysters and every year has a big Oyster Feast in October with the Mayor toasting and officially opening the Colne Oyster Fishery for the next season, this is said to date back to the Roman times.

        There is lots more to say about Colchester, so I hope I have covered a small part and given you a slight insight to this lovely Town, hopefully soon the shops will start to reopen and become the thriving town it used to be. So if there happens to be any Colchester Council People reading this PLEASE PLEASE bring down the parking fees!!( I know that if you go into the NCP before 9o'clock or something it has a set fee for the day, but a lot of people can't or don't want to get in at that time!!)

        Hope you have enjoyed reading this!

        I will have to give this Town a 5 star as in the summer on a lovely day a walk around the lovely park, with the bandstand alive with music and people dancing what more could you want!

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          14.05.2009 19:56

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          Come and see us Colchesterites

          Colchester some facts first

          Oldest recorded town in Britain
          Roman Garrison town
          Currently an active garrison town and army prison
          Colchester has a castle
          Colchester has a zoo
          Population approx 160,000
          In the county of Essex

          The Zoo is a must to visit, take the kids as an excuse to go and have a great day out. The castle is a must visit as well with a museum housed within the castle covering the Roman empire and lots of lots of historical artifacts or just chillin in the castle park. If you can research the tourist information site to see if there is a dig going on somewhere

          www.visitcolchester.com

          I have lived in Colchester for the past 9 years and it;s getting better year on year. The shopping, bars, clubs all except the roads. Unfortunately Colchester is growing so fast and developers building to match the growth the road are getting swamped. I guess this happens to every growing town with links to London approx 1 hour into Liverpool Street the commuters have taken over the Colchester North station area.

          Best bar for me is cube bar - come and see us !

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          18.02.2009 20:31
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          A fab town with loads going on.

          I moved to Colchester from London three years ago and it's one of the best things I've ever done. I absolutely love Colchester and love almost everything about it too. It's got something for everyone and is a really vibrant town with loads going on, yet laid back at the same time. Right, this is what I love and what Colchester has to offer:

          **HISTORY**

          Colchester is Britain's oldest town and is steeped in history. From my bedroom window I can see part of the Roman wall that surrounds most of the town, and it's amazing to look at it and think "That's been there for 2,000 years, that has" - I never tire of it.

          The castle is an iconic symbol of Colchester and dominates the town centre. A Norman keep, it is built on Roman foundations and just oozes history!

          There are other historical areas worth noting too - including the Dutch quarter named after the 16th century Dutch weavers who fled to Colchester and settled there and the siege house (now a restaurant) which has bullet holes from the Siege of Colchester in 1648 - an important turning point in the English civil war.

          **CULTURE**

          There is loads to see and do in Colchester, including a couple of art galleries and several free museums (The Hollytrees museum is my favourite - there's a dolls house in there that I sooooo WANT!). A visual arts facility is currently being built, but the VAF (as it's locally known) is way behind schedule and costing a fortune so the less said about that the better!! There's also a church every couple of steps (well, that's what it feels like anyway).

          **LEISURE**

          In my opinion, nobody could ever say they're bored in Colchester. There are endless restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafes as well as a multiplex cinema, two theatres, a swimming and spa complex, a ten-pin bowling alley, the UK's biggest roller disco, a paint balling and laser centre, wide open spaces and a world famous zoo.

          There are also loads of shops - both huge name stores you would expect such as M&S, Debenhams, BHS etc and lots of smaller boutiques too which offer more unusual clothes, accessories and gifts. If that isn't enough there's also a large street market 2 days a week.

          **OPEN SPACES**

          Colchester has loads of outdoor space to explore and enjoy. My favourite is Castle Park which surrounds the famous castle - it's a gorgeous Victorian park complete with beautifully kept flower beds, a children's play area, band stand, café and restaurant, boating lake and cricket pitches. It's a great place for whiling away time on hot summer days with an ice cream!

          There is also Highwoods Country Park in the north of the town which offers the chance to explore ancient woodland, and several riverside walks that can be followed too.

          **LOCATION**

          There is enough to keep you occupied in Colchester, but if you want to venture further afield it is ideally located for reaching just about anywhere! London is just under an hour away by train (the town has two train stations) and Norwich is an hour away in the opposite direction. Ipswich, Chelmsford and Braintree are also close by if you want to shop outside of Colchester and can be reached by train or road (A12). If you want to visit the seaside you don't have to venture too far - West Mersea and Brightlingsea are just minutes away and the sunshine coast of Essex (Clacton-on-Sea, Walton-on-Naze etc) is about half an hour away. If you really want to get further away, Stansted airport is about 45 minutes away and Harwich port is even closer if you have your sea legs!

