Colchester is a historic town in Essex, England. It is said to be the oldest recorded town in England, as it was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, written in AD 77. In Roman times, a legionary fortress was established in the town and the area, known as Camulodunum at the time, was the Roman capital of Britain. The Romans built many elaborate temples, and between 65 and 80 AD, constructed the 3000 yard long town wall, much of which is still standing today. The remains of a Roman chariot race track were discovered in Colchester in 2004 – a unique find in British archaeology. Other historical landmarks that expats in Colchester can discover include Colchester Castle, the 11th Century Norman construct is still largely complete, and is now a Grade 1 listed building. It is thought to have been the largest castle keep ever built in Britain, and is the biggest surviving example of this kind of keep across Europe.
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In 2008, the Office for National Statistics recorded that there were approximately 181,000 people living in Colchester. The town has some expatriates, although it is not as ethnically or culturally diverse as nearby London. Colchester is just over 50 miles away from the United Kingdom’s capital, with good road and rail connections. It is a popular commuter town, and many people living in Colchester work in or near the capital city. The town is one of the driest places in Britain, and average temperatures range from a nighttime low of 35.1 degrees Fahrenheit in February, to a daytime high of 74.1 degrees Fahrenheit in July. However, getting used to the local climate is one thing, happily settling in a foreign city another. You can find numerous articles about living and working abroad in our Expat Magazine, which will hopefully help you with adjusting to life in Colchester. Plus, by joining our online community, you can use the forums and discussion groups to connect with other expatriates living in Colchester and around the world.
Colchester has been an important hub of military activity since Roman times, and is still home to a major army garrison. Currently home to the 16th Air Assault Brigade, and several squadrons of the Territorial Army – Colchester Garrison is a major employer in the area. The city has matched trends across the UK, seeing a decline in traditional industries such as manufacturing, and an increased number of people working in service industries. The University of Essex, Colchester Borough Council, and the NHS (National Health Service) Foundation Trust make up a significant number of the job opportunities in the area. Overall, 27% of the people working in Colchester are employed in the public sector. Colchester boasts an impressive tourist industry, with 5,400 people working in this area and another 11,000 employed in retail. Expats moving to Colchester might also look into work opportunities at banks and financial institutions, since many of these have relocated from the capital to more affordable areas such as Colchester.