15 Best Things To Do In Chelmsford, England

15 Best Things To Do In Chelmsford, England

By will

Chelmsford, England, a vibrant city located in the heart of Essex, offers a plethora of exciting activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the historical landmarks to immersing yourself in the local culture, there is something for everyone in this bustling city.

In this article, I will highlight the 15 best things to do in Chelmsford, allowing you to make the most of your time in this charming destination.

One of the must-visit attractions in Chelmsford is the iconic Chelmsford Cathedral. With its stunning architecture and rich history dating back to the 12th century, the cathedral is a sight to behold. Take a leisurely stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens surrounding the cathedral and step inside to marvel at the intricate stained glass windows and impressive organ.

Another must-see is Hylands House and Park, a grand stately home set amidst picturesque grounds. Explore the opulent rooms of the house and take a peaceful walk through the park, admiring the serene lake and vibrant flower displays. Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate beautiful surroundings, Chelmsford has it all.

Explore Chelmsford Cathedral

Chelmsford Cathedral
Photo by Christopher Hilton

If you’re looking for a truly captivating experience, you should definitely explore Chelmsford Cathedral and immerse yourself in its rich history and stunning architecture.

As soon as you step foot inside this magnificent cathedral, you can’t help but be in awe of its grandeur.

The soaring ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, and ornate decorations all contribute to the sense of wonder that envelops you.

Built in the 15th century, Chelmsford Cathedral is steeped in history.

As you wander through its hallowed halls, you can’t help but feel a connection to the past.

The cathedral has witnessed centuries of worship, and its walls seem to hold the echoes of prayers and hymns from generations gone by.

The beautifully carved stone work and delicate statues tell stories of devotion and faith that are truly inspiring.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate stunning architecture, Chelmsford Cathedral is a must-see attraction that will leave a lasting impression on you.

Visit Hylands House and Park

Hylands House
Photo by Tom Curtis

Located in Chelmsford, I can’t help but be captivated by the enchanting beauty of Hylands House and Park.

This stunning Georgian mansion is surrounded by 574 acres of meticulously landscaped gardens and parkland, offering a tranquil and picturesque escape from the bustling city.

As I stroll through the park, I am greeted by sweeping lawns, majestic trees, and serene lakes, creating a truly idyllic setting.

Hylands House itself is a sight to behold. With its grand architecture and elegant interiors, it’s a testament to the opulence of the past.

Exploring the rooms, I am transported back in time to a bygone era, admiring the exquisite period furniture and intricate detailing.

The house also hosts a variety of exhibitions and events, showcasing art and culture from different eras. It truly is a place where history comes to life.

But it’s not just the house that makes Hylands so special. The park offers an abundance of activities for visitors to enjoy.

From picnicking on the lush green lawns to taking leisurely walks through the woodland, there is something for everyone.

I particularly love the beautifully restored formal gardens, with their vibrant flower beds and perfectly manicured hedges.

It’s the perfect spot to relax and soak in the natural beauty.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, a visit to Hylands House and Park is a must when in Chelmsford.

It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in history, marvel at stunning architecture, and reconnect with nature all in one breathtaking location.

Discover the History at Chelmsford Museum

Chelmsford City Museum
Photo by John Myers

When you step foot inside Chelmsford Museum, get ready to embark on a journey through time and uncover the captivating history of this fascinating city.

The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the rich heritage of Chelmsford. From ancient Roman pottery to medieval weaponry, there is something for everyone to explore and learn about.

One of the standout exhibits at the museum is the collection of archaeological finds from the Roman period. As you wander through the displays, you can marvel at the intricate mosaic floors, admire the delicate pottery, and even imagine what life was like in a Roman villa.

The museum also houses a fascinating collection of local artwork, including paintings and sculptures that depict the changing landscape of Chelmsford over the years.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum also offers interactive activities and workshops that allow visitors to engage with the history of the city in a hands-on way. Whether it’s trying your hand at ancient crafts or participating in a historical reenactment, there is plenty to keep both children and adults entertained.

So, if you’re looking to delve into the past and discover the hidden stories of Chelmsford, a visit to the Chelmsford Museum is a must-do activity.

Take a Walk Along the River Can

As I stroll along the River Can, the tranquil waters guide me through the heart of Chelmsford, offering a serene escape from the bustling city life.

The riverbank is lined with beautiful trees and vibrant flowers, creating a picturesque setting that invites me to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

The River Can is not only a place of natural beauty, but it also holds historical significance for the city.

Along the river, I come across several landmarks that tell the story of Chelmsford’s past.

One such landmark is the Old Pump House, a charming Victorian building that used to supply water to the town.

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Its elegant architecture and quaint surroundings make it a perfect spot for a peaceful moment of reflection.

Continuing my walk, I pass by the scenic Central Park, where I can see families enjoying picnics and children playing.