          **OVERVIEW**

          Colchester really does have something for everyone and is much more affordable than London. There are hardly any down sides - the only one I can think of being that the shops tend to all shut at 5.30pm during the week which is no use for popping in on your way home!

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            18.10.2008 21:40
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            A great place with a variety of things to do and see!

            Colchester has something to offer everyone I am sure!

            There are fantastic shops, both in the town centre and in the many industrial units around the town that sell pretty much anything i can think of from food and groceries to clothing to DIY to home furnishings.... the list goes on! As well as fantastic eateries catering for all tastes budgets and cuisines!

            But colchester doesn't end their... steeped in history with its roman roads and oldest recorder town status the Colchester boasts a magnificent castle/ museum with fabulous artefacts and displays and set in the most amazing grounds... any child would love a visit here.

            If that is not enough, there is of course, Colchester Zoo. This really is a world class zoo with the most amazing array of animals and great conservation credentials. My favourite has to be walking through the underwater tunnel and watching sealions swim above your head.... and if you have a head for heights.... try the rop bridge by the tiger enclosure!

            Colchester really is an amazing place... well worth several trips as you could not possibly fit it all in one day!

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            10.09.2008 15:26
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            A mixed bag, but I moved here for the kids really

            Colchester - well what can I say ?

            I have lived here for just over 3 years, and what a mixed bag the place is. It is a safe enough place to live for the kids growing up, but the adult population leave a bit to be desired. I find them childish, sneakey, and a bit fearful of outsiders (like me a Londoner). The only people I really get on with are people who come from other major cities. Colchester has a small town, alabama like mentality. If your straight talking forget it, your get freezed out.

            Its a shame, cause its a top place for activities, its fairly clean, unless you end up on a pikey estate and the schools are pretty good in the main.

            It lacks heart and soul I'm afraid...life is about people, and thats what I miss about London - the diversity.

            After my kids leave school, I'll look to go abroad or something.

            Life is too short for the curtain twitchers, and gawkers, which this place has, and the attitude is one of "i'm alright jack".

            Great for scenery and cycling......but Lord...where are all the characters !!!!????

            I give 3 stars - but a 2 and a half in reality.

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              05.08.2008 20:20
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              Don't move here

              Colchester can be lovely, or the worst chav-hole you can imagine. I'm in my 3rd year of living here now, and am seriously torn over whether I should stay or move back to London.. In many respects, I'm disappointed. Colchester is far from a bad place to live: it has incredibly interesting history; is full of monuments; has some really pretty corners; is affordable and characterful. It's surrounded by lovely villages, some on water-front. But it's only with living here that you begin to understand more.. Sorry to say it, but it's a real chav town. It's full of yobs, young girls pushing prams with fag in mouth, boy racers creating havoc on the roads, invisible police etc.. I don't need to describe it - come and visit - the problem is very visible. At night, it's often violent. It has some of the UK's highest rates of heroin use and domestic violence, suggesting something is VERY wrong. Colchester is pretty yet very dirty at the same time. You can find just about everything you want, yet the atmosphere is that of an oppressive, small town. You can be proud of its history, and yet sad that a recent official exhibition has been dedicated to the town's decline... The saddest thing of all - it's very near Ipswich and Chelmsford, neither of which show anything like the same signs of decay. Commuting to and from London, which I initially thought would be no more than an inconvenience, is extremely expensive (£460 pcm); and very, very unreliable (4 out of 10 trains late or cancelled).

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                19.03.2008 20:46
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                Colchester is a bad place if your a bit different.

                Colchester well well Its the Oldest Recorded Town in Britain, so maybe your thinking well it has history it maybe a nice place? Nothing really looks in places or should be built there but ends up being built there.

                I have a learning difficulty - Dyspraxia which with me has autism tendencies. So the world when growing up was very lonely and still is too a degree. So what I look for is niceness in people, visually nice buildings something which makes you want to sit there at a age how wonderfully built it is, nothing in Colchester is like that. We have a Castle it would look good if the things around looked old but it doesn't it looks odd.

                Every Estate nowadays has a massive Chav group and the motive for everyone is too get drunk and be like me basically clumsy but i am naturally clumsy! so drinking just doesn't interest me in the slightest. People moan about the place everyday but when you say why don't you leave. They just reply with the usual remarks. I believe these people have just nothing to do except to moan. They are filled with self pity that they have it bad, they only have it bad is because none of them like too have there own mind. Instead they rather just follow the route as everyone else.

