11 Prettiest Villages to Live in Essex
13th February 2022

11 Prettiest Villages to Live in Essex

What are the prettiest villages in Essex?

If you’re looking to move to a gorgeous rural location in Essex, then this is the ideal article for you.

Essex’s appeal has grown massively in recent years.

Boasting excellent proximity to the capital as well as some stunning villages mean it is no wonder that more and more people are moving to Essex.

With areas of Greater London and Surrey being some of the most expensive areas across the UK, Essex offers a fantastic choice for buyers.

Homeowners are increasingly seeking properties in rural locations.

Areas that offer stunning rural spaces as well as the quaint charm that village living offers.

Across the UK, more buyers are looking towards moving to Essex as their new home.

Its plethora of amazing commuter towns, top class schooling and fascinating history make it an ideal location for a variety of buyers.

With so many great areas to choose from, it is hard to know where to start.

Essex’s great location makes most of its towns fantastic for commuters.

So, whether you are looking for a home to raise a family or a rural spot with excellent transport links Essex is sure to have something for you.

Here is our comprehensive guide to the prettiest villages in the county of Essex.

Rural Essex

Map of Essex County

Essex is home to a range of beautiful rural locations and has an extremely diverse range of wildlife to be found throughout its countryside.

Around 70% of Essex is classified as rural, so moving to the county means plenty of options when it comes to villages.

It’s no surprise that many individuals are looking to move to Essex for the rural lifestyle.

Considering Essex’s rural setting, it is no surprise that there are ample villages in the region.

So let’s take a look at our rundown of the most stunning villages located in Essex.

Castle Hedingham

St Nicholas Church Castle Hedingham
St Nicholas Church, Castle Hedingham. Image credit: Wikipedia

Located in northeast Essex, Castle Hedingham sits around 3 miles from the nearby town of Halstead.

A village befitting its name, Castle Hedingham is focusedaround the Norman Keep originally formed in 1100!

The village has been developed around the castle and keeps its astonishing history whilst also celebrating the surrounding countryside.

Nearby Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is an especially popular rural location in Essex and welcomes thousands of visitor’s each year.

Living in Castle Hedingham is perfect for those craving to live in a pretty Essex village.

Whilst commuting from the village is not perfect, nearby Chelmsford allows fantastic transport links to London and the rest of Essex.

Castle Hedingham is a top rural location and house prices reflect this.

The average cost of a property in Castle Hedingham sits at £397,514.

This is significantly more expensive than the £336,451 average across the county.

Castle Hedingham allows its residents a rich history as well as passage to some stunning natural beauty.

The rural charm of the villages means that it earns a place on our list of the most beautiful villages in Essex.


Dedham Village High Street
Dedham Village High Street. Image credit: Visit Essex

The picturesque town of Dedham is positioned to the North of Colchester.

The area emerged as a renowned Essex location thanks to the famous paintings of John Constable.

Constable’s work represents the stunning Dedham Vale countryside, much of the landscape depicted has not changed.

The stunning Dedham Vale is the focal point of many of Constables paintings and remains a popular rural escape for the residents of Essex and beyond.

Dedham sits in a perfect location.
Nearby to both Colchester and London. Dedham’s residents aren’t overwhelmed by the hectic city but are close enough not to feel too remote.

The well-renowned excellence and history of Dedham determine that purchasing a property here is not cheap.

The average cost of a home in Dedham village is £544,514.

This is considerably higher than the average cost over Essex and is comparable to what you would expect in London.

However, Dedham offers rural beauty that is hard to match.

For this reason, Dedham is clearly one of the best places to live in Essex.


Stock Village Essex
Stock Village, Essex. Image credit: Essex Live

Sitting just 6 miles from Chelmsford, the village of Stock is one of the most desirable villages in the UK.

With the average house price in Stock sitting around £1 million, this prestige is clear to see.

Stock is not only one of the most expensive but is also one of the most scenic villages.

The areas long history can be seen throughout the village.

Local All Saints Church dates to the 13th century and adds some real historic charm to the village.

