Colchester and Chelmsford are two must-see destinations during a stay in Essex. If you have time, complete your visit with a drive to Mersea Island.
The county town of Chelmsford was awarded city status in 2012. Highlights in this centrally located city include Chelmsford Cathedral, the only one in the county. Hylands House is another attraction especially with its setting within the vast beautiful grounds of Hylands Park which also hosts V Festival. The town centre has excellent shopping, restaurants and bars catering for a growing commuter population with London tastes.
The oldest recorded town in Britain has a rich and fascinating history. From Colchester Castle, built on the foundations of a Roman Temple when the town, then named Camoludonum was ruled from Rome by Emporer Claudius and burned to the ground by the Iron Age warrior Queen Boudicca. Other highlights include the Cultural Quarter, home to the Firstsite Contemporary Arts Centre.
Mersea Island is the biggest island off the east coast of England. This once Roman party island is still accessed over a bridge built on Roman foundations. Head to the populated half of West Mersea to enjoy oysters at the famed Company Shed or drive to sparse East Mersea to discover WWII pill boxes, quiet beaches and a vineyard.