The Ultimate Guide to Living and Working in Colchester

Here is everything you need to know about Living in Colchester, use the list below to jump between the relevant sections!

Colchester insights
Colchester’s population
House price’s in Colchester
Is Colchester a nice place to live?
Is Colchester safe?
Landmarks and History
Travelling in Colchester
Eating and drinking in Colchester
Shopping in Colchester
Hotels in Colchester
Top 10 things to do in Colchester
Need a Locksmith in Colchester?

Colchester Insights

A historic market town settled in the county of Essex, Colchester lays claim as Britain’s oldest recorded town and for a short period was even the capital of Roman Britain but back then it was known as Camulodunum. As the first major Roman city, Emperor Claudius built a fortress on the highest ground and surrounding the town with a high Roman wall. Today the fortress is now the town centre, but the walls still remain and are now the oldest and longest remaining town walls in Britain.


The Population of Colchester

According to the latest recorded population for Colchester was mid 2020 where the population was estimated to be around 197,200 people 64% of the population are thought to be between 16-64 years old.


Colchester Crime Rates

Colchester has a higher than average crime rate of 92 crimes per 1000 people, which is 16% higher than Essex’s overall crime rate of 78 and just below the national average of 96.4.


Average House Price in Colchester

The average price for a property in Colchester is £333,734, according to Zoopla.

Property TypeCurrent Value
Detached House£480,845
Semi-Detached House£300,780
Terraced House£252,391


Rent Prices in Colchester

According to Home, you can expect to pay on average £1,249 per calendar month to rent in Colchester.

Property TypeAverage Rent (pcm)


The Best Places to Live in Colchester

Wivenhoe has become a popular place for those looking for more scenic areas and is increasingly popular with those who are looking to retire. Prices here do tend to be higher and at the top end of the Colchester average estimated values. If you were looking for a more central location there are a number of new build properties surrounding Colchester High Street and Exeter Drive that still come with a higher price tag but are more reasonable.


Is Colchester a Nice Place to Live?

Colchester is currently one of the fastest changing cities on the UK, and according to a 2019 survey, undertaken by Rightmove, it was voted one of the happiest places to live.

Colchester has an historic town centre, where you will find lots of unique boutiques and independent shops. There is also a good selection of cafes and restaurants within Colchester that will suit everyone’s taste. There are lots of family friendly activities in Colchester including Colchester Zoo, Family Heritage Treasure Trail and Fingringhoe Wick nature reserve. Colchester also hosts a number of different festivals including; the Essex Book Festival, NSPCC Book Fair for book lovers. There is the Rose and Horticultural Show for the gardening enthusiasts, as well as Colchester Food and Drink Festival for the foodies. If you are looking for something a bit more high-spirited then the Nearly Festival could be for you, it features great tribute acts and there is a family zone for those looking to take the kids.

Living in Colchester

Is Colchester a Safe Place to Live?

Colchester is known for its active nightlife, which means that crimes reported in the town centre might be higher than the crime rate than other areas. However, with a population less than 150,000 Colchester still has a small community feel.


School and Education in Colchester

In recent years, Colchester’s schools are thought to be vastly over subscribed meaning it can be quite competitive to enter some of the best schools in the area, and as home to a number of schools which have gained the outstanding rating from Ofsted.


Primary Schools

There are 2 primary schools in Colchester that have an outstanding rating from Ofsted, these include the St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary School and the Hamilton Primary School, both of which cater for children aged between 4-11.

Other notably well performing schools include the Kendall CofE Primary School and the St Lawrence CofE Primary School.


Secondary Schools

Colchester County High School for Girls is one of the best secondary schools in Colchester and has received an outstanding rating from Ofsted, likewise The Gilbert School has similar ratings.


The University of Essex

Named University of the Year in 2018, the university of Essex is one of the top schools in the UK and offers a wide range of courses covering varied specialities.


Landmarks and History

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo has over 200 species around 60 acres of parkland and lakes. As you explore the zoo, you will come across various habitats, the African plains and the warm home of the Komodo Dragon. There are plenty of undercover areas, so don’t let bad weather put you off. You can test your strength against an orangutan, and see if you can hang for as long as Rajang can. You are even able to feed the beautiful rainbow lorikeets in the walkthrough aviary. There are lots of food options, so you don’t need to bring your own, and you can pick up a souvenir in the gift shop.


This award-winning gallery and shows a diverse mix of historic, modern and contemporary art. This isn’t just your standard art gallery; you can experience art from around the world and immerse yourself in the rich artistic legacy from the East of England’s landscape and character. It’s open all year and there is no charge for admission, their slogan is true…Firstsite is for everyone.


