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Fantastic news people living in Chelmsford. To mark this year's Diamond Jubilee, Her Majesty's Cabinet Office has declared that as of 14 March 2012, Chelmsford is a City!

The county town of Essex, has much to offer the visitor; with an abundance of things to see and do locally, it also provides an ideal base from which to explore. Situated in the heart of Essex, Chelmsford is only 35 minutes from central London by train or a 30-minute drive from Stansted.

A pedestrianised High Street links High Chelmer and The Meadows, the two main undercover shopping areas, to create one of the best shopping centres in Essex. Add to this the international restaurants, cafes, wine bars and pubs (some with live music), and the appeal of Chelmsford is obvious. Situated in the heart of the town centre is the country's historic 15th century Cathedral.

In its history Chelmsford has played host to a number of famous figures; Charles Dickens, the Duke of Wellington, Oliver Goldsmith and Guglielmo Marconi all feature and are commemorated around the town on ‘Blue Plaques'. Hylands House is a beautiful Grade II* listed neo-classical villa, set in over 500 acres of Hylands Park. Inside rooms restored to their appearance during the Georgian and early Victorian periods may be viewed. A full programme of events takes place in the House and adjacent Pleasure Gardens. Hylands Park is the perfect backdrop for the renowned ‘V' concerts that have provided the best of contemporary rock and pop music live over one weekend in August each year since 1996. Chelmsford also hosts many other exciting events during the year including ESSEXstreetdiversions - a free festival of international street theatre, The 3foot People Festival - days of wonder for pre-school children and the Fling - A festival of assorted amusements for adults. Click here for more information on other Chelmsford events.

Further attractions include the Essex County Cricket Club, Chelmsford Museum in Oaklands Park, and other parks with riverside walks and special play areas for children. Picturesque villages each with their own charm and history surround Chelmsford. Chignall St James and Chignall Smealey have delightful cottages revealing traditional Essex plasterwork; Pleshey has thatched cottages and a castle mound; Writtle has its traditional village pond and internationally renowned agricultural college. Great Waltham is where Tudor chimneys grace the beautifully restored Guildhall on the edge of the churchyard.

For the walker the Essex Way, linking Epping with Harwich, passes through rural Chelmsford. Along the route countryside inns and pubs enable rest and refuelling for the onward journey. Boating enthusiasts will find the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation provides a unique view of rural Essex from the water. Barges and narrow boats may be hired for trips along the tranquil waterways amidst largely unspoilt countryside.

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Map reference: TL 710065  Lat: 51.73604 Long: 0.47977