A Complete Guide for Living in Colchester

Are you considering moving to Colchester? Or perhaps you have recently relocated. To give you a helping hand, we at Holmwood House School  have created this guide to help you understand what it is like living in Colchester.

Colchester is a beautiful market town in Essex, and is the first city in Britain that was founded by the Romans. With a history going back over 2000 years, Colchester is a thriving place with plenty of things to do. It’s known for its ancient Roman heritage, including Colchester Castle, and offers a vibrant cultural scene, educational institutions, green spaces, shopping, and family-friendly attractions. The town’s combination of historical significance and modern amenities makes it an attractive destination and place to live.

According to the census, Colchester population grew 11.3% between 2011 and 2021, with many families choosing to settle and raise children in Colchester.


Discover more about Colchester below.


House Prices In Colchester


Area type: Non-Metropolitan District

Average Detached House Price: £192,424

Average Semi-Detached House Price: £323,695

Average Terraced House Price: £280,829

Average Flat Price: £181,279

Estate Agents in Colchester 

  1. Beresfords Estate agents 
  2. Leaders
  3. Haart Estate and lettings agents
  4. Palmer & Partners – Estate & Lettings Agent Colchester
  5. William h brown


What Makes Colchester A Great Place To Live?

Colchester is one of the fastest-growing cities in the UK and in 2019 the town was also named as one of the happiest places to live in Britain, according to a happy home index survey conducted by Rightmove.

Not only does it have a historic charm, there are strong connections to London Standstead airport and M25.


Schools in Colchester 

For those with children or who plan to start a family in the future, one of the most important considerations when moving to a new area is the quality of schools nearby.

In Colchester, there is a range of both state and private schools to choose from.

If you are considering an independent education for your child, Holmwood House offers high quality support and preparation for pupils seeking senior school entry at 11+ and 13+.

If you would like to come and see for yourself as to what makes Holmwood House such a wonderful place to learn and grow, please contact our Admissions Team to arrange a visit.


Transport links in Colchester


Train Services: Colchester has a well-connected railway station, Colchester North, also known as Colchester North Station. This station offers regular train services to London Liverpool Street, Ipswich, and other major cities in the region. It’s convenient for commuting to work or travelling to nearby areas.  

Road: Colchester is situated along the A12 and A120 roads, making it accessible by car. The A12 provides a direct route to London and connects to the M25 motorway, which allows for easy access to other parts of the country.

Bus Services: Colchester has  a comprehensive bus network that serves the town and its surrounding areas. You can use local buses for everyday commuting, including getting to schools and healthcare facilities.

Airport Access: If you need to travel by air, London Stansted Airport is the nearest major airport, located approximately 40 miles southwest of Colchester. It offers domestic and international flights.

Car Rental: Car rental services are available in Colchester, which can be useful for weekend trips or family vacations.

Ferry Services: Harwich International Port is located nearby, offering ferry services to continental Europe, including the Netherlands and Scandinavia. This can be relevant if you plan to travel to Europe with your family.


Things to do in Colchester 

  1. Colchester Castle: Explore the historic Colchester Castle, the largest Norman keep in Europe. It houses an interactive museum showcasing the town’s rich history.
  2. Colchester Zoo: Spend a day at Colchester Zoo, home to over 260 species of animals. It’s a great family-friendly destination. 
  3. Mersea Island: Visit nearby Mersea Island, known for its beaches, seafood, and picturesque landscapes. It’s a lovely spot for a day trip.
  4. High Woods Country Park: Enjoy nature at High Woods Country Park, with walking trails, a lake, and picnic areas. It’s a perfect place for family outings. 
  5. Hollytrees Museum: Explore the Hollytrees Museum, which offers insights into Colchester’s history and features period rooms and art collections.


Places to eat in Colchester 

There are plenty of restaurants and places to eat in Colchester.

  1. The George Hotel Brasserie: Enjoy British and European cuisine in a historic setting at The George Hotel Brasserie. It’s known for its fine dining experience and a variety of dishes.
  2. Tymperleys: Experience traditional British dining at Tymperleys, located in a charming Tudor building. They offer a diverse menu, including afternoon tea options.
  3. Le Talbooth: Located in nearby Dedham, Le Talbooth is a riverside restaurant offering modern British cuisine with a French twist. It’s known for its beautiful views and high-quality dining.
  4. The Den at 23: This cozy eaterey in the heart of Colchester serves a variety of dishes, including vegan and vegetarian options. It’s a great spot for brunch or lunch.
  5. The Old Siege House Bar and Brasserie: Enjoy a meal at this historic brasserie, offering a range of British and international dishes. It’s situated in a 15th-century building.
  6. Boadicea Bar & Restaurant: Boadicea offers modern British cuisine in a stylish setting. They focus on using locally sourced ingredients to create delicious dishes.
  7. The Minories: This historic building houses a restaurant serving British and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. It’s known for its seasonal menu and art exhibitions.