This prestigious village also boasts a particularly spirited social life.

There are great pubs and local shops providing everything needed for village life.

One of the quaintest villages in Essex, Stock is popular with affluent commuters.

Many who live here have specifically sought out the village lifestyle.

When talking about stunning villages in Essex, then Stock must get a serious mention!


Battlesbridge Antiques Centre
Battlesbridge Antiques Centre. Image credit: Steve Knight

Battlesbridge is located in the parish of Rettendon.

The village is home to an antique centre, guest house and two tea shops.

Sitting on the River Crouch, Battlesbridge is a particularly scenic location.

Appreciated as a hub for antiques, arts and collectables, the village has a very old-fashioned feel.

This is charming characteristic is only furthered by the annual classic car show!

Battlesbridge’s local pubs add even more charm and merriment to the village.

Bothe the Barge Inn and The Hawk Inn are traditional pubs offering a real rural charm and alongside some good food.

The village is approximately 10 miles from Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea.

This excellent location ensures easy commute across Essex and the neighbouring countys.

Long Melford

Melford Hall
Melford Hall. Image credit: Tripadvisor

Long Melford is unquestionably a contender for the best villages in Essex.

Located on the border of Suffolk and Essex, the village gives a great escape from hectic city living.

The village lies on the River Stour and is a brief 25-minute drive from flourishing Bury St Edmunds.

Small community-owned shops, cafes and restaurants make Long Melford a fabulous location for a whimsical, rural lifestyle.

If you are looking to leave the rat race behind but still want to enjoy the benefits of a pleasant community, Long Melford is ideal for you.

Lying on the banks of the River Stour right on the meeting of Essex and Suffolk, the village is home to Kentwell Hall and Long Melford Hall.

Local Kentwell Hall is known for its recreations of life in Tudor times.

The local hotspot also plays host to various events throughout the year including, open-air plays, concerts and the popular annual Halloween event Scaresville.

The stately home also has some marvellous gardens and maze, making it a great place to bring the whole family.

The average cost of a house in Long Melford is currently £373,055.

Whilst this is above average for the wider Suffolk area, the village offers residents some great amenities, as well as a perfect location to commute to Bury.


Wivenhoe River View
Wivenhoe River View. Image credit: Wikipedia

Another of the lovely villages to live in Essex has to be Wivenhoe.

This unique village has gathered a real name for itself as one of Essex’s most diverse villages.

Including a population of around 10,000, Wivenhoe has a universal mix of inhabitants.

The village has been a centre for the county’s artistic community.

It is also home to a large number of commuters as well as numerous students from the nearby University of Essex.

Wivenhoe is particularly lively as a result of this blend of inhabitants.

There is always lots to do in the area including several coffee shops, local pubs and restaurants.

Wivenhoe is renowned for its maritime history.

A visit to the quay could see you enjoying a trip on the ferry or learning how to build a boat at the Nottage Maritime Institute.


Rochford Hall
Rochford Hall. Image credit: Rochford Town Team

The charming village of Rochford in Essex has an especially vibrant history.

Rochford makes our list as a picturesque location, swarming with fascinating historical structures and glorious landscapes.

The Essex village also has a vigorous nightlife with plenty of pubs and restaurants to enjoy.

There is a choice of excellent local pubs including the White Horse, the Plough and Sail and the Marlborough Head.

A quick 45-minute train journey sees locals into London.

These outstanding links ensure Rochford is the perfect village for commuters!

Whatsmore, there is almost 65 miles of unspoilt coastline and ancient woodland right on your doorstep.

All of this means there’s never a dull moment when living in Rochford.

East Bergholt

House on River East Bergholt
House on the River, East Bergholt. Image credit: Suffolk Norfolk Life

Once the home of artist John Constable, East Bergholt is one of the largest villages in the Stour valley.

The stunning natural beauty of the area is shown in Constable’s work, with quaint cottages, remote village pubs and green countryside everywhere to be seen.

Located on the north bank of the River Stour, the village is home to several popular local pubs and ensures residents have more than enough local amenities.

