Review: Visiting Essex Police Museum, Chelmsford

Did you know there is a police museum in Essex? And better still it is free to visit! This small museum is hidden away in Chelmsford and has limited opening hours, but it is a fun way to help children understand some of the work that the police do. The museum was set up in 1992 to provide a home to a collection of objects belonging to Essex police. It covers the history of Essex police from the Victorian times to present day. It is open most Saturdays and Wednesdays in school holidays.

Two young girls in police uniform looking at a reconstructed crime scene
Children solving a crime at Essex Police Museum

Visiting Essex Police Museum with Children

Why the Essex Police Museum is a good place to visit:

  • It’s free.
  • There are lots of interactive activities for children.
  • It's a great way to learn about local history.
  • ​Volunteers are on hand to answer questions, some of them are current serving police officers.

What is there to do at Essex Police Museum?

Even though the museum is small there is plenty for children to do. There are real police uniforms to try on, puzzles to do, colouring and books to read. 

They provide buckets which you can fill with all the things you need to be a detective - magnifying glasses, phones, little tablets to make notes about crimes on and there is a crime scene set up children can try to solve. There are also a few sensory bags that you can take into the museum and go through.    

You can go inside a Victorian cell and take your fingerprints as well as look through an old charge book to discover crimes of days long gone by.

They sometimes have special events and extra children's activities like crafts running for a small extra fee.

They run school visits during the week to tie in with the National Curriculum from EYFS to Key Stage 2. As part of this they recommend various resources including: PhotoFit Me which is a fun resource by the Open University where you can create PhotoFit images.

Inside Essex Police Museum showing puzzles and books
The museum is small, but there is lots to learn about

What age children will enjoy visiting Essex Police Museum?

We think the museum will probably be enjoyed most by children age 3 to 8. The younger children will enjoy the interactive activities and there is plenty for older children to read to learn about the history of the force and modern day activities of Essex Police. It does cover some more grizzly aspects like a documented history of the most famous murders, but younger children are unlikely to pay attention to those displays.

Is it suitable for pushchairs?

Yes the museum is fully pushchair and wheelchair accessible. 

Display cabinets and a long table and chairs at the Police Museum
Discover the history of Essex Police Force

What You Need To Know Before Visiting Essex Police Museum

  • The museum is open Saturdays 10am to 4pm. In Essex County school holidays (excluding Christmas) it is also open on Wednesdays. Check their Facebook page where they announce extra dates and last minute closures. 
  • It is a small museum and a visit will normally take around an hour, depending on how engaged your children get.  
  • There are toilets available onsite.
  • There is a small gift shop which takes card payments. Purchases go towards supporting the museum.

Is it dog friendly?

No, only assistance dogs are welcome.

What to take with you when visiting?

You don’t need to take anything special with you for a visit to the museum, but you might want to consider other activities for afterwards. There is no cafĂ© or place to eat so plan to give children food and drink before and/ or after.

How to Get To Essex Police Museum and Where To Park

Address: Essex Police Museum, Essex Police Headquarters, Kingston Crescent, Chelmsford CM2 6DN (postcode for Sat Nav)

The entrance to the museum is a small side entrance and can be easy to miss (photo below).

On Saturdays there is a small amount of free parking in the museum bay or the Orchard Car Park. These are signposted. There is also some parking on adjacent residential roads, but check for restrictions and park mindfully.

On Wednesdays they recommend taking public transport or alternatively the nearest car parks are Riverside or Chelmer Village (an 8 minute walk away adult speed)

A flag saying open and a ramp going down to the Entrance of Essex Police Museum
The entrance to Essex Police Museum 

What Is There To Do Nearby?

Lionmede Park is very close. It has a playground and is a good place for a picnic.

Chelmer Village Retail Park is a short walk away. It has shops including: Hobbycraft and Pets at Home as well as places to eat like Costa and Itsu.

Jump Street Chelmsford (trampoline park), Mace Playce Soft Play and Chelmsford City Centre are about 5 minutes drive away.

On the other side of Chelmsford it’s about 10 minutes drive to Chelmsford Museum and Oaklands Park or Hylands Estate.        

Photographs and recommendations by Nicki who can be found on Instagram as @travelhackswithkids

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