Places to visit

Welcome to Chelmsford, the only city in Essex. With a rich heritage, beautiful green spaces, first-class sporting, leisure and arts facilities, shopping, dining and vibrant nightlife, there is definitely something for everyone.


The information in these pages will hopefully give you an introduction to just some of the things to see and do for every age and interest, and will help you make the most of your visit.


For full listings and details of places to visit take a look at Visit Chelmsford, which is packed with useful information from ideas for things to see and do, to how to get around. All that is left for you to do is enjoy Chelmsford!


If you want to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city centre, Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers has a wealth of superb parks, gardens, rural villages and open spaces to explore and enjoy. 


Relax and Unwind


With some 1,507 acres (610 hectares) of parks, many of which have been awarded Green Flag status, there are plenty of places to relax and unwind.


Venture further into the countryside and explore beautiful villages such as Pleshey with its castle mound, Stock with its windmill or the quiet appeal of Great Waltham and Writtle. If nature is your thing, Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre is well worth a visit, as is Lingwood Common, Blake's Wood and Galleywood Common. You could even go on an organised walk with our Heart and Sole Health Walks.


Situated on the River Can and the River Chelmer, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful countryside from the water. There is also an abundance of angling locations, including fishing lakes and Hanningfield Reservoir.


Whether you prefer to explore the area on two feet or two wheels, there is an abundance of cycleways and footpaths, including parts of the Essex Way, to discover. 


Go Sport Mad


Whether you like watching or playing, Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers have a huge variety of first-class sport and leisure facilities to choose from.


Enjoy a traditional game of cricket at the Ford County Cricket Ground, home of Essex County Cricket Club, or shout from the stands at a Chelmsford City football match. Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre offers the only ice skating rink in Essex, home to the Chelmsford Chieftains, while South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre offers an award-winning swimming pool and a climbing wall.


Chelmsford also has a huge variety of sports clubs, including angling, athletics, boxing, canoeing, martial arts, roller-skating and sailing.


In the surrounding countryside and villages, there are plenty of other activities to keep you on the go, including kayaking at Paper Mill Lock, horse-riding, hiking, clay-pigeon shooting and cycling or you could even relax with a round or two at one of Chelmsford's golf courses. 


Culture Vultures


If you're looking for a cultural fix, Chelmsford offers a huge range of entertainment and cultural events to enjoy.


With two theatres featuring a packed programme of drama, music, dance, comedy, amateur productions, children's theatre and film, there is plenty of entertainment on offer for all ages.


The original home of Turner Prize winning potter, Grayson Perry, Chelmsford is often host to a variety of travelling art exhibitions that can be viewed at Chelmsford Museum.


The city centre hosts many exciting events during the year, including the Christmas lights switch-on in November.


For music lovers, there is something to suit all tastes, whether it be enjoying a classical music recital in the ornate surroundings of Hylands House, or catching the hottest rock, pop and soul acts from around the world at the annual V Festival in Hylands Park. 


Chelmsford for Children


Whilst there are plenty of things to keep the adults busy, Chelmsford also offers a wide variety of activities to appeal to Little People too.


Chelmsford even has its own special festival designed especially for the under fives, The 3foot People Festival, with singing, dancing, puppet shows, crafts, story telling, strolling entertainers and a giant sand pit to enchant them.


Other great places to visit with children include Marsh Farm Country Park, Tropical Wings Butterfly and Bird Gardens, Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre and Ten-pin bowling alley.


To keep children active and healthy, the Council's four sports centres run a wide range of fun and energetic term-time and holiday courses. These include dance, trampolining, ice-skating, swimming, climbing, go-karts, football, gymnastics and athletics.


There is also a regular programme of workshops and activity days for children held at Hylands House and Chelmsford Museum covering everything from art and crafts to becoming a magician.