The park’s well-maintained gardens and open spaces provide a pleasant contrast to the urban landscape.

As I walk further, I reach the Riverside Inn, a charming riverside pub that offers a relaxing atmosphere and stunning views of the river.

It’s a perfect place to stop for a refreshing drink or a delicious meal while soaking in the natural beauty around me.

As I reach the end of my stroll along the River Can, I can’t help but feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

The tranquility of the river and the beauty of the surrounding landscape have provided me with a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply in need of some peaceful moments, taking a walk along the River Can is a must-do when visiting Chelmsford.

Enjoy a Shopping Spree at High Chelmer Shopping Centre

Indulge in a shopping extravaganza at the High Chelmer Shopping Centre, where you can find an array of trendy stores and unique boutiques to satisfy your retail cravings.

This bustling shopping center is a shopaholic’s paradise, offering a wide range of options for fashion, accessories, electronics, homeware, and more. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant atmosphere and a plethora of stores to explore.

High Chelmer Shopping Centre boasts an impressive selection of high street brands, including popular favorites like H&M, Topshop, and Zara. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or timeless classics, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

The center also houses a variety of independent boutiques, where you can discover unique pieces and support local businesses. From quirky jewelry to handmade crafts, these boutiques offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

Aside from the fantastic shopping opportunities, the High Chelmer Shopping Centre also provides a range of dining options. Take a break from browsing and refuel at one of the many cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the center. Grab a quick coffee and pastry, enjoy a leisurely lunch, or treat yourself to a delicious dinner – the choice is yours.

Whether you’re a dedicated shopper or simply enjoy browsing, a visit to the High Chelmer Shopping Centre is a must-do when in Chelmsford. With its diverse range of stores and lively atmosphere, you’re bound to have an enjoyable and fulfilling shopping experience.

Attend a Performance at the Civic Theatre

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of live performances by attending a show at the Civic Theatre.

Located in the heart of Chelmsford, the Civic Theatre is a cultural hub that offers a diverse range of performances throughout the year. From gripping dramas to hilarious comedies and mesmerizing musicals, there is something to suit every taste and preference.

Stepping into the Civic Theatre is like entering a different realm altogether. The atmosphere is electric, with anticipation and excitement palpable in the air. The theater itself is beautifully designed, with comfortable seating that ensures a great view from every angle.

Whether you’re a theater enthusiast or just looking for a memorable night out, the Civic Theatre guarantees an unforgettable experience.

The performances at the Civic Theatre are top-notch, featuring talented actors, impressive sets, and stunning costumes. You’ll find yourself completely engrossed in the story unfolding before your eyes, as the actors bring characters to life with their incredible performances.

The theater also hosts a variety of shows, ranging from classic plays to contemporary productions, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to see.

Attending a performance at the Civic Theatre is not just about the show itself, but also about the sense of community and togetherness that it fosters. You’ll be surrounded by fellow theater lovers, sharing in the joy and appreciation of live performances.

So, whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, or musicals, make sure to check out the Civic Theatre during your visit to Chelmsford. It’s an experience that will leave you spellbound and longing for more.

Explore the Tropics at Tropical Wings Zoo

Take a walk on the wild side and discover the wonders of the tropics at Tropical Wings Zoo. This incredible zoo is home to a wide variety of exotic animals, giving visitors the chance to get up close and personal with creatures they may have only seen in books or on television.

As soon as you step foot inside, you’ll be transported to a tropical paradise, surrounded by lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and the sounds of birds chirping in the distance.

One of the highlights of Tropical Wings Zoo is the walkthrough aviary, where you can stroll through a stunning display of tropical birds in their natural habitat. As you meander along the winding paths, you’ll catch glimpses of brilliantly colored parrots, graceful flamingos, and playful macaws. The experience is truly immersive, as the birds fly freely overhead and may even land on your shoulder if you’re lucky. It’s a magical experience that’ll leave you in awe of the beauty and diversity of these magnificent creatures.

In addition to the birds, Tropical Wings Zoo is also home to a wide variety of animals, including meerkats, lemurs, reptiles, and even the elusive red panda. You can watch the meerkats scurry about, observe the lemurs as they swing from branch to branch, and marvel at the incredible patterns and colors of the reptiles.

The zoo is dedicated to conservation and education, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the animals and their natural habitats. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a fun day out, a visit to Tropical Wings Zoo is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Take a Boat Ride on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

After exploring the exotic wildlife at Tropical Wings Zoo, I was ready for a change of pace. That’s when I discovered the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the picturesque beauty of Chelmsford – taking a boat ride on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation.

As I stepped onto the boat, I immediately felt a sense of tranquility wash over me. The calm waters of the river gently carried us along, while the lush greenery on either side created a serene backdrop. The boat ride allowed me to appreciate the natural beauty of Chelmsford in a unique and relaxing way.

