Stanway is located approximately three miles west of Colchester town centre on the B1408 (former A12), near the junction of the A12 and the A1124 at Eight Ash Green. Colchester Zoo, The Stanway School, Tollgate shopping complex and the Co-operative retail development are among prominent local amenities. Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn, founder members of Blur, met at the local school.
Stanway was named in the Domesday Book.
The £4.3m A12 bypass opened in 1970. Local pubs include the Live and Let Live on Millers Lane and the Swan on London Road.
There are three schools in Stanway: Two primary schools and The Stanway School. The Stanway School has academy status, and describes itself as a "Humanities and Maths & Computing College". All three of the schools are located very closely, on the same road.