Chelmsford was awarded city status in 2012 and has lots to offer visitors from the Cathedral to formal gardens, majestic old houses and parks to sports centres and zoos. Below are details of just a few of these attractions.
Chelmsford Cathedral is a 15th century building close to the centre of the city and surrounded by superb gardens. Inside it is beautiful and compact and there are small tours available and much recitals.
Hyde Hall is maintained by the Royal Horticultural Society and is open all year round. Its around 10 kilometres outside the city and has lots of exhibitions and events to keep all the family happy. Particularly popular are the regular farmers markets held in the gardens but is is a lovely place to stroll around, have a picnic or sport local wildlife like brown hares.
Tropical Wings World of Wildlife is around 5 miles outside the city and is set in acres of well laid out gardens and features one of the largest butterfly houses in England. As well as free-flying butterflies in the butterfly house there are many species of birds such as parrots, owls and other birds of prey and insects and other animals like monkeys, goats, meerkats and various reptiles. There are daily programmes to encourage interaction with the wildlife. There is also a children’s play area and a large indoor interactive centre called the Discovery Kingdom.
Hylands House and Park is set in 574 acres of parkland and offers the chance for visitors to wander around the woods, lakes, ponds and gardens. You can also stroll around the magnificently restored old house and see the grand staircase, banqueting room, butlers pantry and wine cellar. There is also a Social History room with various exhibits on display and the cafe in the old courtyard off refreshments.
For the younger generation maybe not so interested in history, there is the adventure castle play area with a four metre high replica castle complete with drawbridge entrance. The playground has also been designed with disabled children in mind to provide musical stimulation and a cradle swing.
As well as providing a great day out for children and adults alike, it is also a wonderful place to take your dog and once of the most dog friendly places to visit in the area. You can get food or go to the toilet without having to leave your dog unattended – just ring a bell and someone will come to take your food order or use the disabled loo so there is room for you and your dog.
Another more unusual place to visit in the vicinity of Chelmsford is the Rayleigh Windmill. It is a popular place for weddings but the Grade II listed building can also be visited by the public and you can see the museum, exhibitions and learn all about Rayleigh Mount close by.
Even without a car many of these sites can easily be accessed using public transport or one of the many Chelmsford Taxis.