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I could see ducks gliding gracefully through the water and colorful wildflowers blooming along the riverbanks. It was a truly enchanting experience.

Not only did the boat ride offer a peaceful escape, but it also provided interesting insights into the history of the area. The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation is a historic canal, dating back to the late 18th century.

Along the way, our knowledgeable guide shared fascinating stories about the canal’s role in transporting goods and the impact it had on the local economy. It was like stepping back in time and getting a glimpse into Chelmsford’s past.

Whether you’re looking for a moment of serenity or a chance to learn about the history of Chelmsford, a boat ride on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation is a must-do activity.

It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, admire the beauty of the surroundings, and gain a deeper appreciation for the town’s rich heritage.

So next time you find yourself in Chelmsford, hop on a boat and let the gentle river currents guide you through this hidden gem of England.

Experience the Thrills at Chelmsford City Racecourse

For a thrilling experience like no other, get ready to feel the adrenaline rush at Chelmsford City Racecourse. As a horse racing enthusiast, I can confidently say that this racecourse is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys the sport.

Located in the heart of Chelmsford, England, this venue offers an incredible atmosphere and top-notch racing action. The Chelmsford City Racecourse boasts a state-of-the-art all-weather track, making it one of the most prestigious racing venues in the country.

Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or simply a spectator looking for an exciting day out, this racecourse has something for everyone. The grandstands provide excellent views of the track, allowing you to witness the exhilarating races up close. The roar of the crowd, the thunder of hooves, and the intense competition create an electrifying atmosphere that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

From flat racing to jump racing, Chelmsford City Racecourse hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience filled with adrenaline-pumping action, head to Chelmsford City Racecourse and prepare to be amazed.

Play a Round of Golf at Channels Golf Club

Get ready to tee off and experience the thrill of playing a round of golf at Channels Golf Club in the heart of Chelmsford.

As a golf enthusiast, I can confidently say that this place is a haven for any golfer seeking an unforgettable experience. From the moment you step onto the course, you’ll be captivated by the stunning views that surround you.

The lush green fairways, dotted with strategically placed bunkers and water hazards, create a picturesque backdrop that adds to the excitement of the game.

Channels Golf Club is not just visually appealing; it also offers a challenging course that will put your skills to the test. Each hole is thoughtfully designed to provide a unique and enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your swing or a seasoned pro seeking a new challenge, this course has something for everyone. The well-maintained greens and fairways ensure a smooth and enjoyable game, while the undulating terrain adds an extra layer of difficulty.

So grab your clubs, head to Channels Golf Club, and get ready for an unforgettable round of golf that will leave you wanting to come back for more.

Relax and Unwind at Admirals Park

Indulge in some much-needed relaxation and unwind at Admirals Park, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of Chelmsford and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of nature.

This picturesque park offers a peaceful retreat from the city, with its lush greenery, tranquil ponds, and winding pathways.

As you stroll through the park, you’ll be surrounded by vibrant flower beds, towering trees, and the gentle sound of birdsong.

It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely walk or find a quiet spot to sit and read a book.

In addition to its natural beauty, Admirals Park also offers a range of amenities to enhance your experience.

There are picnic areas where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch with family and friends, as well as a children’s play area to keep the little ones entertained.

If you’re feeling more active, you can make use of the park’s tennis courts or basketball court.

There’s even a skate park for those who enjoy rollerblading or skateboarding.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or a fun-filled day out, Admirals Park has something for everyone.

So why not take a break from the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this beautiful oasis?

Enjoy Live Music at the Bassment Music Venue

After a peaceful stroll through Admirals Park, I found myself in need of some lively entertainment. Luckily, I discovered the Bassment Music Venue, a hidden gem in Chelmsford that offers an incredible live music experience.

As soon as I stepped inside, I was greeted by the vibrant atmosphere and the infectious energy of the crowd. The intimate setting of the venue created an immersive experience, allowing me to feel connected to the music and the artists performing on stage.

The Bassment Music Venue hosts a diverse range of music genres, catering to all tastes and preferences. From soulful jazz to foot-tapping blues, there was something for everyone to enjoy. The talented musicians showcased their skills with passion and enthusiasm, captivating the audience with their mesmerizing performances.

Whether you’re a die-hard music enthusiast or simply looking for a fun night out, the Bassment Music Venue is the perfect place to indulge in live music and create unforgettable memories.

As I sipped on a refreshing drink from the bar, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the staff. They were friendly, attentive, and ensured that every guest had a fantastic experience. The acoustics in the venue were top-notch, allowing the music to resonate beautifully and fill the room with an electrifying ambiance.

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The Bassment Music Venue truly exceeded my expectations, providing a haven for music lovers in Chelmsford. So, if you’re in the mood for an unforgettable night of live music, make sure to check out this hidden gem and let the rhythm carry you away.