If you require some a more substantial shopping trip, the location of the village is ideal.

Lying on the Suffolk-Essex border means you are a mere 8 miles from Ipswich and only 10 miles from Colchester.

East Bergholt is also home to both a primary and secondary school.

Both are within easy walking distance for residents of the area and have received ‘good’ reports from Ofsted.

The village certainly maintains a great balance of modern and rural living.

With the average price of properties in East Bergholt sitting at £511,888, you can certainly see where your money if going when moving to the area.

East Bergholt offers residents a quaint yet connected home and is certainly worth considering.

Saffron Walden

Colourful Cottages Saffron Walden
Colourful Tudor Cottages, Saffron Walden. Image credit: Mummy Travels

A quaint region in the Uttlesford district of Essex, Saffron Walden is a close knit community.

There is a friendly atmosphere here that embraces new residents into the local community.

The area is home to a collection of shops.

These include some big businesses alongside the local community store.

This ensures the area has a balance of convenience and fellowship.

Saffron Walden offers homeowners access to various primary and secondary schools.

The schools are all very highly rated, with all receiving good to outstanding reports from Ofsted.

Saffron Walden is another of Essex’s delightful rural hubs.

Whilst commuting is still easy, residents can enjoy the more remote location of the area.

Being in the countryside, Saffron Walden offers spectacular walks, a number of vibrant festivals and a generally calmer pace of life.

It is the ideal spot to build a family and remains a popular location for buyers.

The town’s popularity is reflected in its property values.

The average cost of a property in Saffron Walden is currently £424,265.

Whilst this is above average for Essex, the great schools, welcoming community and rural situation explain this.

It is clear to see why Saffron Walden earns a spot on our list.


Ingatestone Hall
Ingatestone Hall. Image credit: Visit Heritage

The prosperous commuter region of Ingatestone was founded during the Saxon era and was a coaching town throughout the 18th century.

Boasting numerous historical buildings including Ingatestone Hall, there is certainly lots to do and see in the area.

Ingatestone houses over a hundred shops and businesses as well as a unique selection of pubs and restaurants.

The staple to any great village, the pubs in Ingatestone are certainly worthy of becoming your new watering-hole.

The village also provides great amenities for locals.

Three schools service the area.

This includes an infant, junior and secondary school.

Each of these schools has a substantial engagement in the local community.

Ingatestone is ideally placed for commuters.

The M25 is just 10 minutes away, making travelling into London especially easy.


Manningtree Sunset
Manningtree Beach Sunset. Image credit: The Times

The village of Manningtree was named the 7th best place to live in the East of England in the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live 2019.

Located on the coast around 20 minutes from Colchester.

Manningtree is one of the most popular locations for young families in Essex.

It is a lively town with enterprises to interest all.

The nearby beach and Cattawade Nature Reserve mean there is joy to be seized all year round.

Commuting from this coastal town could not be easier.

The fastest train will bring you to London is just under and hour, this is amazing when contemplating the seaside location.

This town is one of the most affordable coastal areas to buy a house in Essex.

The average price of a home in Manningtree is £286,730,

This is extensively less than the average for both Essex and London!

Considering Manningtree’s wonderful seaside situation and its excellent connectivity, it is obvious why it makes our list.

Ready to move to a pretty Essex village?

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Are you considering moving to one of the many pretty Essex villages?

Did any of these locations appeal to you?

The county offers locals some truly exceptional value for money

Now that you know where all of the prettiest villages in Essex are, it is time to begin planning your dream move.

You can start organising your move to Essex today!

GoodMove are an Essex-based removals company and will make the moving process an easy and stress-free task for you.

We take great pride in ensuring everything runs smoothly and seamlessly, helping you to settle in your new home right away.

As such, in addition to our competitively priced removals package, we can also offer additional services such as temporary or long-term storage facilities should you require them.

We cover all areas of Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex and our friendly estimators can call round at a time convenient to you and strategically plan your move to perfection.

To find out more about how we could get your dream move to Suffolk or any other location underway don’t hesitate to call us on the number listed above.

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