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Top places to live in Essex Epping

Surrounded by acres of green space, you’d never know this market town is just 17 miles from the capital. Add an ancient forest, period charm, and its own tube station, and you’ve something special. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

WHY?

A thriving village community on the fringes of a huge forest, yet within a quick and easy commute of the capital, this historic market town has always been a popular hotspot. Add a bustling High Street lined with all manner of eateries, good schools, loads of places for outdoor fun and sports, plus its very own tube station, and it’s a no-brainer as to why Epping has city families flocking to move here.

EAT

Whether you’re after a latte and croissant, a hearty pub lunch or a special occasion tasting menu, Epping has something to suit all tastes. For brunch, the pooch-friendly Fred & Doug’s is a must – try their full English, including smashed avocado, sourdough toast, halloumi. Delish! Fancy something more filling? Then head to Theydon Oak, a real gem of a country pub, where you can relax in the spacious patios and lawn while listening to the babbling brook and watching the kids have fun in the pub’s all-weather play area. For something sans offspring, Roza Restaurant comes with a contemporary Turkish menu and insta-worthy design, making it a dining destination that also packs a pretty punch when it comes to cocktail hour.

SHOP

The High Street has recently had its pavements widened, so it’s an even lovelier place to shop or enjoy a spot of people watching. There aren’t that many indie biz’s to choose from but surely that means it’s ripe for change. For now, there are still some good pickings… You can quite easily spend an hour or two at Muddy Award finalist, Artisan Gallery. We love stalking this family-run gallery’s Insta – amazing quirky works for your walls from a truly diverse range of artists. If you’re looking to treat your wardrobe, you’ll find cool, classy and quirky pieces from a number of indie boutiques, including Blush Boutique, The Wardrobe and Breezy Boutique. Sadly, the brilliant gift shop, Todd Sloane, is currently closed, but other more long-time locals include Lathams, which has been selling furniture and accessories since 1971, and Epping Bookshop, which has been going for 34 years.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

If you and your clan are into outdoor pursuits, you’ve hit bingo here. Epping Forest is perfect for anything from a weekend stroll and kite flying to wild and muddy mountain biking. And being London’s largest open space at around 6,000 acres of ancient woodland, you can always find a quiet picnic spot. Make sure you check out the Iron Age hillfort in Ambresbury Banks, about a 40-minute walk from the High Street and an extra-lovely part of the forest. Other must-visits include kiddy-fave Epping Ongar heritage railway, and the gorgeous mansion of Copped Hall, which dates back to 1758. Plus, for everything from animal farms to white water rafting, Lee Valley is a one-stop destination for family-packed fun, just a 15-min car trip away.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

From cute cottages to grand Edwardians, you can take your pick of period properties in Epping. But being this close to the capital, they don’t come cheap, with the average house price being a whisker under £600,000. One-bed flats start at £295,000, terraces are just shy of £500,000, while detached homes go for £900,000 but these can go right up two over £2,500,000.

HOT PROPERTY

5-bedroom detached home set in over an acre, on for £2,600,000 with Moveli

SCHOOLS

Epping’s five primary schools are all ranked ‘good’ by Ofsted, as is local comp, Epping St John’s CofE, while Davenant Foundation School in Loughton is rated outstanding. Impressive private schools include St Aubyn’s prep school, Saint Nicholas School in Harlow, plus co-ed through schools, Chigwell School and nearby Brentwood School, all four in our Muddy Best Schools Guide.

BEST KEPT SECRET

Ooh, not one, but two! First up, England’s most famous highway man Dick Turpin and his mugging mates were said to have lived in some kind of cave in Epping Forest. Secondly, Winston Churchill was an MP for Epping from 1924-1945, including during his tenure as Prime Minister in World War II.

COMMUTE

The cherry on the cake for Epping has to be the super-easy commute into the city, with the journey from Epping Underground to Bank taking a blink-and-you-miss-it half an hour, while a shopping trip into Oxford Circus for the West End takes just 45 mins. As Epping is the last stop on the Central line, you’ll be first to bagsie a seat in the morning, and an annual travelcard costs a reasonable £2,568.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live 

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