Colchester – or Camulodunum as it was then – was the first Roman capital of Britain and evidence of its past is still very much apparent throughout the town. Part of the original Roman wall that surrounded Camulodunum can still be seen on Balkerne Hill, on the outskirts of the town centre, and two of only five Roman theatres in the country are located here. The largest of these is at Gosbecks Archaeological Park, to the west of town, which is also the site of a number of significant Iron Age finds.
Colchester Castle, situated in Castle Park and dating from the 11th century, is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. It was built on the foundations of a Roman temple and the Castle Museum showcases the history of the site, with exhibits from both periods of history, interactive displays and tours of the Roman vaults.
Outside, Castle Park itself offers masses of grass for ball games and picnics in summer, a children’s play area, gardens and walkways, a café and a boating lake.
For sports fans Colchester United Football Club is based at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, around two miles from the development, and Colchester Rugby Club is just five minutes drive away. A private health club with gym, swimming pool and a variety of fitness classes is located 10 minutes walk from Avellana Place, while Colchester Leisure World on Cowdray Avenue offers a selection of clubs, exercise classes and sports pitches. Leisure World is also home to several swimming pools, the leisure pool especially being a favourite with children thanks to its flumes, slides and waves.
For lovers of drama, The Mercury Theatre offers a programme of in-house plays and musicals, guest speakers, workshops and touring productions. The Headgate Theatre specialises in amateur productions and also stages live music and discussions.
Colchester Arts Centre is a hothouse for music, dance and comedy, showcasing the newest talent from around the country, while the town’s Charter Hall is popular with established acts. An eight-screen cinema on Head Street shows the latest blockbuster movies, while arts and exhibition venue Firstsite is home to a programme of arthouse films and world cinema.
Green space is a key attraction of the town and these new homes in Colchester benefit from their proximity to open countryside and managed nature reserves, such as High Woods Country Park. Located five minutes drive from the development, it encompasses wildflower meadows, woodland, marsh, scrubland, walking trails and a fishing lake, as well as a visitor centre and play areas for children.
Wildlife of a different kind can be experienced at Colchester Zoo, to the south of town and extending over 60 acres. A champion of conservation with its captive breeding programme and support for conservation projects around the world, the zoo is home to more than 270 different species. Play areas, daily displays, interactive exhibitions and special events all help to make this a popular destination with visitors from the local area and beyond.
Colchester town centre presents a mixture of well-known chain stores and independent retailers – including award-winning department store Williams & Griffin – interspersed with market stalls and high-end brands. Culver Square, Lion Walk and High Street constitute the town’s main shopping areas, while Sir Isaac’s Walk is the place to go for niche boutiques and independent designers.
Several retail parks, such as Tollgate Centre, Turner Rise and Colne View can be found throughout the town and its outlying areas, offering a mixture of supermarkets, fashion outlets, home furnishing stores, specialist shops and cafés.
Ipswich, 14.5 miles to the north and Chelmsford, 27 miles to the south both have busy commercial centres, offering acres of retail therapy, while outlet shopping village Freeport Braintree, 19 miles from the development, is home to a large selection of well-known and designer brands.
Residents of these new homes in Colchester will find a selection of highly regarded schools in the surrounding area, including Colchester Royal Grammar School, which topped the A level performance tables for the ninth year running in 2015, and Colchester County High School for Girls, which appears in the top third of schools nationally for A level results.
Primary schools close to Avellana Place include Brinkley Grove Primary, St John’s CE Primary and Highwoods Community Primary, while for older children, state and independent secondary education providers include the Gilberd School, St Helena School, St Mary’s School and Colchester High School. Post-16 education is catered for by Colchester Sixth Form College and Colchester Institute, both of which deliver a variety of academic and vocational courses, apprenticeships and business training.
Universities easily accessible from the development include Essex University (nine minutes drive), Anglia Ruskin University, which has a campus at Chelmsford, and the University of East Anglia at Norwich.
Located near the centre of Colchester, Avellana Place is ideal for young professionals and families requiring easy access to the town centre, and to commuters travelling to London, Chelmsford, Ipswich, or Norwich.
For commuters, Colchester North Railway Station is 10 minutes drive from Avellana Place and has a large car park attached, as well as being a stopping point for many local buses. Journey time into London is around an hour, with trains calling at Chelmsford, Stratford and London Liverpool Street.
The A12 to London in the south and to Great Yarmouth in the north can be reached in three minutes, while the A120 to Harwich in the east and Hertfordshire in the west, is also just three minutes away.
For domestic and international flights, Stansted Airport lies 34 miles from the development.