                I am not sure if this is a problem with Colchester or a problem in the world but because I live here, That's what it feels like.

                If you have a slight problem looking or the way you are. I'm sure are Colchester Locals will pick up on it and harass you no end. I am naturally a person who just like to get on with life quietly and I have no problem with anyone, It's these people who do.

                It rains a lot and the weather is always different but mostly rains every so often we will get some sun!

                When you want to walk out for a person like me, you have the fear and risk of maybe getting hit or maybe more abuse and more. When i go out it is a mission rather than a pleasurable experience. They have the law on there side so theres nothing you can do. For me the people, i never been helped by anyone no one has anytime, everybody wants to have fun or be drunk but in life people should help each other, I never got that sense that someone would help me.

                I seem to get on better with people who move from different countries who come here, that why i feel like foreigner probably! I don't feel like this is home instead a mission to get out of it and I 70per cent there now!

                So if you don't have the best social skills and look for beauty or a place that feels magical then Colchester is not the place! That why i am going. If you like getting drunk and nightclubs then our people will show you the ropes in no times!!! and you will love it!

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                  12.03.2007 11:44
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                  Great place to live.

                  Great review, I spent most of my formative years in an around Colchester and still hold it in very high regard as a place to live. It is a great mix of history & a modern vibrant town, with lots of attractive countryside and coast in it's surrounding (I like mud flats).
                  The only big minuses I have noticed on my last few visits there, are that the traffic congestion has got really bad, and Tesco are doing thir best to take over the town !
                  My recent visits have been to visit a reltive at the main Colchester General Hospital the level of care delivered by all the staff is A1.

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                    31.01.2004 21:42
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                    I came to live Britain?s oldest recorded town more by chance than design. I?d planned to go to India after six months working for a local charity but never got any further than Essex. I did get a wife a mortgage and two cats though hence never making it any further. There is archaeological evidence of a settlement here 3000 years ago and visible remains dating from Roman and Norman periods right through to some very ugly modern building by the North Station but that?s the same where ever you live these days. The population is around 155,000 (2001 statistics) and has the fifth lowest crime levels in the Essex Police area and is also in the top 25% of the safest places to live in the Eastern region. (Better than been in the lower 75% I guess). Average property prices for Colchester are £167,505 (Jul?Sept 2003) but cheaper properties are available. So what does Colchester have? All the usual high street names that you?d expect in a town of this size are here and I won?t name them, as that would be tedious for both of us. Needless to say it?s very well served. What the town centre does have is a very large pedestrianised area that gives easy access to most of the shops. As well as the usual suspects the town has a very eclectic mix of small businesses catering for all sorts of custom and trade. Due to its history Colchester has quite a reasonable tourist trade and I?ve heard it called the York of the South. Now I can see the similarity but it?s more of a poor cousin than a close sibling and I mean no disrespect to the town when I say that. For more detailed information about its museums of which there are several and very good they are too go to http://www.colchestermuseums.org.uk/ for a wealth of detail including visiting times and admission prices. I would certainly recommend the Castle Museum housed in the largest Keep ever built by the Normans if only to look round the castle itself and the tour is well worth the ti
                    me and money as you get to see parts that you wouldn?t otherwise see and the view from the roof is stunning. Being of an age where I?ve stopped pubbing and clubbing I?m unable to comment on the nightlife other than to say there is plenty of it if that is your thing so get down with your bad self. If you fancy the latest blockbuster then the new Odeon is the place for you. Opened just over a year ago its all new and shiny and very comfortable with more screens than you can shake a white stiletto at. If you fancy something a little different check out the Art Centre, a live venue that resides in an old church that has everything from Jazz to Rock taking in a little comedy to boot as well as the odd poetry reading. For your more standard run of the mill productions try the Mercury Theatre just next door. Eating out is also an area where I can pass only limited comment. Being vegan does have its drawbacks in Colchester if you fancy a meal out but all is not lost. If you are vegan there is one place that can provide you with a meal that will leave you with that freshly stuffed feeling, Monty?s on North Hill. A friendly and welcoming Nepalese restaurant that serves authentic Nepalese dishes none of your pale imitations here and if your not vegan go anyway as my Grandfather in Law assures me the Lamb is second to none. If your dietary habits aren?t as limiting then you have the choice of all the usual high street franchises as well as a large choice of eateries and coffee shops. Getting into town isn?t to bad if you don?t mind taking the bus as all the surrounding parts of town have an excellent bus service and a return ticket is currently £1.70. If you choose to bring the car into town be prepared to sit in traffic for a while. Colchester suffers from its geography slightly being originally built on top of a hill; great if you?re a defending Roman solider, crap if you?re a motorist. The old Roman walls surround almost the whole of the town centr
                    e so it?s easy to find but a pain to drive round. There are 4 car parks around the edge of town one at each point of the compass so finding a parking place isn?t much of a problem, neither is the price. There is also a park and ride starting from the North Station on a Saturday but by the time you?ve got to the park and ride you may as well drive into town as it is poorly sited in my opinion. Getting away from the town centre you find houses and lots of them and more are springing up everywhere they can be built. Not everywhere has suffered from this plague of bricks however. A little over a mile from the town centre is High Woods Country Park, run and maintained by the Colchester Borough Council and covering 350 acres of woodland, grassland, wetland and farmland. Open from 7.00am to 10pm in the summer and 7.00pm in the winter it offers a variety of walks and trails to suit all abilities and disabilities and it?s free to get in. The Visitors Centre can be contacted on (01206) 853 588 or emailed at countryside@colchester.gov.uk The woods were originally owned by the Crown and used for hunting amongst other activities. The woodland is very well established due to its age and is very diverse as are the number of bird and animal species that can be found there, a truly beautiful and peaceful place to spend an afternoon. Living in Colchester does have some hidden advantages if you?re environmentally minded as it is estimated that the participation in the kerbside recycling scheme is currently 60% and it is hoped that it will reach 75% by 2005. Colchester also has the highest recycling rate in Essex with 22% of its total waste being recycled. Also on an environmental bent the Council is very keen to promote cycle use and to this end has provided some excellent cycle routes one or two are a little round the houses but on the whole are very good. Travelling to and from Colchester is fairly straightforward seeing that it is so well placed withi
                    n the transport infrastructure of the area. By train you can be in the centre of London (Liverpool St.) in just 50 minutes (leaves or snow permitting). Drive to or from Colchester and the A12 gives easy access to the M25 and the Capital. To the North is Ipswich and A14 that leads to the Midlands and the North of England and Scotland I suppose if you keep going past Yorkshire. Also within easy reach of Colchester are Stansted (45 mins) and the major East coast seaports of Felixstowe and Harwich International. So if you ever find yourself moving to Essex, Colchester isn?t a bad place to be. I?d recommend it to you if you asked me. It has everything thing you need to meet your needs and for those that it can?t then you?ll find them very near by, except for rock climbing! Which is why I?m moving back to Yorkshire. Colchester Visitor Information Centre (01206) 282920 / e-mail: vic@colchester.gov.uk http://www.thisiscolchester.co.uk/ http://www.colchesterwhatson.co.uk/