Visit the Essex Police Museum and Experience

When you step into the Essex Police Museum, prepare to be transported back in time and immersed in the rich history of law enforcement. Located in Chelmsford, England, this unique museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Essex Police force.

As you enter the museum, you are greeted by a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the evolution of policing in the region. From the early days of the force to the modern techniques and technologies used today, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges and triumphs faced by the Essex Police over the years.

One of the highlights of the museum is the opportunity to experience what it was like to be a police officer in the past. You can step into a replica Victorian police cell and get a sense of the conditions that officers worked in during that time. The museum also features a range of uniforms, equipment, and vehicles that have been used throughout the history of the force. From handcuffs and truncheons to police cars and motorcycles, these artifacts give you a real sense of the tools and resources available to officers throughout the years.

In addition to the exhibits, the Essex Police Museum also offers a range of interactive displays and activities for visitors of all ages. You can test your detective skills by solving a crime scene puzzle or try your hand at fingerprint analysis. The museum also hosts regular events and workshops, giving visitors the chance to learn more about the work of the police force and the challenges they face in keeping communities safe.

Whether you have a personal interest in law enforcement or simply want to learn more about the history of policing, a visit to the Essex Police Museum is a must-do when in Chelmsford.

Take a Trip to the Essex Regiment Museum

After visiting the fascinating Essex Police Museum and experiencing the rich history of law enforcement in Chelmsford, I was eager to delve further into the city’s past. That’s when I decided to take a trip to the Essex Regiment Museum, an absolute gem for history enthusiasts like myself.

Located in the heart of Chelmsford, the Essex Regiment Museum offers a captivating journey through the military history of the county. As soon as I stepped through the doors, I was greeted by an impressive collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia that showcased the bravery and sacrifice of the Essex Regiment soldiers.

From World War I to the present day, the museum chronicles the regiment’s involvement in various conflicts, providing a comprehensive overview of their contributions to the nation’s defense.

One of the highlights of my visit was exploring the recreated trenches, which gave me a glimpse into the harsh conditions endured by soldiers during World War I. As I walked through the narrow, muddy passageways, I could almost feel the weight of history pressing upon me.

The museum’s knowledgeable staff were also on hand to provide insightful commentary and answer any questions I had, further enhancing my understanding of the regiment’s role in shaping Chelmsford’s history.

Whether you have a keen interest in military history or simply want to gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who served, a trip to the Essex Regiment Museum is an absolute must when in Chelmsford.

Explore the Beautiful Gardens at Writtle University College

Immerse yourself in the tranquility and natural beauty of Writtle University College’s stunning gardens, a hidden oasis waiting to be discovered.

As I strolled through the lush green pathways, I was captivated by the enchanting sights and fragrant scents that surrounded me. The gardens at Writtle University College are a true testament to the beauty of nature, offering a peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

With its sprawling lawns, vibrant flower beds, and charming water features, the gardens provide a delightful escape for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts alike. The carefully manicured hedges and intricate topiaries add a touch of elegance to the surroundings, creating a sense of serenity and tranquility.

As I wandered through the different sections of the gardens, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the variety of plant species on display. From colorful blooms to exotic trees, there was always something new and exciting to discover.

One of the highlights of my visit was the stunning rose garden, where hundreds of different rose varieties were in full bloom. The intoxicating scent filled the air, creating a truly magical atmosphere. I found myself drawn to the vibrant colors and intricate patterns of each individual rose. It was a feast for the senses, and I couldn’t help but spend some time admiring the beauty of these delicate flowers.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or simply appreciate the wonders of nature, the gardens at Writtle University College are a must-visit. Lose yourself in the beauty of this hidden gem and reconnect with the natural world.


In conclusion, Chelmsford, England offers a variety of exciting and enriching activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the stunning Chelmsford Cathedral and its rich history, to strolling along the picturesque River Can, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

One of the highlights of Chelmsford is the Hylands House and Park, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and discover the grandeur of the historic house.

The Chelmsford Museum is also a must-visit, providing a fascinating insight into the city’s past.

For those who enjoy shopping, the High Chelmer Shopping Centre offers a range of stores and boutiques to fulfill your retail therapy desires. And if you’re a music lover, the Bassment Music Venue is the place to be, with its lively atmosphere and live performances.

In addition, the Essex Police Museum and the Essex Regiment Museum offer unique experiences, allowing visitors to learn more about the history and heritage of the region. And if you’re in need of tranquility, the beautiful gardens at Writtle University College provide the perfect escape.

Overall, Chelmsford is a city that combines history, culture, and entertainment, making it an ideal destination for a memorable and fulfilling visit. So why not plan your trip to Chelmsford today and experience all that this wonderful city has to offer? You won’t be disappointed.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.