Colchester is the oldest recorded town in Britain and is famous for its rich history and cultural activities.
Built on a long heritage spanning back to the Neolithic period, Colchester - or 'Camulodunum' as it was then known - is considered to have been the Roman capital of Britain for a while before London, boasting excellent connections both inland and to sea.
Nowadays the busy town is home to over 120,000 people who enjoy the amenities of a stadium, art centres, busy shopping areas, restaurants and an excellent nightlife.
History of ColchesterAs Colchester is the oldest town in England, it has nothing short of a rich history; dating back to the Neolithic period and all the way through Bronze, Iron, Roman, Medieval, Tudor and Georgian periods. The town's port at The Hythe was able to carry both coastal and overseas trade and the proximity to London and Ipswich meant the area was an important trading centre for people far and wide.
By the late 12th century, the town started to specialise in textiles, up until it slowed in the mid 18th century. By the 17th century, Colchester became known for its oysters. The town industrialised slowly but became a centre of engineering in the later 19th century.
Colchester is also believed to be the home place of some of the best known nursery rhymes including ‘Old King Cole’, 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty’.
Getting aroundColchester is working to reduce the level of congestion that’s been prevalent in recent years with plans to open three Park & Ride services; the Council is also offering various incentives to discourage the use of cars in the town centre, like discounts on bus and train travel, as well as the Bike2Work scheme which gives you a discount on the cost of a new bicycle.
If you have to go to work via car, the centre is easy to reach from the A12 which also links well to the M25 from the South. The town also has two train stations, Colchester Town and Colchester North. The town station caters for local services whereas the North station is for main-line trains between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.
Leisure activities in ColchesterColchester has a great selection of shopping areas, including the larger shops and individual, independent shops. The High Street is a good place to start, where you can find the award-winning department store Fenwick.
As you walk down the cobbled streets of Eld Lane and Trinity Street, you’ll find an area containing the smaller shops and boutiques. The bigger retail outlets can be found in Lion Walk and Culver Square and on the outskirts in retail parks such as Tollgate and Cowdray Avenue.
Eating and drinking are usually close-knit in Colchester; the pubs you find will be close to a solid choice of cafe bars, restaurants and Bistros, specialising in American, British, European, Indian, Mexican and Nepalese. Get yourself to the High Street, St. John’s Street, Crouch Street and North Hill areas and you really can’t go wrong. Examples of fine eatery in Colchester are the Church Street Tavern, Mimosa and The Green Room. a little further away The Company Shed in West Mersea is considered to be the best seafood restaurant in the area. It also serves oysters, an authentic Colchester delicacy.
Colchester isn’t short of culture either, as the town has a number of museums, including the Natural History Museum, Hollytrees Museum, Tymperleys Clock Museum and the Castle Museum, as well as the Minories Art gallery.
There is also an Arts Centre which hosts various jazz, blues, rock, folk and comedy performances, then you also have the Lakeside, Headgate and Mercury theatres which put on contemporary and historic plays. You can also enjoy all the latest film releases at the Odeon cinema.
If you’re an outdoorsy person, you can visit the expansive Highwoods Country Park or Castle Park in the town centre. Nearby there are costal areas such as Mersea Island, Frinton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze and Clacton which offer plenty of outdoor activities.
If you’re a cricket fan the Essex County Cricket Club is located in Colchester along with other sporting facilities like the leisure centre and health and fitness clubs. There's Colchester Stadium too which hosts a great football club along with many ongoing events related and unrelated to sport.
Residential areasColchester is one of the most enticing locations to live in the East of England, with the town's appeal still rising due to the number of redevelopment projects in the area.
North Colchester is one of the most sought after areas of the town for those that want to be close to the railway station, hospital and main link roads going out of the town. Unsurprisingly, the area is plentiful of young professionals and students due to how close it is to the town centre.
In the east of the town is Essex University's Colchester campus, with the area going under major redevelopment and modernisation. The South has less major road links than other areas and is considerably quieter.
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