Let’s move to Colchester, Essex: it’s historic, but keeps up with the times | Money

What’s going for it? Been around a while, Colchester. Seen it all before. This is, after all, reputedly the oldest continually inhabited town in the land. It’s seen Romans (they went wild for its oysters), and more ancient tribes before them. Cymbeline. Yes, the Cymbeline. Old King Cole. Yes, the Old King Cole. Pliny writes about Colchester. Pliny never wrote about Nuneaton. So respect to Colchester; it’ll outlive you or me. It keeps up with the times, don’t get me wrong, with its (literally) dazzling Firstsite art gallery, the Colchester Arts Centre and its new Curzon cinema. But this is a place with old bones. Look past the Nando’s, to the old stones of the castle, the curly wurly curlicued town hall, the heroic politics of its postwar university, the ghosts of Flemish weavers in the Dutch Quarter. Colchester is a city worthy of an epic, like Troy. It’s got tales to tell. Maybe when Boudicca burnt it to the ground. Or when the Normans built the largest castle in Europe. Or maybe when the parliamentarians laid siege to it in the civil war and the citizens were forced to eat rats. There are plenty of juicy plots here. So, who’s going to write it?

The case against Too many executive estates of toy town tat built in the noughties. The Golden Banana: love it or hate it?

Well connected? Trains: the main Colchester station has four or five an hour to Chelmsford and Ipswich (both 18-26 mins), and London (49-66 mins); Colchester Town goes to Walton-On-The-Naze (hourly, 42 mins). Driving: 30 mins to the coast at Clacton and Harwich port, 20 mins to Dedham Vale and Constable Country, Ipswich 30 mins, Stansted Airport less than an hour, the M25 45 mins.

Schools Primaries: most are “good”, says Ofsted, with Hamilton, St Teresa’s Catholic, Home Farm and Montgomery Infants “outstanding”. Secondaries: The Stanway , St Benedict’s Catholic, The Thomas Lord Audley, St Helena, Colchester Academy, The Gilberd are “good”; Colchester Royal Grammar needs a more up-to-date report; Colchester County High “outstanding” in 2009.

Hang out at… Church Street Tavern for Mersea oysters; Grain for wood pigeon and hazelnuts. Oh yes.

Where to buy In town, the historic heart has all the character you’d expect, especially in the famous Dutch Quarter of Tudor, 17th- and 18th-century townhouses and cottages. Beyond, west is best, between Lexden Road and Maldon Road. And out to Lexden itself, especially Poets Corner. Large detacheds and townhouses, £450,000-£1.25m. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £200,000-£450,000. Semis, £150,000-£500,000. Terraces and cottages, £125,000-£350,000. Flats, £100,000-£400,000. Rentals: a one-bed flat, £525-£825pcm; a three-bed house, £800-£1,400pcm.

Bargain of the week Interwar and postwar homes, like this four-bed detached in St John’s; £385,000, with michaelsproperty.co.uk.

From the streets

Chris Coates ‘It’s commutable, when the trains are running, and Essex University is just outside town.’

Alan Bullard “Lovely old Roman town with pretty narrow streets, Roman wall, and Castle Park stretching from the town centre to the river.”

Live in Colchster? Join the debate below.

Do you live in Bangor, County Down? Do you have a favourite haunt or a pet hate? If so, email lets.move@theguardian.com by Tuesday 13 November.

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