Epping is quiet and crime seems rare.
The high street has the usual surfeit of average (and worse) Chinese and Indian restaurants. There are a couple of Italian restaurants which are OK and a few others such as an American 50's style diner and a greasy spoon cafe. There's a Thai pub nearby in Epping Green and another on the Robin Hood roundabout just to the South. Otherwise, pubs in general seem pretty dire here but maybe it's just me.
The high street has a reasonably sized Tesco, an M&S food store and a small Argos (for preorder & pickup/home delivery only). There are one or two of each of the usual necessity-type shops: butcher, greengrocer, bakery, pharmacist, newsagent (one of which houses the local post office), hardware/houseware stores. There are a few specialist shops such as an art gallery, a craft shop and a few small fashion boutiques. Other shopping is limited. Much of the high street is still charity shops, nail salons, hairdressers.
There are three or four dental surgeries none of which I'd particularly recommend. There is a clinic comprising a handful of GPs and practice nurses and a small hospital with no A&E. There is a gym if you are into that sort of thing.
There's a Royal Mail sorting office, a small police station and a fire station.
There are a couple of primary schools one of which which was recently moved to a lovely new site in a quieter part of the village. The local high school has not been performing very well in recent years but notably better schools are few and quite far away (Debden, Sawbridgworth, Ingatestone, Chelmsford) and competition for places is fierce. Some of these places are hard to get to by public bus. School buses, where they exist, are expensive.
There's very little on-street parking in the high street; expect to use one of the car parks if you're nipping into town, it'll cost about 20p though.
The nearest town with retail parks etc. is Harlow, 8-10 miles away so expect to be doing a lot of your shopping there. Harlow is one of the New Towns, heavily landscaped and rather characterless - every road and roundabout looks like every other road and roundabout - but with a town centre mainly fashioned out of ugly 1960's concrete.
There's lots of greenery within walking distance or 5 mins in the car: the village has large swathes of forest to the North and South. There are many houses on the outskirts of the village overlooking fields and woodland.
Transport links into London are quite good. The village is on the very end of the Central Line; it takes about 30 mins to get to Stratford and about an hour into central London. Network Rail is not so convenient - if you don't want to use the tube and are prepared to drive there, you can get the train at Harlow, Chingford, Waltham Abbey, Chelmsford. If you prefer the car, only a couple of miles to the South you can get onto the M25 at J26 and a couple of miles to the North you can get onto the M11 which will take you North to Bishops Stortford, Cambridge and the A1, or South towards Stratford, London East End, City & Docklands.
If what's important to you is peace and quiet, or an easy commute into the City, Epping may be for you. But if nightlife is still important to you or if you have children in or near their teens, I'd advise against it.
Answered on Jul 6 2011,