It’s no surprise that the UK is a great place to live if you like the idea of being surrounded by centuries of history. One town that’s well worth considering in particular is Chelmsford in Essex.
There are many advantages to living within the Chelmsford city limits; it’s just 35 minutes away from the heart of London by rail, has many family-friendly spaces and amenities, and harbours some great shops and bars. Add to this its rich heritage, and you have the ideal location for your new home.
Here are my picks of Chelmsford’s best historical attractions:
I don’t know about you, but I always have to check out the local cathedral whenever I visit a historic city. There’s something truly fascinating about these spectacular buildings and their centuries of religious heritage.
Chelmsford Cathedral is a definite highlight of the city’s various attractions. Dating back to the 15th century, it’s the country’s second smallest cathedral, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive than its larger counterparts.
It officially became a cathedral in 1914 and was renovated in the 1980s, with the floor, pews, altar, font and cathedra all being replaced in the process.
Hylands House and Estate
A well-preserved historic house can offer a fantastic insight into what life used to be like for its inhabitants. The 18th century Hylands House is a countryside property with some splendidly decorated rooms and has seen nine different owners over the years.
You can visit on Sundays – as well as on Mondays during the summer – to see the extravagantly decorated Banqueting Room and an impressively grand staircase, as well as the Social History Room and the first-floor Repton Room, from where you can take in some great views of the surrounding estate.
It’s worth noting that Hylands Park plays host to the southern leg of the V Festival every August, so if you buy a new home in Chelmsford and want to attend the event, you can do away with the need to pay extra for camping!
What better way to learn about your new hometown than by visiting a museum that will tell you all about its history? Chelmsford Museum maps out developments in the city from the Ice Age onwards, with lots of permanent and temporary exhibitions to choose from.
The museum was extended a couple of years ago to fit in even more exhibits, and you can now see displays relating to specific disciplines like pottery and glass, as well as a rather unique live beehive.
This is a great place to take the kids if you’re moving to Chelmsford with your family, so bear the museum in mind as a potential weekend destination, especially when one of its regular events is held.
Now this is my kind of attraction – a building that combines centuries of history with the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy! Moulsham Mill is located on a site that has harboured some kind of mill for more than 1,000 years (it’s even in the Domesday Book).
The building you see today has stood there since 1819, although it has been renovated and repaired several times since then. You can appreciate the original features of the structure as you wander around and visit the craft outlets located within it.
These shops sell everything from furniture, clothing and gifts to jewellery and artworks. You can even get your hair done, have lunch or get your picture taken by a professional photographer.
Do you live in Chelmsford? If so, what are your favourite historical sights?