11 of the prettiest places to live in Essex

PUBLISHED: 09:51 07 December 2015 | UPDATED: 09:06 15 December 2015

'Queen Anne House' © Agcox, Flickr

'Queen Anne House' © Agcox, Flickr


Lose yourself in the rich history and picturesque scenery of these little villages in Essex. We have selected 11 pretty Essex towns and villages for you.

Any given village in England will have its fair share of unique and fascinating history. Here we have picked some of Essex’s prettiest villages that also have a lot of intriguing quirks.


The small village of Tillingham has a population of around a thousand in Maldon District. With the centre designated as a conservation area, this is a quintessentially British village.


Located on the Essex coast at the mouth of the River Blackwater is the village of Tollesbury, which for centuries has been known for its exportation of oysters and has survived ever since on this trade. It has lots of historic features which make it a wonderful little village to explore.

Castle Hedingham

Built around the 900-year-old Hedingham Castle is the village of Castle Hedingham. It has many timber-framed medieval buildings that give a unique character to the village and making it feel very old.


Known for its antiques centres, the village of Battlesbridge in Rettendon has a very vintage feel with classic car and motorbike shows held annually.


In the Uttlesford district of Essex is the town of Thaxted, Old English for “place where thatch was got”. Famous attractions include the house of Dick Turpin the highwayman, the Guildhall which is dated from 1450, and more. The author of the book Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne-Jones also grew up in Thaxted.


Found in Braintree, the village of Cressing is a quaint, small village with many small cottages and greenery in the surrounding area.


Prospering from the wool trade in the 15th century, the town of Manningtree was once the headquarters for the Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins whose accusations of local women resulted in their executions in 1644. Margaret Thatcher also lived in Manningtree. It now has plenty to see with interesting Georgian facades on buildings.


The affluent commuter town of Ingatestone was established in Saxon times and was a coaching town in the 18th century. With lots of old and fascinating buildings including Ingatestone Hall, the Tudor house that Queen Elizabeth I stayed in, there is a lot to do here.


With landmarks such as Rochford Hall, the village of Rochford has a rich history along with being a pretty little town. Rochford Hall was the home of Henry VIII’s mistress Mary Boleyn.

Stansted Mountfitchet

Home to what is supposedly the largest toy museum in the World with over 80,000 toys is Stansted Mountfitchet. With plenty of other historic sites to explore, this is a pretty village with more to it than meets the eye.


The town of Wivenhoe has a history of fishing, ship building, and smuggling. Being the centre of the 1884 Colchester earthquake and becoming a place of great tension during the miners’ strikes, this town is very interesting. It is now also the home to the University of Essex.

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