But this is no sleepy backwater. Billericay boasts a bustling High Street, excellent schools and enviable road and rail links with the capital.
However, you’ll need deep pockets to bag a home in this desirable location. The current average house price is sitting at £480,000, which is substantially higher than in nearby Basildon. And if you set your sights on one of the grand detached properties in the Golden Triangle you’ll have to stump up considerably more. You can look at the most up-to-date prices here.
Compare Billericay with its neighbour Basildon by reading our detailed guide.
Living in Billericay: what to expect
Billericay is enveloped by countryside, which means that the best houses have views over mature woodland. Elegant period houses and cottages are scattered across the main streets but the dominating property type is grand 20th-century detached homes.
These properties are set in spacious grounds, making them ideal homes for families. Parents can then take advantage of the excellent nearby schools, which include the 'outstanding' Mayflower High School.
Access to the countryside is easy but residents don't have to go far to find shops, cafés and restaurants. High Street is filled with independent businesses and high-street favourites, including a Waitrose store. Local services, such as hairdressers and banks, can also be found here.
Where to start your property search
If you have a flexible budget and want the best that Billericay can offer, take a look at the properties in the ‘Golden Triangle’.
The triangle consists of Norsey Road, Stock Road and Little Norsey Road and has homes that benefit from proximity to Norsey Woods. Along these streets you will find stately detached homes with landscaped gardens, large driveways and additional extras such as summer houses and even small orangeries.
If you'd prefer a period property you can take your pick of the smattering of historical houses in the area. Norsey Road has a few listed cottages among its grand homes. Look out for coloured weather-boarding and internally exposed beams.
Western Road is another good place to look for a period property. It has a selection of Georgian houses with open fireplaces, high ceilings and large gardens. Some have been extended and had their lofts converted to create extra living space.
Properties from the late 1800s are in evidence on Laindon Common Road. The cottages found here have extensive gardens and some also have access to paddocks and private allotments. Yet more character cottages are available on Coxes Farm Road, all of which overlook open farmland.
For substantial family homes built in the 1920s, take a look at the private road of Lion Lane. This road has roomy four-bedroom homes that come with generous rear gardens.
The remainder of property in Billericay dates from the post-war era. Substantial detached homes from the 1990s and early 2000s line roads such as Second Avenue whereas slightly more modest four-bedroom homes can be found on Norsey View Drive.
Semi-detached homes are in good supply too – take a look at Wakefield Avenue for spacious four-bedroom versions set back from the road, or search along Tye Common Road.
If your budget is less flexible, there are plenty of terraced homes in the area. Modest three-bedroom varieties are available on roads such as Morris Avenue and Beams Way, all of which come with decent gardens.
Outside Billericay: If you can't find what you're looking for in Billericay itself, have a look at Ramsden Bellhouse. It's a popular area for those looking for large houses with big gardens.
Alternatively, take a look at Stock. This is an ideal place to search for a period property as it has an excellent selection of late Georgian and Victorian brick cottages.
Getting around Billericay
By rail: Billericay station takes residents to London Liverpool Street or Southend Victoria. The former journey takes just 30 minutes.
The A127 is also convenient towards the south of the town. It can be used to reach Romford or travel to Southend on the coast.
By air: The closest airport is Southend Airport, which is just a 35-minute drive away. This often-overlooked airport offers flights to the UK and Europe, with new routes this year including Budapest, Cologne and Dubrovnik.
For even more choice, residents can make the 40-minute car journey to Stansted Airport. From here travellers can head to a wide selection of European destinations as well as long-haul locations such as Las Vegas.
Things to do in Billericay
History: Cater Museum is a small private museum with free entry on the High Street. It's dedicated to the history of Billericay and its community, and has displays on its local businesses and industries.
Cultural: Every summer the Billericay Summerfest sets up shop on the Elizabeth II Playing Field. This event is popular among locals and raises money for the community and local charities. Attractions include trade and food stalls, fairground rides, live music and a showground arena.
The Billericay Beer Festival also takes place during the summer. Festival-goers can enjoy a selection of real ale and cider from local and national breweries alongside live music, hot food, pies and cheese.
Beer fans can also show their support of real ale by visiting the Billericay Brewing Company. This micro-brewery offers tours so that visitors can learn about how it brews its range of local beers. Free tastings are offered afterwards and bottles can be bought from the accompanying shop.
Film-lovers can take advantage of the offerings of Billericay Cine, a community cinema held in the local library. Two films are shown per month – 'Film Thursday' is aimed at adults and 'Family Sunday' shows family-friendly films. Genres range from blockbusters to musicals and attendees can enjoy a range of snacks and drinks.
Outdoors: Norsey Wood Nature Reserve spans 175 acres and is filled with ancient woodland. Walkers can explore this Site of Special Scientific Interest by following its many paths. In spring, a carpet of bluebells draws extra visitors to the reserve, but you can look out for birds and animals year-round.
More mature woodland can be found in Hanningfield Reservoir. The visitor centre offers panoramic views but the area is best explored on foot. Bird-watching hides are available for wildlife enthusiasts and anglers can enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the area.
Other local green areas include Mill Meadows and the Queen Elizabeth II Field. The latter is known locally as 'Sun Corner' and is the home of local fetes and fairs.
Shopping: High Street and Radford Way act as the town's shopping district. Here residents can browse through independent shops plus well-known stores like New Look, Argos and Clarks. These roads are also the best place to find bars, chain restaurants and local eateries.
For more popular shops, residents can head over to nearby Basildon to visit the Eastgate and Westgate shopping centres. These centres include big names such as Debenhams, Next and Topshop.
Food and drink: A popular day-time haunt is Slipped Discs' Brown Sugar. This independent coffee shop serves slabs of homemade cake, after which you can browse the shop's large collection of vinyl records and CDs.
Drinking holes include independently run bars such as Bar Zero. By day it offers crowd-pleasing food, including afternoon tea, but at night residents can take advantage of a large cocktail list.
A sophisticated night out can be enjoyed at Harry's Bar. It supplies its guests with continental tapas and wine and has live music every Saturday.
Aside from familiar chain restaurant fare, residents can also pick quirkier venues such as The Magic Mushroom. This popular restaurant has a contemporary menu with traditional influences – tuck into dishes such as roasted pheasant breast or spiced pork belly.
The Chantry House on the High Street was built in 1510 and is believed to have later been the home of Christopher Martin, the treasurer to the Pilgrim Fathers who left for the New World on board the Mayflower in 1620. Martin and others on the ship are said to have met at the house before the ship sailed.
6 reasons to live in Billericay
- Convenient commute to London
- Idyllic rural lifestyle
- Surrounded by country parks
- Excellent selection of schools
- Plenty of amenities
- Large homes accompanied by generous gardens
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Have you been searching for the perfect mix of commuter connections and rural life? Tell us if Billericay fits the bill in the comments below…