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                      30.09.2003 21:29
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                      I thought i would write a review on one of the artists that has recently exhibited at The Minories Art Gallery in Colchester. For those of you who dont know it is situated right next door to the bus station opposite greyfriars college. It is always well worth a look. Here is a report on MArion Coutts:- Marion Coutts "Everglade" 'Everglade' is the largest exhibition of her work to date that has been constructed with work from over the past three years. It shows the use of everyday objects In unusual environments. This makes Marian Coutts a contemporary artist of individual style. The title piece, 'Everglade' that can be found on the first floor of the Minories gallery in the ball room has been inspired by the changing landscapes of the 18th century woodcuts by Thomas Bewick. I found that the floating vignettes with no sky to see takes Coutts theme of social isolation to its limit with solitary people walking through the scenes. To me it portrayed a feeling of peacefulness and calm, somewhere to get away to have quiet moments. It struck me as odd to see people hurrying through the scenes rather than slower to enjoy where they are, as if this place was not as calm as it seems. I like this piece as you can appreciate the amount of time it took to completely erase the sky in a perfect oval shape and it gives me a feeling of personnel solitude. My favourite piece in this exhibition is a piece titled Cult/Icon. The visual effects of this piece are truly stunning. The eyes have been made so that when you are standing away from the piece the eyes appear to be closed and the cat to be asleep. However, as you walk closer to the piece the eyes start to open until you get right underneath the piece and the eyes are completely open. The cat has woken up. The way the picture has been hung has some significance over the feeling of the piece. Some people see the picture as a portrait of an ordinary household cat that has
                      been hung up slightly higher than usual. However, for some others it has a more significant meaning. The cat has historical symbolic meaning in some cultures especially the Egyptians. The Egyptians worshipped cats as if the were more sacred than the people themselves. The cat was a mascot to the superstitious. The way it has been hung means that most people have to look up to it. I like this piece mainly because of the eyes and the way she has made the cat look so real. Another of my favourites is the underrated figure of Sybil. Sybil is the woman who is said to have been endowed with the gift of prophecy has been sculpted again as another mysterious elegant hovering figure. This time the figure has been made with a satellite dish and a black veil. The satellite dish is an object that is associated with mass communication. Marion Coutts has used the satellite dish as a mythical symbol that suggests communication with the spiritual world. However this covering up of the satellite dish gives the feeling, again, of social isolation. I really enjoyed looking around this exhibition however I think that the pieces would of benefited from being in a larger space where there is more space and more angles to see the pieces from. Especially the piece labelled "Money" which I think would look really good from an aerial view. This piece however, is sight specific and will change every time Coutts places it in a different space. The coins themselves show isolation, as most people do not like one pence or two pence pieces. They find them annoying and so most people will generally get rid of these isolating them from the rest of the coins. However joining these coins together gives them a social unity in which they work together to be something more than the annoying penny. The whole piece does show isolation as well. With all the piles of coins near each other, there is one that stands off from all the others away against the wall as if the rest o
                      f the piles have rejected this pile of coins. The piles of money also seem as if they are living creatures and are moving as the piles have been spread out to look as if a trail has been left behind them like snails leave. This makes it seem as if the piles are living mounds. Another among my favourites has to be ?Some enchanted evening?. I really like this piece as the artist has mimicked the night sky constellations roughly useing black velvet ring holders and many gold wedding rings. The constellation ?The Bear? can be found very easily as well as Cassiopeia. This piece conjures up feelings of romance firstly with the wedding rings but also with the starry night sky. However the ring holders do not hold many rings and so there are few left. I like this piece very much as I have always thought of the night sky to be quiet and peaceful and very beautiful. It might be a simple piece of work but I think it is very good. ?Assembly? gave me one of the most peaceful feelings. The formation of the birds flying across the screen, appear, to us as only little black dots against the blue sky. This piece breaks the feeling of social isolation as the birds are in one big group and not separated. The way it is projected onto the small lectern is as if someone is about to preach about life and living and freedom like the birds have. However, although the birds are flying around completely free they are confined to this small white box so freedom seems something that they cant reach. I really enjoyed this exhibition as there were so many different things to look at and so many ideas and concepts to realise and understand. I feel the whole exhibition would appear better in a bigger space. I felt that this exhibition is to do with sociality. Whether it is social isolation, like ?Sybil? or ?Prophet? or whether it is a big group of things like ?Assembly? or ?No Evil Star? it all has a feeling of different degrees of sociality. thanx for readin
                      g hope it was ok.

