Positioned in the South-East of England, Essex has a remarkable history and a wholesome community feel making it an appealing place to reside in. Rich in character and teeming with life, this county possesses an irresistible charm with an array of property types to suit every lifestyle.

In our area guide, we delve into this vibrant county, boasting of captivating coastlines and lush green countryside, alongside bustling towns such as Colchester and Southend-on-Sea. We also provide practical information for living in Essex, including details on schooling, transport, and property prices.

History of Essex

Essex has a deep-rooted history dating back to the time of the Romans and Anglo-Saxons. It was one of the original seven kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy and home to Britain's first recorded town, Colchester. This town showcases the county's Roman past with a remarkable range of preserved Roman ruins. The county's history reflects in its landscape with numerous castles, including Hedingham and Hadleigh, and century-old churches dotting the county's picturesque countryside.


Essex is home to a rich variety of landmarks. Colchester Castle, a magnificent example of Norman architecture, is a testament to Essex's remarkable history. Then there's the Hylands House, a grand Neo-classical villa, offering breathtaking views of the Hylands Estate - offering art, history, and nature in one location. Lastly, Southend Pier, the world's longest pleasure pier, offers a unique excursion filled with entertainment options and beautiful sea views.

Landmarks we love

  • Hadleigh Castle: Overlooking the Thames estuary, this ruined fortress offers panoramic views and a deep dive into medieval English history.
  • Chelmsford Cathedral: Positioned in the heart of the city, this awe-inspiring cathedral is the second smallest in England but holds robust historical significance and architectural charm.
  • Walton-on-the-Naze Tower: Known as The Naze Tower, this 86ft tall monument offers a glimpse into Georgian England and stunning views of the Essex coast.
  • New Hall Vineyards: One of the oldest and largest vineyards in England, it offers a delightful experience of wine tasting along with scenic vineyard walks.
  • Frinton-on-Sea: This seaside town with its expansive sandy beach and Grasslands is perfect for those seeking tranquility, boasting of the cleanest beaches in the UK.

Top 10 things to do in Essex

  • Visit the historic Colchester Zoo, home to over 260 animal species.
  • Enjoy a memorable day at Adventure Island, Southend's seafront amusement park.
  • Take in the natural beauty of Epping Forest, an ancient woodland covering about 2400 hectares.
  • Explore the RHS Garden Hyde Hall for a dose of horticultural inspiration.
  • Unwind at the Leigh-on-Sea, a charming old fishing village famous for its seafood.
  • Take a walk down Chelmsford's high street for shopping, restaurants and cinema.
  • See the Clacton Pier, an entertainment hub for families offering arcade games, sea fishing, and rides.
  • Experience birdwatching at the Foulness Island, home to several rare and common bird species.
  • Go for a history tour to Hedingham castle, a well preserved Norman Keep.
  • Enjoy a delightful day trip to Mersea Island known for its sandy beaches and fresh seafood eateries.

Our recommended areas to live in Essex

  • Colchester: As Britain's Oldest recorded town, Colchester offers an exciting blend of tradition, history, and modern living.
  • Chelmsford: As the only city in Essex, Chelmsford has a vibrant city feel offering a bounty of amenities from shopping to leisure facilities.
  • Brentwood: Popular among families and commuters, Brentwood's highly-rated schools, green spaces, and easy access to London make it a highly desirable place to live.
  • Southend-on-Sea: Perfect for those who love being by the sea, Southend boasts a lively entertainment scene with its theatres, cinemas, bars, and restaurants.
  • Saffron Walden: Known for its rich heritage and stunning architecture, this market town offers a peaceful rural lifestyle, ideal for those seeking a quieter pace of life.

Best schools in Essex

When it comes to education, Essex boasts a range of top-rated schools, both public and private, including King Edward VI Grammar School and Westcliff High School for Girls. The county is also home to several exceptional primary schools such as St Michael's Primary School and Lexden Primary School. The University of Essex, based in Colchester, has a solid reputation and is known for its research-intensive programmes in drama, psychology and business.

Transport links in Essex

Essex offers excellent transport links via road and rail. Major motorways such as the M25, M11, and A12 provide convenient access to London and various towns in Essex. There are regular train services to London Liverpool Street from several towns, making it a popular choice among commuters. Air travel is made easy with Stansted Airport located in the county, and the ferry services at Harwich connect to Holland and Denmark.

In conclusion, Essex is a county of contrasts that offers city-like liveliness, peaceful countryside serenity, and exciting coastal charm, making it a wonderful place to call home. Its rich history, diverse culture, excellent educational provisions, solid transport links, and wide selection of property types enhance its appeal to a broad range of individuals and families. Whether you're an active family, a retiree or a city worker seeking a quieter retreat, Essex has a place for you.

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