Chelmsford was once described by Charles Dickens as 'the dullest and most stupid spot on the face of the Earth'. Thankfully, it’s come a long way since 1835 and the small riverside city is now teeming with things to do!
For when your student loan has just dropped, the city centre is a good spot for some retail therapy and a night out. If you’re tightening the purse strings though – or just fancy something different – then there’s still plenty to do.
The city centre
For a night out beyond the Students' Union bars, head into Chelmsford city centre. Here you’ll find firm favourites like Popworld, Walkabout, Slug and Lettuce and trusty Wetherspoons (The Ivory Peg). There are also some independent bars, like CTZN and Bar and Beyond.
If live music is more your thing, head over to The Golden Fleece (or just 'the Fleece' locally) to get your fill. Even if it’s not, they have a good atmosphere and nice cocktails – think gastropub. For something a little different you can give Bassment a go; music events are held here too.
If ale does it for you, then you can’t go wrong with The Ale House. There’s plenty on offer and you’ll find your favourite spot for a [insert drink of choice] soon enough.
If you’re feeling peckish then you’ll also have plenty of choice here. The city centre has many popular chains such as Nando's, Five Guys, Byron, Bill's, Prezzo, Pizza Express, Wagamama and Las Iguanas to name but a few. There’s also Song’s world buffet and a few independents such as Acanteen and Shwings (gourmet chicken wings). There really is something for everyone. Prefer to live like a hermit? No worries – Deliveroo operates in the area.
Chelmsford has two shopping centres, high street stores, and the relatively new Bond Street where you will find John Lewis and Debenhams. All the usual culprits can be found here to suit most budgets. There’s also plenty of cafes, and when you’re done you can take a stroll through Central Park and Sky Blue Pasture.
Parks and nature
If you have a car at your disposal – or your flatmate does – then Hylands Park is worth a visit, especially in the summer months. Former home to V Festival, Hylands Estate spans over 574 acres and includes parkland, gardens, artist studios, cafes and a large grade II listed house. It is great for picnics and ball games in warmer weather, but if you wrap up warm you can still enjoy a leisurely walk here in the winter.
Admirals Park and Tower Gardens is a pleasant setting for picnics, walking and jogging. Although you won’t find any cafes here, it connects to Central Park walking along the River Can. Admirals Park is home to the annual CAMRA beer and cider festival in the summer, as well as a fireworks display in November around Guy Fawkes Night. You will also find tennis courts here, and basketball courts going towards Central Park, and it’s a good setting for runners.
Sports and leisure
Aside from the parks, sports enthusiasts can become a member of one of the many gyms in the area; from the budget-friendly, 24-hour The Gym to more expensive health clubs, like Nuffield Health. However, anyone can enjoy Riverside Leisure Centre, which has been recently refurbished. Riverside offers an ice rink, ten-lane swimming pool, gym and exercise studios. There are lots of sports clubs to choose from here too, if you’re looking to branch out from what’s on campus.
There are other sports and athletics centres around Chelmsford to choose from depending on what you’re after.
Looking for something else to do? Try Jump Street trampoline park. If you tire of throwing yourself around on the trampoline activities then you can always give the clip n climb a go. They hold fitness classes here too, if you prefer your cardio with a fun twist.
Definitely not a dull moment.
In Chelmsford, you'll find our campus by the riverside in the city's University and Innovation Quarter. Come and explore: we run drop-in campus tours every Wednesday or you can book your place at our next Open Day.