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                        30.09.2002 21:19
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                        Colchester’s greatest claim to fame is being Britain’s oldest recorded town. It’s also home to a Second Division football team (formerly including Charlton’s Mark Kinsella and Newcastle’s Lomano Lua Lua) and the Colchester area is home to bands like Blur and the Prodigy. Not to mention it’s where I’ve lived all my life. Not bad eh? Where is it? How to get there. In north-east Essex, about 60 miles from London and near the port of Harwich and the seaside resort of Clacton. Rail services run from Liverpool Street (London) through Colchester en route to Norfolk and Suffolk; rail travellers from anywhere else will probably have to go via London. The main station is called North Station, though there’s an older ‘Colchester Town’ nearer the centre too. By road, the main road through (or rather, bypassing) Colchester is the A12 – again you may have to go via the M25. Why go? Like I said, Colchester is Britain’s oldest recorded town. Colchester (whose name derives from fort on the River Colne) was the lowest bridging point of said river. It was a Roman capital, and parts of the old Roman walls can still be seen – best on Balkerne Hill, along with the ruins of an amphitheatre just out of town (in the south-west, near Gosbecks estate) and other remains. If you’re in town around the Dutch Quarter (between the Town Hall and Castle Park) go down Maidenburgh Street – there’s a house where the floor has been dug away down to Roman levels and you can see some mosaic remains through the large display window. There used to be a Roman temple to the top of the hill (formerly site of a pagan temple). It was sacked by Queen Boadicea of the Iceni, and a Norman castle now stands on the site. It’s one of the two oldest Norman castles in Britain – the other being the Tower of London (one was started first, the other finished first; I’m
                        not sure which way around). Nowadays the Castle is a museum as well as town symbol. Guided tours can take you down into the cellars (no dungeon) or onto the roof, and exhibits tell you a lot about Colchester’s history (I haven’t been in years, so I’m not too sure what’s there now). It’s not all Roman – for a start, there’s the castle, obviously. That was once mistaken as Roman though, hence some old restoration project giving it a red tile roof! The castle’s surrounded by a dry ditch and large park, home to a fishpond, small playground, plenty of open grass, a bandstand, ice cream stall and bowling greens. Also you can learn about later history. During the civil war, royalist Cavaliers held out in Colchester until the Roundheads’ siege finally defeated them. Behind the castle is a pillar where two Royalist leaders were executed, and the old Siege House down East Hill still has the bullet holes in its Tudor beams. Perhaps most interestingly, the tower of St Mary’s Church (now the Arts Centre) housed a royalist cannon known as ‘humpty dumpty’ until it fell down – possibly the origin of the nursery rhyme. If that’s not enough history for you, there’s a natural history museum opposite the main (upper) gate to Castle Park and war memorial – reviewed here by wampyrii. Nowadays Colchester is homes to plenty of commuters who travel to London or Ipswich. It’s also the place of work for many people from smaller surrounding towns and villages, such as Maldon, Coggeshall and Witham. Its population is around 100,000 (although it varies depending on how you define Colchester). Colchester applied for Millennium city status, but unsuccessfully (meaning it’s still the only Roman capital not to be a city). This move was controversial anyway – a lot of people didn’t want the negative connotations of being a city (con
                        gestion, pollution, ghettos and the like) or were unhappy about losing the ‘oldest town’ status (we wouldn’t be ‘oldest city’). Consequently I don’t think a bid was ever made to be a Jubilee city. So, Colchester’s not a big city, and seems quiet in comparison. But it’s still a garrison town - portrayed by the Channel 4 documentary 'Soldier Town' a few years ago as being full of squaddies and slappers (some truth). And it's a large town serving the surrounding area, and definitely urban rather than rural. That’s the kind of balance I like. Things to do include: At the moment there’s an old six-screen Odeon on Crouch Street. In October 2002 this will be replaced by a new eight-screen Odeon on Head Street. If you prefer live theatre, the Mercury is at the top of Balkerne