Chigwell on the borders of Essex and London, offers a range of property, tree-lined streets – and, of course, Alan Sugar.
On the edge of Epping Forest and just 12 miles north-east of London, lies the aspirational town of Chigwell – a favourite among footballers and minor celebrities (and major celebrities if you count Sir Alan Sugar).
House hunters will find a range of property types, alongside easy commuting links and an ever-evolving array of trendy restaurants and bars.
Living in Chigwell: what to expect
Once a rural farming community, Chigwell still has something of a village feel. It also has a slightly glamorous edge, particularly among young people. Long-running BBC sitcom Birds of a Feather was famously set in Chigwell and the area is a regular backdrop in ITV2’s reality show The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE).
Chigwell, as well as neighbouring Loughton and Buckhurst Hill, has been dubbed the “Essex Golden Triangle” for its desirability and its broad selection of substantial suburban homes and mini-mansions.
Certainly with average house values currently standing at £657,375, according to Zoopla data, property values here are well above the national average and only slightly below London. Prices slacken off as you move out of central Chigwell.
Young professionals and commuters favour the location for its cheaper and broad property options, as well as its Central Line underground station, with trains into Stratford as well as Liverpool Street and straight into central London.
Families moving out of London are tempted by the space, highly rated independent and state schools and proximity to the forest. Members of the older generation still also enjoy Chigwell life, many having moved out themselves at a younger age to raise their own families.
Where to start your property search
Forest Lane and Chigwell High Street: These are prime locations in Chigwell, where detached four- and five-bedroom houses and suburban mansions tend to start at well over £1.5 million.
The Courtland Estate: This is also a particularly desirable area for families, where three- to five-bedroom homes, usually detached, and often in a typically British, mock Tudor style, tend to have higher values.
The Bowls: Apartment and retired living can be found here, with one-, two- and three-bedroom homes available at lower prices and suitable for those seeking a foothold on the property ladder as well as home owners keen to downsize.
Close to the station: New developments of apartment blocks are springing up all the time, primarily aimed at young professionals. Many of these low maintenance homes are gated, and offer parking and communal grounds. While not necessarily the cheapest options in Chigwell, they are considered good investment opportunities.
Central Chigwell: Smaller roads behind the High Road offer less spacious detached and semi-detached houses, as well as maisonettes and apartments, with some one-bedroom properties, especially those requiring refurbishment, available at significantly lower prices.
Getting around and about Chigwell
The ease of travel in and around Chigwell is one of its greatest attractions. Access to London, rural Essex and the motorway network is second to none.
By train: Chigwell and Grange Hill underground stations (Zone 4) are on the Central Line, with regular trains every 15 minutes or so. From here commuters can travel into Stratford to connect with the Docklands Light Railway in approximately 20 minutes or go on to arrive at Liverpool Street in about 30 minutes.
By car: Chigwell is just five minutes’ drive from the M11 and 10 minutes from the M25. The A12 and the North Circular can be accessed within five minutes too.
By air: London Stansted Airport is a 45-minute drive from Chigwell and offers flights to Europe, with airlines including Ryanair and easyJet. Flybe operates up to 40 flights a day in and out of London City Airport, which is also around 22 minutes’ drive from Chigwell. Flights from here go to British destinations, as well as Amsterdam.
Things to do in Chigwell
With the family: Ancient Epping Forest is just 10 minutes’ drive from Chigwell but Hainault Forest Country Park is even closer. Here families will find approximately 300 acres of open space, with footpaths, bridleways for horse-riding, an adventure playground, a farm and a café. Also about five minutes from central Chigwell is Roding Valley Meadows nature reserve.
Shopping: Chigwell is home to a number of beauty salons and designer boutiques, as well as stylish local shops. There is a Waitrose in nearby Buckhurst Hill and it takes approximately half an hour to drive to Lakeside shopping centre.
Evening entertainment: Chigwell is something of a hub of bars and restaurants. Spanish restaurant La Sala is popular with the young and fashionable, including the TOWIE stars. Exclusive Mediterranean dining experience Sheesh is housed in 16th-century Ye Olde Kings Head, famously immortalised by Charles Dickens in Barnaby Rudge as the Maypole Inn.
Sport and fitness: Those keen to keep fit can join the private members’ Chigwell Golf Club or David Lloyd Leisure, with its gym, spa and tennis courts.
As well as its food Sheesh is also known locally for its entertainment, with world-class musicians sometimes performing upstairs in its cocktail bar.
5 reasons to live in Chigwell
Exceptional access to London on public transport and the rest of the country via the motorway network
Beautiful green spaces
Ideal for families with good schools and local activities
Diverse range of bars and restaurants and bars
A wide variety of housing styles and sizes, from apartments right up to substantial mansion homes