Chelmsford may be one of Essex’s most popular shopping destinations, but beyond the high street stores and chain restaurants there is so much more to discover. The town is a hub for entertainment and culture with something to suit all. So whether you’re the artsy type, have a family to entertain or just want some good old fashioned fun, read our guide to making the most of a visit to Chelmsford this year…
Art at Chelmsford Museum
2018 promises to be a wonderful and interesting year for art lovers at Chelmsford Museum, with a full program of artists lined-up for both the Gallery Wall and the temporary exhibition space. Starting off is the current display of Jo Gross’s ‘Modern Retro Woman’, which features portraits of modern women who have embraced the style of the mid-20th Century. The exhibition will be on display at the Gallery Wall until Sunday 1 April.
The Hive Artist Studios will be presenting ‘Renewal’ at the temporary exhibition space from Saturday 17 March until Sunday 3 June. The Chelmsford based artist collective will be displaying their mixed media work exploring themes around war: freedom, sacrifice courage and peace.
Following the Hive Artist Studios in the space will be James Wilkinson, who is the artist in residence at Hylands Estate and the official artist to the V Festival. James has painted Seasick Steve, Tom Odell and many other famous musicians whilst they have performed on the V stage and now he will be displaying his work ‘VFlections’ from Saturday 16 June to Sunday 2 September.
This month, up to 4 March, is your last chance to catch the ‘Design Icons’ exhibition. Curated by students from Epping’s Young Curators program, it celebrates some of the most iconic items from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/museumevents for more details.
RiZE Festival, ahem, rises from the ashes of the V Festival
Liam Gallagher and Stereophonics have been announced to headline the brand new RiZE Festival which will take place at the iconic Hylands Park in Chelmsford on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th August 2018.
Celebrating its very first year RiZE Festival brings together an exciting mix of the very best music from classic indie, pop, urban, dance and new upcoming talent across four stages. Hylands Park has a history of hosting world class events and this new local festival promises to bring an incredible weekend of live music plus a huge hub of the best food and drink on the festival circuit.
Get your skates on
There’s something magical about watching a Disney performance on ice, and this year’s ‘Cinderella on Ice’ at the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre is no exception. Taking place from 11-15 April, the show performed by member of the Riverside Ice Skating Club will be full of glitzy costumes and catchy songs as the classic is tale is bought to life. Tickets from £7.30 at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/iceshow
Music in March
The Everly Brothers Dream will be donning their soothe voices on Sunday 11 March.
‘Crooners’ is a rip-roaring, warm-hearted parody of a genre epitomised by the music of the Rat Pack and the great American Songbook at The Civic Theatre on Saturday 17 March, while ‘D’Ukes’ return to the Cramphorn’s stage on Saturday 24 March, after previously playing many sold-out shows here. For something for more classical the Lunchtime Concerts continue every Wednesday in the Cramphorn at 1pm and offer a relaxing interlude to the day.
Opera lovers will be treated to Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ live from the Royal Opera House, London, on Tuesday 6 March at 6.45pm, and fans of ballet have a double helping of live performances in the shape of ‘The Flames of Paris’, from The Bolshoi, Moscow, on Sunday 4 March at 3pm, and ‘Bernstein’s Century’ on Tuesday 27 March at 7.15pm from The Royal Ballet. To book tickets to see any of these events, visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres or call the Box Office on 01245 606505.
Free days out at Hylands House
Set in glorious parkland, the Hyalnds Estate is perhaps Chelmsford’s most iconic attractions. But did you know is castle themed adventure playground is completely free? A great place to keep the children entertained this summer, it boasts four-metre-high castle battlements with portcullis and drawbridge entrance with dedicated play areas.
The main adventure castle has two large sections of castle wall. There are ladders, scramble nets and boards with lots of opportunity to climb, run and jump, as well as slides at varying heights, sensory equipment, a musical wall and spinning games discs.
Adjacent are natural play features such as willow tunnels, carvings and bears. It’s no wonder the play area has been voted runner-up at the Primary Times Essex Star awards 2018. For more information visit www.hylandsestate.co.uk
Have a fling
This summer the Fling Festival celebrates its 10th birthday at Hylands Park on 30 June. Tickets are now on sale with standard tickets priced at £27.50, but for those wanting a little more luxury with fast track entry, luxury toilets and exclusive entertainment, VIP tickets are on sale at £40. A playground for adults, the Fling Festival has firmly established itself as one of the most quirky and fun festivals around. Expect a diverse mix of music, comedy, theatre, cabaret, crafts, burlesque and much much more. However, you’ll need to be quick to snap up tickets – it’s guaranteed to be a sell-out! www.flingfestival.com