Hill; near the Arts Centre and Hole in the Wall (pub). Rollerworld down the far end of East Hill used to be Europe’s biggest indoor skating rink I believe, though I doubt it is any more. Also home to a Quasar arena (one of those laser games). There’s a zoo down Maldon Road, towards Tiptree. Arts Centre – a converted Church, home to live gigs, (mostly indie) club nights, comedy clubs, live theatre, dance classes, film showings, an annual beer festival and all sorts of other things. Other clubs – for the usual crap trendy cheesy pop/dance clubs, try the Hippodrome (High Street or, if you can be bothered to leave town, Kings (out between Stanway and Copford). Drinking holes – our normal is the (J. D. Wetherspoons) ‘Playhouse’ on St John’s Walk. Other’s you might like to try are the Wig & Pen (High Street) or Hole in the Wall (near Balkerne gate) where the goths/grungers/other freaks hang out. Shopping – Colchester town centre is fairly compact. Just about all the shops are in a rectangle
                        , bounded by Head Street (to the east), High Street (north), Queen Street (west) and Southway (south). Parking is available off Balkerne Hill, Southway or Priory Str eet – on street parking is very limited because most of the roads are rather narrow. While there aren’t a huge number of shops (compared to somewhere like Oxford Street – which remains an easy day trip away, about an hour on the train to London) there are all you’d expect in a large town. Culver Square includes Virgin Megastore, Woolworths, Debenhams and Waterstones. Nearby Culver Street runs along the back of the High Street, and a number of banks are between the two. Further to the east there are a couple of other shops – W H Smith, V Shop, Red Lion Books, Boots, Superdrug, Argos, Clinton’s Cards and all you’d expect basically. Not forgetting a central Sainsbury’s on Priory Walk (opposite the very groovy Time Records) and town Library. A nice thing about Colchester’s shops (from a student’s point of view) is there are plenty of nice little cheap ones, unlike Oxford – Wilkinsons, The Works, Swag Shop etc. On Fridays and Saturdays there are also market traders. Most of the streets are pedestrian, so they set up stalls in the street – probably almost like the Middle Ages again! Out of town, the largest shopping area is the Tollgate centre to the west, including Sainsburys and numerous other stores (PC World, Allied Carpets, etc and a McDonalds). There are Fiveways Co-op superstores on Peartree Road and Abbot’s Road, a new Asda on Turner Rise (opposite North Station), an old Tesco in Highwoods and a new one as part of the Hythe developemtn, including a re-sited B&Q and new housing. Eating Out – Er, I don’t do this much. No special little recommendations I’m afraid. The usual takeaways, cafes, McDonalds, Burger King, Wimpy, Pizza Hut (all High Street), some sl
                        ightly more upmarket restaurants on Head Street. And Beefeaters at the aforementioned Siege House and on Cowdray Avenue. Living in Colchester Will anyon e move here based on my opinion? Well, hopefully I’ve described the town plenty. Housing is varied – a lot of it near the centre is quite old, and although some is nice most is a bit small. There are plenty of larger newer houses around the outskirts however. Generally the best residential areas are to the west. All the estates have local shopping areas, recreation grounds and the like. House prices are fairly steep, with this being in the south-east and near enough London. New houses are being built all the time though, often in the ‘overspill’ villages around Colchester. Schools are good; there are well performing selective schools for both boys and girls (Colchester Royal Grammar School and Colchester County High School respectively) as well as numerous secondary modern/comprehensives and private schools. The environment is generally clean – but I have to say that while I’m working for the Council Street Services ;) and there are reasonable job opportunities, especially if you’re willing to commute. The local papers, such as the Evening Gazette, include plenty of information on jobs, housing and local events. As far as my personal thoughts go, I like Colchester. I’ve lived here all my life though, so don’t have much grounds for comparison – two years of term time living in Oxford (which is of similar size). I think I’m a large town guy, it’s the right mix of rural and urban for me, and I’m happy in Colchester. Obviously I’d like to settle near family and friends, but I guess job opportunities and house prices may dictate whether I settle in Colchester. www.colchester.gov.uk www.thisisessex.co.uk

