Chelmsford is a popular commuter city that welcomes many people from nearby London into its community. With more affordable house prices, great transport links and plenty of things to do you can see why it appeals.
Chelmsford regularly appears close to the top of ‘best places to live’ lists and as Essex’s only city it remains a flagbearer in many respects.
Victorian and Edwardian properties are two of the most prominent styles in Chelmsford, offering period charm for those looking for an older style. Detached homes built in the 1920s are also quite common, while newer areas of the city, such as Beaulieu Park and Chelmer Village, feature developments built between the 70s and early 00s. Little Baddow to the East, Danbury, and Writtle to the West and Galleywood are villages located on the edges of Chelmsford and are home to a variety of period builds. Closer to the city centre is where you’ll find newly constructed flats and apartments, along with Victorian and Edwardian properties that have been split into separate living spaces. Average house prices currently stand at £378,148, with average rental costs at £1,052 pcm.
As is the case in any city, Chelmsford has a varied cross section of people living within its boundaries. It’s widely known as a commuter city, with plenty of young and older professionals travelling into London daily. Average house and rental prices are more affordable than the capital, which is one of the main reasons people come here, so you’ll find a mix of those just starting their careers to more seasoned professionals. People of a more mature age also settle down in the fringe areas of the city in the villages, enjoying the slower pace of life and easy connections to the centre of Chelmsford.
Historically Chelmsford has been a popular choice for house hunters from London and that remains the case today. The Beaulieu district is set to introduce two new schools, parkland and connections to surrounding countryside. Over 3,600 new homes will be built on the 604-acre site. Off White Hart Lane, plans are also being prepared to build 80 new homes for those over the age of 65.
Education standards are very good in Chelmsford, which will please parents of children across all age groups. ‘Outstanding’ rated schools at primary level include Chancellor Park Primary School, Perryfields Junior School and Oaklands Infant School. Children attending secondary schools can apply to the highly rated Grammar schools – Chelmsford County High School for Girls and King Edward VI Grammar School or Thriftwood School. For 16 to 18 year olds, Great Baddow High School, The Boswells School and Moulsham High School all come recommended.
Being so close to London ensures there is a thriving music and arts scene in the city of Chelmsford. Live bands play in Bassment and The Golden Fleece covering everything from rock to blues and folk.
Chelmsford Cathedral is one of the UK’s youngest, dating back to 1914, although its parish church is over 800 years old. Chelmsford Museum tells the story of the local area.
Garden Hyde Hall is run by the Royal Horticultural Society and covers 360 acres of beautiful gardens and outdoor landscaping.
Chelmsford also offers easy access into the expanse of the Essex countryside, with plenty of fields, pastures and woodlands to explore.
When it comes to eating out in Chelmsford there’s a wide range of cuisines on offer, with restaurants including Loch Fyne (seafood), Olio (Italian), Siam Cottage (Thai) and Back-Inn Time (American) all worthy of a visit. The Woolpack hosts occasional beer festivals, and The Orange Tree is well known for its specialist ales and pub quizzes.
For retail therapy, Meadows Shopping Centre offers the greatest variety of brand names, with High Chelmer Shopping Centre just down the road. Chelmsford Indoor Retail Market is where you’ll find many of the local traders in the area. There’s an Odeon Cinema to watch the latest films, and The Civic Theatre which hosts a variety of live events throughout the year.
Chelmsford Train Station sits in the city centre and offers connections to the surrounding areas. Clacton-on-Sea, Harwich, Norwich and Braintree are all easily reached. Trains run directly from Chelmsford into Liverpool Street in London, taking around 42 minutes.
For airports, Southend Airport is the closest, although it is small. Stansted and Luton take around two hours to reach and Gatwick an hour and 40 minutes. Heathrow is reached in a shade under two hours.