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Moving to Essex - advice on areas please!

(49 Posts)
LeafyH Sat 07-Jan-17 10:27:24

Hi all,

If I am posting this in the wrong area, please can someone point me in the right direction!

We are considering moving back to England from France. We are currently looking at areas around Essex. I know and like Leigh-on-Sea, Chalkwell & Thorpe Bay. We are also looking at Chelmsford, Saffron Walden, and just over the border into Bishops Stortford. I would love to hear of any other good areas to look at in Essex - and also Hertfordshire, but close to the Essex border.

We have 3 children (2, 6 and 8) and our priorities are good schools, a nice area with plenty of activities for kids, and places that would work for young kids but also have enough to keep teenagers entertained, as I know the time will fly by!
A fast commute to London is not essential, but might tip the balance.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.....

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 07-Jan-17 10:33:18

Do you want to be in a town or more rural ? Chelmsford has good schools , especially grammar schools, decent shopping centre , easy commute etc.

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 07-Jan-17 10:34:48

Sorry posted too soon. There are some nice villages surrounding Chelmsford - Writtle , Danbury , The Easters.

LeafyH Sat 07-Jan-17 15:29:00

Thanks for your reply - my husband would love rural (if there is a good pub!), I am not averse to the idea but have always lived in a town. My only fear of rural life is bored teenagers in the future! But I am sure there are lots of teenagers happily living in small villages. If it somewhere that they could easily get to to a bigger town from then I would be happy.

TheNaze73 Sat 07-Jan-17 15:31:28

Leigh On Sea has the Peterboat which is lovely in the summer smile

Another shout for Writtle to back up condensed

LeafyH Sat 07-Jan-17 15:43:17

Thanks, TheNaze!

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 07-Jan-17 15:49:02

Danburys nice and has a good bus service into Chelmsford , I used to live there and commute to London.
Little Baddow too (pricey though)

LeafyH Sat 07-Jan-17 15:58:43

Thanks again, I am adding all these areas into my Rightmove search favourites!

Gardencentregroupie Sat 07-Jan-17 16:00:00

All the small towns and villages near to Stansted airport are lovely, though maybe not as far as Braintree. Do you want to be close to London? Saffron Walden is a bit far north for a reasonable journey into London (in my opinion) but is lovely. The shopping is ok in Bishops Stortford.

BitOutOfPractice Sat 07-Jan-17 16:01:07


Great schools. Nice community feel. Decent amount going on. Much much cheaper than any of the other places mentioned.

Greymalkin Sat 07-Jan-17 16:28:58

Chelmsford is quite 'up and coming' at the moment and is getting quite pricey.
Writtle and Danbury are lovely I agree.
Maldon is lovely but links to London aren't great.
Dunmow and Felsted are very sought after, but again Transport to London and bigger cities is car dependent.
I haven't heard great things about Colchester, Basildon, Southend or Harlow, there seems to be a lot of crime. That said everywhere has it's not so pleasant areas.

Gardencentregroupie Sat 07-Jan-17 16:32:59

Harlow is a bit, er, less desirable (though maternity services at the hospital are.fantastic smile )

SuffyBummers Sat 07-Jan-17 16:34:03

I'm in Leigh on Sea and love living here...lots to do! Excellent schools, local grammar schools etc.Chalkwell is so close we share amenities so it's pretty much one and the same. I would avoid Thorpe Bay as it's more a part of Southend and less a town in its own right.
Happy to answer any Leigh questions you might have!

I agree with PP who mentioned villages around the Danbury area as an alternative- also lovely if you want more rural.

WheresTheEvidence Sat 07-Jan-17 16:34:25


OutOfBlueComesGreen Sat 07-Jan-17 16:38:29

Billericay. I'd move there if I could afford it.

LeafyH Sat 07-Jan-17 16:44:08

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your input.

BitOutOfPractise - thanks, a friend mentioned Rayleigh so it is good to have it backed up by another source!

Gardencentregroupie - is Bishops Stortford a good place, aside from the shopping? My nephew just left boarding school there, but I can't glean much from him!

SuffyBummers - are the local secondary schools good aside from the grammar schools? My only concern is that my children's main (written and reading) language is French, so if we don't move back for a year then my eldest might struggle with the 11+ in English, even though he is bright. But maybe I am wrong?!

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 07-Jan-17 16:45:40

This looks nice and Ingatestone has a train station so good for
Commuting . Not far from Chelmsford or Brentwood for shops .

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 07-Jan-17 16:46:53

Disclaimer : I don't know your budget so this might be a bit small wink

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 07-Jan-17 16:48:03

I meant to put this link

Msqueen33 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:49:21

We're in Saffron Walden. A lot of people commute to London here. Schools are quite full though. Nice place to live as is Bishops Stortford. Again schools are quite full there. Near to Cambridge tho.

LeafyH Sat 07-Jan-17 16:51:09

Oooh, looks gorgeous, but way above our budget of around £900,000 for a 4 bed. I can dream....!

LeafyH Sat 07-Jan-17 16:53:04

Thanks Msqueen, yes I am worried about slotting 3 kids into school. I guess I should phone a few and find out how it works, I only know about the French system.

SuffyBummers Sat 07-Jan-17 16:55:13

The local comp in Leigh has a good reputation and Ofsted rating (Belfairs). I know it's highly prescribed so keep an eye on catchment area. And the primary schools- Westleigh in particular- focus on 11+ prep and are seen as filter schools for Southend/Westcliff High. I'm not as sure on the Chalkwell primarily schools?

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 07-Jan-17 16:57:18

I love house hunting !

ihatethecold Sat 07-Jan-17 16:57:21

Don't go to Colchester.
Full of drugs and it's a big drinking town with aggressive drivers.
I hate having to go there to see my eldest.

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