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                          10.07.2001 02:42
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                          I may only be 14 but yes I am supposedly an essex girl! I was born in Essex and I was also born in my home town of Colchester, if you live in Colchester you may know the hospital that I was born in~ Colchester Maternity Hospital which has now unfortunately closed, it closed last year but was along Lexden Rd. I'm not a complete Essex girl though, Essex girls are supposed to have blue eyes and long blonde hair and usually quite a large chest as well, well for the information not all Essex girls are like that, because the only thing I have is the blue eyes part! pretty pathetic ha!? I'm sure you've also heard all the typical Essex girl jokes, you've probably heard them all before but here goes my special one~How does an Essex Girl turn on the light after having sex? Ans~ She opens the car door! I like that one but anyway on a serious note I'm writing on Colchester, NOT essex girls so here goes............ Colchester is a very easy town to visit and get to, it's just off the A12 between London and Ipswich, it's in the North East of the county, Essex. The town is famous for its ancient history but also has many decent modern day activities and places to visit as well. Colchester is quite a popular town and got nominated last year to become a city but along with other bigger named towns of course we had no chance! We have many many tourists each year mainly because of all the history we have in the town. As you enter the town you will notice the signs, like all towns a welcoming sign, these all say 'WELCOME TO COLCHESTER, THE OLDEST RECORDED TOWN IN BRITAIN' Lots of people also love the place so much they live here! But what is Colchester really like? Well I live in Colchester and although I complain and I nag and nag to my friends and family saying its the most boring place to be, I can't complain because so many people come to visit the town! YES it's quite a boring place to live but tha
                          ts probably just because I'm a young teenager and I have nothing to do except for shop, swim and skate! Other people love living here but as for visiting the town many people love it so much they come back each year again and again! the place makes the perfect holiday, NOT the perfect place to live though! Families, friends and couples, old and young visit our town. I would say more couples visit the town more then any one else and mainly older aged couples too because I think History attracts older people more! What do these people come to visit though? (Apart from all the Essex girls of course!)~ 1. Colchester Castle and The Castle Park This is the main attraction of Colchester because this is the place that stores most of the towns history. If you visit the tourist office you can recieve a FREE of charge information pack, the castle is massive and is surrounded by the castle park which is also absolutely massive, this consists of a massive play park for the children, beautiful gardens including seperate gardens for the blind with special brail writing, a boating lake, waterfalls as the main river of Colchester runs throught the bottom of the park. There is also a putting green and a crazy golf course for all the golfers and many ice cream parlours and stools! This is where ALL the main town avents happen like bonfire night and summershows. Back to the castle itself though, its absolutely amazing as well as massive! Its a proper castle from many many years ago, infact a Norman castle and has been transformed into a museum for the public! It is situated in the town centre and was built around 1076 but brings us History for many years before and after that! In the English civil war the English king stayed in this castle so we are led to believe. The admission prices aren't cheap but are reasonable and you will be guranteed a good day out! 2. The Leisure Centre Also another very popular place inside the town o
                          f Colchester is the leisure centre caleld 'Leisure World' Families, couples and kids all visit the attraction and is very popular. There is a fitness and leisure pool, the most popular is the leisure pool which consisits of a 2 main pools, slides, jacuzzi's, flumes, rapids, and fun currents. The prices are quite hefty for admission but is well worth it. The pool is a great place to visit on holiday because after a while the pool becomes very boring, you will find the pool most busiest in the holidays, it will become jam packed full of kids! The leisure centre also offers the 'Charter Hall' where concerts are usually held in the evening and the building is surrounded by 'Mega Bowl' (Which I'll mention later on!) and a Mac Donalds so you won't get hungry! (For the information Colchester consists of 3 Mac Donalds branches!) 