Travelling in Colchester

Being only 52 miles from the country’s capital Colchester is known as a commuter town, meaning its transport links are strong. Colchester is connected to London by the A12 road, you can also get to London within an hour by getting the train, the Colchester railway station in on the Eastern Main Line. There are several trains to London every hour and you can catch them at one of Colchester’s three railway stations. There are several bus services in Colchester, there are regular local buses from the Colchester Bus Station. There are also regular nation express coaches going to London Victoria Station and Stanstead airport.

What’s it like to live in Colchester?


Eating and Drinking in Colchester

The Flag Burger

Don’t let the name fool you, there is a diverse menu that takes its inspiration from the flags of the world. All of the burgers aim to capture the flavour of its flag inspiration. They run a ‘special’ burger every month, previously the featured burger has been The English, which is basically a roast dinner in a bun!


Le Talbooth

The beautiful restaurant sits in a stunning position on the banks of the River Stour and is the flagship of Milsom Hotels & Restaurants. The listed building is beautiful and caters well for every season. In summer you can enjoy the terrace with is bold architectural sail. The Le Talbooth has been awarded 3 AA rosettes in 2019. You can enjoy lunch and dinner seven days a week, and there are several delicious set menus to choose from.


DOUGH&co Woodfired Pizza

This is the place for those who love fresh Italian pizzas. Using only the best ingredients sourced from Italy, with expert chefs making them, you’re not going to find better pizza in Colchester. They also deliver within a 7-mile radius, but if you want to sit in then you’ll find it has a modern, fresh atmosphere.


Find out more here


Shopping in Colchester

Along the many cobbled streets of Colchester, you’ll find shops housed in beautiful architecture. Home to many independent shops as well as high-street favourites, everyone will be able to find what they are looking for. You’ll find two department stores in Colchester, Debenhams and Fenwicks. Debenhams is located in Culver Square shopping centre, along with other smaller shops and cafes. Whereas Fenwick sits at the top of Colchester high-street, providing cosmetic counters, clothing brands and homeware accessories. There is also a shopping centre named Lions Walk, where you can find big shops like; Primark, River Island and Boots. If you are looking for more independent shops then pay Red Lion Walk a visit.


Hotels in Colchester

Five Lakes Resort

This impressive hotel is sat in 320 acres of beautiful countryside. You will find scenic views, and indoor pool and an 18-hole golf course. The rooms here are all large and feature flat-screen TVs, tea/coffee making facilities and select rooms have a view of the golf course. Each bathroom offers a bath as well as a shower and high-end toiletries. There is also a health club that has, a sauna, steam room, spa bath and a modern gym. The hotel is located 10-miles from Colchester and the airports are only an hour away. There is a bar and grill on site that features options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


St Nicholas Hotel

This hotel is only 1.6 miles away from Colchester Castle and 4.3 miles from the zoo, so is perfect for tourists. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, although private parking will cost you extra. Every room has a wardrobe, a desk and a flat screen TV. You are able to have breakfast, with a choice of full English or Irish options.



This hotel is only 200 yards from Colchester Castle and only 3.7 miles from Colchester Zoo, another good choice for those looking to see the sights. There is a 24-hour front desk meaning you can check in at any time and there is free Wi-Fi for every room. Each room features a flat screen TV, and free toiletries. For those who like a caffeine fix in the morning, there is a coffee machine in each room. You can get breakfast at the hotel with a choice of continental or buffet breakfast, as well as dinner which is British cuisine.


Top 10 Things to do in Colchester

  1. Colchester Zoo
  2. Colchester Castle
  3. Beth Chatto’s Plants & Gardens
  4. Castle Park
  5. St. Botolph’s Priory
  6. Roman Walls
  7. Colchester Arts Centre
  8. Dutch Quarter
  9. Firstsite
  10. Highwoods Country Park


Need a Locksmith in Colchester?

When moving into a new home changing the locks is vital as you never know how many keys are out there and risk the keys falling into the wrong hands. Arrange for a Colchester Locksmith to come and fit a new lock the day you get your keys to provide you with peace of mind. We at Keytek® Locksmiths Colchester provide a professional local mobile Locksmith service complying with British Standard and Home Insurance policies to ensure your home is as secure as can be! What’s more is all our customers benefit from a FREE home security check on site to ensure your home is as secure as can be!

There are many other things you need to consider when moving home so check out our Moving Home Checklist to help you along the way! Once your in consider improving the security of your home further still by checking out our Ultimate Guide to Home Security here!

View our Keytek® Locksmiths Colchester page to find your local Locksmith today or call us on 0131 297 2081!