Living in Essex

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Nearly 1.5 million people call Essex home, making it the second most populous county in England. Thanks to the size, location and geography of the county, there’s a huge diversity to the places where people live.

The border with London is fairly densely populated, and the South Essex Thames Gateway is an area of real economic growth. This southern part of the county is very different to the large rural areas of mid and north Essex – almost 75% of the county's land area is rolling farmland.

The attractions of Essex could fill a website of their own. Check out for proof of that. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the biggest attractions.

The coastline

350 miles of stunning coastline and huge skies. Estuaries, beaches, cliffs, wildlife and water sports – Essex has it all.

Seaside Resorts

Southend has had something of a revival in recent years, partly fuelled by people leaving the capital. You’ve also got traditional seaside resorts such as Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze to ports like Brightlingsea and Maldon.

The countryside

Some people don’t realise how much of Essex is rural. Farming and agriculture are a big part of the economy. You can enjoy the countryside for relaxation and escape – or more strenuous outdoor pursuits. There’s always a new village or country pub to stumble on.

So many places to live - and call home

Essex has lots of different options for housing whether you’re looking to rent or buy. Whether you want to live urban, rural or coastal, there are options to suit budgets of all kinds and prices that compare well to other parts of the South East.

Things to do and see

You’re never stuck for things to do and see in Essex. From museums, historic sites, stately homes and nature reserves, to coffee shops, shopping, gigs and theatre. There are lots of festivals and cultural events and plenty on offer for sports fans (as participant or spectator).

Easy access to London

There are fast services into Liverpool St or Fenchurch St from most parts of the county (and Tube services on the border with London). You can head into London after work and still be home in good time. The capital offers a world of attractions on weekends.

The continent on your doorstep

Southend Airport, Stansted Airport and City Airport (in London’s Docklands) offer a quick route to the continent. Ferries from Harwich to Belgium and Holland are often an overlooked option – and Eurotunnel and Eurostar are conveniently close and make a great way to access Europe.


Good schools and a great quality of life make Essex a big draw for families – the open space and coast make a great natural playground, with parkland, country trails and rockpools to enjoy.

Map of Essex Districts

Teachers' recommendations: must-see places and experiences

We asked some Essex teachers to share some of their favourite Essex experiences - here are ten of the best

  1. Eat some seafood at Cockle Sheds at Leigh on Sea or the West Mersea Oyster Bar
  2. Head to Tiptree farm, then have afternoon tea in the coffee shop at the Tiptree Jam Museum
  3. So much to do in Maldon. Go to Promenade Park, hire a boat, go crabbing with the kids
  4. Go to an evening 20/20 Cricket game in Chelmsford
  5. Visit Constable Country and see where those iconic pictures were painted
  6. Getting your skates on at Rollacity in Rochford
  7. Colchester Castle
  8. Go to the V Festival with friends.
  9. Take a walk on the Essex Way.
  10. Visit Colchester Zoo. It’s a good one.