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Let’s take a day trip to Chelmsford!

Looking for a top-notch day trip just outside of London? Discover 12 of the best things to do in Chelmsford in our carefully-curated Muddy guide. You’re welcome…

Brimming with beauty spots, indie shops, cool eateries and culture, this buzzy Essex city has something for everyone. Where to first?

Grab a coffee @ Driink

A hidden gem that only locals-in-the know, well, know about. If, like me, a Costas just doesn’t cut it (yes, my name is Lianne and I am a coffee snob) then this trendy artisan coffee shop on Baddow Road will be right up your street. Expect exposed light bulbs, warehouse-style furniture, locally-roasted coffee and latte art that could rival the London set.

Get your shop on @ Number Six

Oh, we love an indie fashion shop and this cool little store on Can Bridge Way is brimming with the latest sartorial must-haves (globally-sourced by the staff themselves). From Diane Von Furstenberg to Anine Bing, the brands are big (aka a little on the pricey side) and contemporary – perfect if you’re looking for something a bit special or unique. Plus, the staff are super-friendly so you don’t have to worry about any pretentious Pretty Woman moments. If you know, you know…

Stop in for brunch @ ACanteen

Ok, this might not be breaking news for Chelmsfordians but it really does serve up one of the best brunches in the city (in this Muddy Editor’s humble opinion). Order the Nutella, Banana and Praline French Toast – trust me, it’s as delicious as it sounds. Good to know? It’s Chelmsford’s largest indy deli and café, which means there’s loads of space for prams, high chairs and those all-important shopping bags.

Head to Bond Street

Fancy perusing some fine art while you’re in town? Make a bee line for White Wall Galleries or Clarendon Fine Art in shopping hub Bond Street. Or, there’s the trendy Everyman cinema – complete with sofa service – if you fancy an afternoon flick. You can also hit high street favourites John Lewis, Whistles, The White Company and Oliver Bonas (to name a few). Not forgetting London Grace for a mani and the lovely Tiptree Tearoom for a cuppa.

Book a blow dry @ MACK

Visiting with the girls? Treat yourselves to a bouncy blow dry at this award-winning salon on trendy Moulsham Street. Run by husband-and-wife team Andrew and Tina, it’s buzzy atmosphere makes it the perfect place for some all-important girl time. Unlimited coffee included, of course.

Grab a bite @ Polignano Deli & Coffee Shop

A little slice of Italy in Essex. Ok, it might not quite be Puglia but it is a super-cute spot for lunch away from the crowds – especially if you nab a seat outside in the sunshine. Tucked away on Can Bridge Way, this family-run deli serves up amazing homemade pizzas and pasta dishes (the Ravioli Burro e Salvia is my fav FYI). Not forgetting the ridiculously good Sicilian cannolis. Delizioso!

Visit Hylands House

One for the stately home lovers. From pristine lawns and manicured gardens (complete with ducks and dancing water fountains) to wild woodland walks, this grade II listed country park is something us locals are pretty smug, ahem, proud of. Of course, there’s the giant wooden play area for the sprogs and cute cafés for refuelling but the real show-stopper is the elegant Neo-Classical villa, which plays hosts to fabulous weddings and an equally fabulous afternoon tea every third Sunday of the month. Check the website before visiting for lots more brilliant-ness: think artisan markets, workshops and outdoor cinema nights.

Don’t fancy hopping in the car? Head to Central Park for riverside walks, a top playground and pooch-friendly café.

Book tickets to Chelmsford Museum

Sitting pretty in the heart of Oakland’s Park, Chelmsford Museum is a great place to swat up on some local knowledge past and present. Kiddos will love the woolly mammoth (for real-life Ice Age vibes) and Anglo Saxon displays as well as the nature trails and wooden play area outside. For military buffs, it is also home to the Essex Regiment Museum. In need of a caffeine fix after all that fact finding? Head to The Hive café which, brilliantly, has been built into the drawing room of a stunning Victorian House with views out onto the rose garden.

Pop into Sonia @ 48

Dinky but downright gorgeous, this small village store in leafy Writtle (just an 8 minute drive from the city centre) is a treasure trove for one-of-a-kind gifts and goodies. Think locally-designed handbags, cool candles and quirky homeware. Plus, its neighbour just happens to be chic tearoom Robyn’s Nest, which is definitely worth a visit, too – as is the village green and duck pond across the road. Cute.

Grab a cocktail @ newbie Fête

A Porn Star Martini with your pooch? Erm, I’m there. Dog-friendly Fête has just opened up again on Grays Yard (much to the locals delight) and is shaping up to be one of the city’s coolest spots to dine and drink. Definitely worth a visit.

Or, if your hubby is after a craft ale then swing by the UB pub on Moulsham Street.

Plan a date night @ The Wine Cellar

One for the lovers. If you’re visiting without sprogs or dogs in tow, then this intimate bar and bistro is a lovely spot if you’ve come over all romantic. Tucked away down a spiral staircase on Duke Street, its cosy, candle-lit tables are great for a glass of fizz or two. Hand holding optional.

Dine in style @ Galvin Green Man

Ok, it might not be smack bang in the city centre but you can’t come to Chelmsford and not visit this award-winning pub. Just outside the picturesque village of Great Waltham (about an 18 minute drive), this beautifully refurbished pub and restaurant serves up some of the best gourmet grub in Essex. And, it really is gorgeous thanks to a floor-to-ceiling window wall, cosy leather banquettes and 14th century character details from its previous life. Oh, and did we mention it was named The Best Pub in the UK in the National Pub and Bar Awards 2021? Book ahead to avoid disappointment!

Want to stay more central? Book into The New London for elegant interiors and fine dining.

Have I missed one of your favourite Chelmsford haunts? Let me know in the comments box!

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