3. The Town Centre Colchester town centre is brilliant, the shops are great! From living here all my life I can say that there aren't as many shops like 'New Look' and 'Tammy' for the teenage girls like me! Otherwise all in all everythings great, good shops, good atmosphere, nice place and good food too! The local market is good which is held every Friday and Saturday for all the shoppers and there are also many pubs that adults OR families can visit. The town also has a multi screen odeon. The odeon is good but within the next few years it will be moving to a better building. The night life in the town centre is also very good, ok so maybe not as good as you would find it in a place such as London or Manchester but anyway theres the local hippodrome for all ages and L'Aristo's night club which has special youth nights for people of my age as well! 4. The Zoo I have already written a seperate opinion on colchester zoo, but the zoo however being one of the best in the country hardly anything neds to be said! The zoo is really nice to visit wit
                          h specail animals and animal shows and admission is qutie reasonable too! You need to be able to walk well because you will most probably need to do quite a lot of walking throughout the zoo because of its very large land area. At the moment if you've read my opinion on the zoo you will of realised due to the 'Foot and mouth' disease the zoo has been closed. An example of the animals coming first! But for Easter the zoo has re opened because of its huge loss in money! 5. Mega Bowl Mega Bowl is basically just bowling, a real laugh for sure! You can go with your family or friends in a group. Apart from the bowling there is also a seperate bar and many man fun games machines. There is also a cafe. he prices are around £15 for a lane per hour. You can go during the day or make it a later on in the evening arrangement. 6. Rollerworld You can visit rollerworld and go skating on one of the best skating floors in the country! Prices are very exspensive here so you'll need money! You can skate all you want, there is also a cafe, a bar. 2 bowling lanes, 2p game machines and lockers. Even if you just spectate you still have to pay! again you can visit during the day time or in the evening, I suggest you get in contact and ask. Sometimes they have teen nights, other nights are for families, they vary quite a lot. 7. Colchester United I've also wrote an opinion on my local footlball team as well. There home ground is situated along 'Layer Rd' and the club plays second division football. The stadium is eventually one going to be re-built (ONE DAY!) But the football played is sometimes crap and other times class. If you like football go along and watch a game, if not I'm sure you'll have fun and have a laugh too! You can stand up OR sit down and prices are pretty cheap too! Games are either mid-week or Fridays nights or Saturdays usually. 8. Other places you may be interested
                          in Other places in the town that you may enjoy visiting are~ The tennis courts~Pay for good tennis games and lessons The Odeon~all the latest movies and great cinema screens Mercury Theatre~Very good plays, well written and performed. V.popular The local Blockbuster movie store~Good movies on videos and DVD's for less then a fiver! With so much to do and see in colchester the place is really worth a visit, from what I hear bed and breakfasts are pretty good and reasonable in price too, hotels which I have visited have always seemed good too. If you need a beach we have many surrounding us such as Mersea, Clacton-On-sea, Frinton, Harwich and Gt. Yarmouth~All a fair treck but well worth the visit, the nearest is Mersea, (mersea Island, you can visit the East or west ~ I suggest the West!) which is only quarter of an hour away. Overall Colchester isn't a crowded or busy place at all with too much to do with too little time to do it in, it's not quiet either though, its just right for all you tourists out there! But I still feel thats it's a boring place to live in! Hope I've helped~Em~

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                            08.06.2001 04:38

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                            Colchester is Englands oldest Town and is home to Colchester Castle which is one of Englands oldest intact castles. Colchester sports a good nightlife with several nightclubs (Kings, Chicago Rock Cafe), a Gala Bingo centre, a 6 screen Cinema with a new multiplex being built, numerous bars and clubs, a leisure complex including ice rink and Ten Pin bowling. As well as the castle museum and gardens there are several other points of interst including a Clock museum, Abbey and several smaller museums. Colchester has a large shopping centre which includes shops like a Virgin Megastore and a large Boots the chemists

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