Around 180,000 people live in the Colchester area, which first emerged as a major settlement in Roman times. Today the town attracts around 4.5 million visitors every year. Colchester is 62 miles north east of London. It takes around 50 minutes to reach London Liverpool Street by rail and the town is just 30 miles from Stansted Airport.
The British Army maintains a major garrison at Colchester. The town is also home to the University of Essex. The cosmopolitan streets offer a wealth of speciality shops along with big name stores and many restaurants, bars and clubs.
Local attractions include the city's zoo, castle and a host of museums. The Mercury, Headgate and Lakeside Theatres and Colchester Arts Centre provide a packed calendar of events. There's a dedicated leisure and sports centre. The beautiful countryside of Dedham Vale and the River Stour lie just beyond the town.