Cities in Essex

Cities in Essex

Below is a list of cities in the county of Essex, England, that are officially designated such and includes those granted city statuses by letters patent or royal charter.

Having city status significantly boosts local communities and opens up new opportunities for those who live and work there.


On 1st June 2012, Chelmsford was granted city status in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee. Whilst there have been settlements in Chelmsford since pre-history, the town was granted its Royal Charter as a market town in 1199. Chelmsford has played a significant part in the area's governance since the twelfth century and was recognised as the county town of Essex in 1218. In 1381, Richard II brutally suppressed the Peasants Revolt by moving on to Chelmsford following the suppression of the revolt in London. Many of the ringleaders of the rebellion were executed at the gallows that stood on what is now Primrose Hill. Chelmsford was the last prison for many of the victims of Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, in the 17th century. In more modern times, Chelmsford has become known as the birthplace of radio. Guglielmo Marconi opened the first ‘wireless’ factory on Hall Street in 1899, employing 50 people in his business which would grow into one of the largest companies in the world.

Chelmsford Weather Forecast

Population: 110,507


Colchester is thought to be the oldest city in Britain. It was awarded city status as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Colchester was a major Celtic settlement before the Roman invasion of Britain and is probably most famous as the site of the rebellion against the Roman occupiers by Boudica, who led the Iceni tribe and their allies as they sacked the town and the Temple of Divine Claudius in 61AD. There is a rich archaeological record in the city that is held at the museum in Colchester Castle. Colchester was the site of another famous battle when, in 1648, during the English Civil War, Sir Thomas Fairfax besieged the town with the Parliamentary Army for eleven and a half weeks until he received the surrender of the Royalist Army, led by Lord Goring. They were occupying the town on 27th August 1648. Since Roman times, the city of Colchester has housed a military garrison, and it is currently home to the 16th Air Assault Brigade of the Parachute Regiment. Colchester is probably one of the most important cities in Essex and boasts excellent facilities of all kinds.

Colchester Weather Forecast

Population: 119,441


The coastal city of Southend-On-Sea was originally the southern part of the village of Prittlewell on the Essex coast. In the 18th century, however, the Georgian passion for sea air and salt water bathing meant that Southend-On-Sea rapidly grew into a popular tourist resort with seven miles of beaches. With the advent of rail travel, Southend-On-Sea thrived as a day trip and holiday destination for workers from London who were attracted to its pleasure pier and its possibilities as a commuter town. Southend-On-Sea is proud to have the longest pleasure pier in the world, measuring 1.34 miles. Whilst it has suffered from many fires and collisions in its history, many visitors are still attracted to it today. The advent of package holidays abroad led to a steep decline in holidays at home, and Southend-On-Sea suffered accordingly. Following extensive redevelopment in the 1960s and ’70s, however, Southend-On-Sea now attracts about 6 million visitors every year, generating annual revenues of more than £200million. Southend-On-Sea is an important hub for employment, business and leisure and was awarded city status as a lasting tribute to Sir David Amess and all of his incredible work in 2022.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall unveil the city of Southend’s new Pier Train, named after Sir David Amess MP.

Southend Weather Forecast

Population: 175,547

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