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Living in Colchester
The Colchester campus of the University of Essex is perched just on its edge, in some beautiful countryside. It’s a good sized town with a military garrison and a very good zoo!
There’s easily enough shopping to get you by, the Lion Walk and Culver Square centres are the hotspots for shopaholics, with forty big names shops under one roof. For the less picky, the surrounding high street area between Southway and Castle Park is where you’ll find the rest of your shops, including a market along Culvert Street at the end of the week.
There is a modest nightlife in Colchester, largely because of the fact that the university is on the edge of town and has a lot of its own clubs on the premises, but those willing to venture into Colchester town centre will find a selection of clubs and bars including student favourites Karma and Liquid. There’s an Odeon cinema here, and a couple of theatres. The Mercury is the bigger one, drawing tours, bands and popular comedians, while the Headgate Theatre is a bit more intimate. The CMPALive! venue at the Colchester Institute hosts live gigs from across the performing arts, so their yearly lineup can include anything from classical music to rock, opera to musicals.
Colchester also has a castle which, as well as the usual entry, offers tours of the Roman vaults beneath the building. The park around it is a nice place for a picnic or game of football, and behind the castle is a big slope that’s very popular with student sledgers in the winter, so bring a toboggan or a tea tray with you just in case. Just remember to stop sliding before you reach the river at the bottom!
- That zoo we mentioned: Colchester zoo is is a big one, everyone should visit at least once.
- London: Colchester sits on the A12 leading into London so getting to the big city for a day out is easy.
- Beach: Your nearest good beach is as Southwold, which is famous for it’s soft golden sand and is about 90mins away by car. If you’re not so fussy and have less time you could head to busy seaside town Clacton-on-sea or the more isolated Mersea Island.
Good to know
- Bus: Buses run from campus to town every 15mins, so you don’t have a to walk (although it’s only two miles, and you could if you wanted.) There’s also a 20min bus that goes to the train station
- Taxi: VP Cars
- Train: You’re only an hour away from London Liverpool Street.
Read Colchester Reviews
It’s not massively expensive in Colchester. There are lots of restaurants (wagamamas, turtle bay, Taco Bell, etc), but not fantastic for nights out. ATIK is fun when you’re a fresher but soon gets boring. Sub zero on campus is pretty good and very convenient. Buses are very unreliable, Normally late.
I've lived in Colchester my whole life and there was a time when Colchester was a nice place. Colchester sucks. The living costs beyond student accommodation are very steep and a lot of lettings agents are highly extortionate and cruel. Really really read those contracts, folks. There are a lot of nice places to eat though and Colchester Castle, as well as the Hollytrees Museum are great attractions. Nights out are vulgar and disgusting, partially thanks to the kinds of people the clubs in Colchester attract. If you want to see some jumped up angry guys smack each other and walk on sticky vomit laden floor, a night out in Colchester is for you. Shopping is fine, there's some nice shops. Public transport...no, just, no...First Bus arrives whenever it wants but they put schedules up anyway. Abellio Greater Anglia usually have rail replacement on Weekends but that won't stop them from charging you full rate.
Worst public transport in the history of the world . At least there’s wagas and Nando’s to eat in town but good luck trying to find a bus on time after 7pm. Very very expensive cost of living: public transport, food, drinks, it might as well be called London 2.0. Castle park in town closes by 5pm, and anytime after that is when the homeless and crazy people come at u begging or screaming and u fear for ur life. Town is very dangerous, full of acid attacks, people with knives, fights happening all the time, drug deals, homeless people. Nothing nice to actually see in Colchester , it’s just a dead boring town
Why even bother with this s*** town? sure the university is good, Do not bother commuting for university though, this town knows how to test your patience by putting roadworks on the same roundabout for over a year now...like wtf?? what's taking so long? the town went from being slow to unbearable. the traffic is no joke. Avoid where you can, and to be honest, everything is expensive compared to other towns, violence has started to rise as well.
Colchester does not cater well to students. There is very little nightlife or activities for students to get involved in. I felt that accommodation off campus was either affordable and dismal or anything worth living in was overpriced. It is certainly not the safest town to live in. Can be difficult to live in if you are used to a big, lively city.
Colchester is your average larger town really. There's enough shops to go wander around, there's enough variety of choice for quality food and it's easy to get there in 15 minutes from campus via bus. The nights out are okay, not the best, in town, but there is a club and enough to do on campus in the evenings anyway so it's not really a worry.
Colchester is a lovely town- lots of shops and places to eat out. Really lovely parks. Not to far away from the uni either, just a short bus ride away. Nightlife is decent- we mainly stuck to the nightlife on campus though!
Regular transport (every 10 minutes) between the campus, the town centre and local railways stations (three in total - the closest is a 20 minute walk away). London is a 50 minute train journey away. Shopping is good, with a huge selection of shops, including national brands/stores and more unique shops. There is a huge selection of places to eat, from the fast and cheap, to the higher quality and slightly more expensive meals. There are several clubs and many bars, with drinks being cheap on certain nights (although, they are not too expensive anyway). The buses don't run really late unfortunately, but taxis are relatively cheap and you could even walk (the town centre is about a 15-30 minute walk away). Tesco is a 10 minute walk away, which is the cheapest place to buy groceries and food (it's not too expensive - no more expensive than anywhere else). For a few bits, there is a shop on campus!
Regular transport (every 10 minutes) between the campus, the town centre and local railways stations (three in total - the closest is a 20 minute walk away). London is a 50 minute train journey away. Shopping is good, with a huge selection of shops, including national brands/stores and more unique shops. There is a huge selection of places to eat, from the fast and cheap, to the higher quality and slightly more expensive meals. There are several clubs and many bars, with drinks being cheap on certain nights (although, they are not too expensive anyway). The buses don't run really late unfortunately, but taxis are relatively cheap and you could even walk (the town centre is about a 15-30 minute walk away). Tesco is a 10 minute walk away, which is the cheapest place to buy groceries and food (it's not too expensive - no more expensive than anywhere else). For a few bits, there is a bar on campus!
Colchester has a good-sized high street with a variety of shops, restaurants and activities. However, students will likely use Tesco, Waitrose and Aldi, as they are close to campus - the campus is closer to Wivenhoe than to middle of Colchester.