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The local area guide to living in Colchester

The ancient town of Colchester is brimming with history, culture and activity. Thought to have been founded in 5 AD by Cunobelin, the leader of the Britannic Trinovantes tribe, Colchester is said to be the oldest town in Britain. Over the centuries, has been the site of many significant historical events.

Colchester, or Camulodunum as it was then known, was captured by Roman invaders in the first century AD, then subsequently destroyed by the revolt of Boudicea and sieged during the Civil War. Evidence of these and a host of other historic events are found all over town, which is a primary reason why Colchester attracts of 4.5 million tourists every year.

Situated in Essex about 50 miles north of London, Colchester is a popular home for commuters looking to escape the bustling capital. The town is surrounded by countryside, and Fingringhoe Wick, one of England’s greatest nature reserves, is among its nearby natural attractions. Residents of Colchester enjoy all the beauty of the great outdoors with walks, cycling and hiking.

Information about the local residents

With its already relatively high population of 173,600, Colchester is one of Britain’s fastest growing towns. The ethnic makeup is predominantly white British, and a large proportion of Colchester’s residents fall in the 35-54 age range, are educated to at least degree level and own their own home either outright or by loan or mortgage. The median average household income in Colchester is £23,874, and 13% of dwellings in the town are rented as social housing.

Nearby schools

Colchester has many excellent primary schools to choose from, including the extremely well performing Queen Boudica Primary, Hamilton Primary and Millfields Primary schools, achieving 100%, 98% and 97% respectively in at least Key Stage 2 level 4 attainment.

Colchester has seven state-maintained secondary schools, most of which were rated ‘Satisfactory’ or above in a recent Ofsted inspection. Two of the schools received a ‘Good’ rating: The Gilberd School on Brinkley Lane and The Stanway School on Winstree Road. Colchester Royal Grammar School on Lexden Road was rated ‘Outstanding’ and currently serves 819 pupils. Colchester’s two independent secondary schools are Colchester High School and St Mary’s School for Girls.

Getting around

Colchester is well connected by several smaller roads leading out of town, with the A12 being the route of choice for longer travel. Colchester railway station is served by Greater Anglia along the London to Norwich line, offering frequent services between Colchester and London, Ipswich, Chelmsford and Norwich. Stansted Airport is only 50 minutes away from Colchester by car.

A good bus service, operating mostly from stations on Osborne Street and Stanwell Street, runs throughout town and provides links to the surrounding area.

Local shops

Colchester is full of shops, restaurants and things to see and do. As a result of its unique culture, heritage and character, the town has several museums, including the Colchester Castle Museum, Hollytrees Museum and Colchester Natural History Museum, as well as art galleries, live music bars and the annual Colchester Film Festival in October.

For shopping, Colchester offers both small independent stores and high street brand names. The Williams & Griffin department store is a Colchester landmark, with six floors of products ranging from fashion to furniture.

There are a variety of restaurants, pubs and bars in Colchester, but one worthy of particular mention is The Lemon Tree Restaurant, which is nestled inside the town’s historic wall.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.