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The local area guide to living in Manningtree

Manningtree is a tiny town and civil Parish on the River Stour, in the county of Essex in England. It has claimed to be the smallest town in England with a population of 911, as per the 2011 census. This claim is, however, fiercely disputed by the people of Fordwich, Kent. Manningtree is sandwiched between the major towns of Ipswich and Colchester

Manningtree's name is considered to derive from 'many trees', and the town first began to grow through the wool trade in the 15th century. After wool's decline, it was corn, timber and coal that took precedence. And, for two centuries, it was an important brewing centre and port. Even today, the brewing industry is still important in nearby Mistley.

A large proportion of buildings in the centre of the town have a Georgian facade at their front, which hides their Tudor and Elizabethan origins. This aesthetic gives the town a unique character and charm, especially along the High Street. There are over 100 Grade 2 listed buildings in Manningtree, and almost the whole town is a Conservation Area.

Information about the local residents

Manningtree's small population is generally older than other towns in England, with an average age of 46 compared to the nation's 39. Despite having an older population, the Tendring District is suitable for families with young children as 24% of households have dependent children.

A large majority own their own home - nearly 75%, which is much higher than England's 63%. In addition, almost three quarters of residents would describe their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

These days, Manningtree has a friendly and active community. There are several voluntary organisations, many thriving businesses, and lots of places to socialise, shop, eat and drink.

There is also the Stour Sailing club, which holds a regatta every summer - a big family day out where people gather on the beach to cheer on the competitors.

What's more, a popular beer festival on Quay Street is organised annually by the locals. All year round there are celebrations and events to look forward to.

Nearby schools

Manningtree is perfect for families, with many schools in the immediate area and close by. These include Applegarth Kindergarten, Busy Bees Pre-School, Highfields and Lawford C of E Primary schools, and Manningtree High School.

While these offer some great options, for more choice, Colchester is only 10 miles away and has some excellent, high-performing schools with a variety of curricular focuses and approaches.

Getting around

Manningtree has its own railway station, which connects directly to London Liverpool Street, 59 miles away. The journey takes 1 hour and 25 minutes, which makes it a viable route for commuters. It also has very quick and regular links to Colchester to the west, and Ipswich to the east.

For those who prefer to drive, Manningtree is situated between two major roads - the A12 and A120. It is just a 20-25-minute drive to both Colchester and Ipswich, and less than 2 hours to central London.

Local shops

Manningtree, despite its diminutive size, has a great selection of shops, pubs and places to eat. It has several clothes shops, a newsagent, a florist, arts and crafts shops, several cafes and restaurants, several takeaways, a dentist surgery, a doctors surgery, a gym and a beauticians.

Manningtree has also been a market town since the middle ages, receiving its Royal Charter in 1238, and this has not changed in recent years. The market is held every Saturday at Market Place and all manner of items can be bought.

For more serious shoppers, Colchester and Ipswich can be reached via car, bus or train and have major High Street brands, boutique shops and craft stores. Colchester's Lion Walk Shopping Centre and Red Lion Yard are right in the heart of the town, and have a fantastic selection.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.