Where to go shopping in Colchester


  1. Lion Walk Shopping Centre: Lion Walk Shopping Centre is located in the heart of Colchester and offers a wide range of shops, including high-street brands, fashion boutiques, and eateries. It’s a convenient place for shopping and dining.
  2. Culver Square: Adjacent to Lion Walk, Culver Square is another shopping complex featuring a mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a popular spot for both shopping and leisure.
  3. St. Johns Shopping Centre: St. Johns Shopping Centre is home to various retailers, including fashion, electronics, and more. It’s a great place to find a variety of products in one location.
  4. Red Lion Yard: Located near the town center, Red Lion Yard offers a mix of independent shops, boutiques, and eateries. It’s known for its unique shopping experience.
  5. Charter Hall Market: Charter Hall hosts regular markets and events, including vintage and craft fairs. It’s an excellent place to discover unique and locally crafted items.
  6. High Street: Colchester’s High Street is lined with various shops, including well-known brands and independent stores. It’s a bustling shopping district in the town center.
  7. Crouch Street: Crouch Street is another popular shopping area with boutique stores, art galleries, and places to grab a coffee or snack. It offers a more relaxed shopping experience.


Sports and Entertainment 

In Colchester, there are plenty of sporting and entertainment activities to keep your family busy in your spare time.

  1. Rollerworld: Rollerworld offers roller skating fun for all ages. They have special sessions suitable for families, making it a great place for parents and kids to enjoy some active entertainment.
  2. Colchester Leisure World: Leisure World is a large leisure center with a swimming pool, ice rink, fitness facilities, and a soft play area for children. It’s a versatile destination for family entertainment.
  3. Jump Street Trampoline Park: Jump Street offers trampolining activities for both kids and adults. They have dedicated toddler sessions, making it a safe and fun option for young children.
  4. Tenpin Colchester: Tenpin is a family-friendly bowling alley with arcade games and a restaurant. It’s a great place for a fun family outing.
  5. Abbey Field Sports and Community Centre: This center offers a range of sports facilities, including tennis courts, a gym, and a sports hall. They also host various fitness classes and activities suitable for parents. 
  6. Odeon Colchester: If you’re looking for a family-friendly cinema experience, Odeon Colchester is a popular choice, showing the latest movies suitable for all ages.
  7. Mercury Theatre: The Mercury Theatre in Colchester offers a variety of family-friendly productions, including children’s shows and pantomimes. It’s a great place to introduce your child to the world of theater.
  8. Gosfield Lake Resort: Located just outside Colchester, Gosfield Lake Resort offers a range of water sports activities, including paddleboarding and kayaking. It’s a fun outdoor option for families.



Parks in Colchester

If you enjoy stunning architecture and love exploring through nature, then have a look at this list of parks in Colchester.

  1. Castle Park: Castle Park is one of Colchester’s most famous parks, located in the heart of the town. It features beautiful gardens, a large children’s play area, and the historic Colchester Castle.
  2. High Woods Country Park: High Woods Country Park is a large nature reserve on the outskirts of Colchester. It offers walking and cycling trails, woodlands, and a lake.
  3. Lower Castle Park: This is an extension of Castle Park and offers more green space, a boating lake, and beautiful river views.
  4. Abbey Field: Abbey Field is a peaceful park with open spaces, gardens, and a children’s playground. It’s a great spot for a leisurely stroll. Search for more details online.
  5. Bourne Mill: While not a traditional park, Bourne Mill is a historic watermill surrounded by picturesque gardens and a pond. It’s a lovely place for a tranquil visit.


Nurseries in Colchester 

There are many nurseries in Colchester and here at Holmwood House, we have our own nursery called Holmwood House Nursery. We welcome children from six months to four years old, where they are supported, nurtured and nourished by a dedicated team of highly experienced staff.

To find out more, click here.


Looking for a Prep School in Colchester?

If you are looking for an excellent co-educational prep school aged 6 months – 16 in Colchester, then please do come by and say hello!

We are excited to meet you and show you around our school.  To book a personalised tour, please see the visit us page.








Holmwood House Nursery

151 Coach Road, Great Horkesley,
Essex CO6 4DX
T: (01206) 273 827
E: nurserymanager@holmwood.house


Holmwood House School

Chitts Hill, Lexden,
Essex CO3 9ST
T: (01206) 574305
E: office@holmwood.house