Seven miles to the north of Braintree lies Halstead an attractive, traditional market town with a wealth of shops, restaurants and interesting walks. The town developed from pre-historic origins and a Roman settlement that included a villa complex.
Wool and weaving provided the mainstay of business over the centuries and the surviving Townsford Mill, which straddles the River Colne, was built in 1788. The mill is a picturesque reminder of the towns' industrial past and now holds one of the largest Antiques Centres on the Essex/Suffolk border and is the perfect location for shopping and lunching.
With a population of over 11,000, Halstead has grown steadily and it has several estates of modern houses as well as the expected amenities of 21st century life. Schools are of a high standard and local health facilities include a hospital and medical centre. Leisure opportunites, too are of a high standard with most sports catered for. There are several playing fields and a leisure centre and swimming pool. Clubs and organisations for all ages and interests can be found and the town's community spirit is typified by the Empire, a popular local theatre used for weekly bingo and live shows.
Halstead is a friendly place to visit with a wide variety of individual shops and a market, which was granted in 1251, is held on Fridays and Saturdays, all set on a steep High Street.
Halstead is an award winning town, in Anglia in Bloom 2010 Halstead was awarded GOLD and was also judged Best Town. This is an excellent result for Halstead, meaning this award has been won by Halstead for two years in a row! On 29th September Halstead was awarded a Silver Gilt certificate in the Britain in Bloom 2010 campaign. Of the 6 finalists in the 'Town' category only 1 gold award was given; this was a great result for Halstead at the first entry into this competition. Halstead was also given the RHS Britain in Bloom 'Local Roots' Award for the demonstration of pride in local historic roots given by the Halstead in Bloom team.