Travelling to Essex

22 07 2009

We like to think that the University of Essex’s Colchester campus is easy to reach. It says so on the web, so it must be true, after all. We’re only an hour or so from London on the train, about 45 minutes from Stansted airport, and only six hours by ferry from Holland.


If you’re coming by car, just approach Colchester on the A12 from either direction and then take the A133 towards Clacton – the University is signposted just off the A133. Please don’t be put off by the Magic Roundabout near the campus: all you have to remember is that each of the five mini-roundabouts dotted around the big roundabout is a roundabout in its own right, and that you can go around the big roundabout in either clockwise or anticlockwise direction, and you’ll be fine. Really. And if your GPS tries to make you come in at the western entrance by Tesco ignore it: you should be coming in via the Wivenhoe entrance to the east of campus, even though some GPS systems wrongly claim that this is a one-way road and you can’t come in here. Sigh… It is fairly straightforward really.


If you’re coming by train from Liverpool Street, the most visible landmark as you approach Colchester on the right is Jumbo. Long-disused, this Victorian brick-built water tower is a prominent feature on the town’s skyline; for years there has been a passionate debate about what to actually do with the building and, if nothing else, it’s bound to be of interest if you like Victorian brick-built water towers. Anyhow, when you spot Jumbo you should be getting your bags together as the train will be stopping soon. If you do come by train, you could stop at either Colchester’s main station or at Wivenhoe. Choose the former if you want to just get in a taxi to the campus, as there are nearly always lots of taxis waiting; if you come to Wivenhoe station you should book a taxi in advance, or get the 61 bus for the five minute ride to the University, getting off at the first stop on campus – the accommodation is just across the road from this stop. Now how convenient is that?


Once you’re here, if you do get a chance to linger and explore there’s plenty to see. The town of Colchester itself has some lovely old buildings, including a well-preserved castle right in the town centre. Beyond Colchester, it’s only a short drive to Constable country in the Dedham Vale, to the old sea-port of Harwich (I’ve written a guided walk around Harwich for the V&A, which just happens to take you past several quaint old pubs), and to the Essex Riviera coastline (no really) which runs from Clacton-on-Sea to Walton-on-the-Naze, taking in Frinton-on-Sea along the way (a charming little retirement town – “Harwich for the continent, Frinton for the incontinent”, as the old joke goes).

If anyone has any queries about travelling to the University of Essex, or things to do when you’re here, do please get in touch – either email or, or call us on 01206 874327.

More on travel on the IWMW travel page.

Written by Keith Brooke, University of Essex