Chelmsford is the principal settlement of the City of Chelmsford district, and the county town of Essex, in the East of England. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately 32 miles northeast of the notional centre of London at Charing Cross and approximately 22 miles from Colchester. The urban area of the city has a population of approximately 120,000, whilst the district has a population of 168,310.
The main conurbation of Chelmsford incorporates all or part of the former parishes of Broomfield, Great Baddow, Galleywood, Writtle, Moulsham, Widford, and Springfield, including Springfield Barnes, now known as Chelmer Village.
The communities of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Chelmsford, Ontario, and Chelmsford, New Brunswick, are named after the city.
Chelmsford's population consists of a large number of City and Docklands commuters, attracted by the 30–35 minute journey into Central London via the Great Eastern Main Line railway. The same journey takes approximately 60 minutes by road via the A12.