Towns and villages
- 1 Chelmsford – county town
- 2 Basildon
- 3 Billericay
- 4 Braintree
- 5 Brentwood
- 6 Brightlingsea
- 7 Burnham-on-Crouch
- 8 Canvey Island
- 9 Clacton
- 10 Coggeshall
- 11 Colchester – Colchester Castle is the largest Norman keep in Britain
- 12 Epping
- 13 Frinton-on-Sea
- 14 Great Dunmow – ancient flitch town, worth a walk up and down the high street
- 15 Halstead
- 16 Harlow
- 17 Harwich
- 18 Leigh-on-Sea
- 19 Maldon
- 20 Rochford
- 21 Saffron Walden
- 22 Southend-on-Sea
- 23 Thaxted
- 24 Tilbury
- 25 Waltham Abbey
- 26 Wickford
- 27 Witham
- 28 Old Harlow
- 29 Stansted Mountfitchet – with Mountfitchet Castle, a living reconstruction of a Norman village and close to Stansted Airport
- 1 Epping Forest — Royal Forest
- 2 Foulness Island — Essex's largest island. Lies off the coast near Southend and has been under the control of the Ministry of Defence since 1916.
Contrary to popular belief and stereotypes, Essex is not actually an urban wasteland. Most of the county is rural, and has some very beautiful scenery that is not widely known to outsiders. Saffron Walden, in the north-west of the county, epitomises this defiance of the classic Essex stereotype, as do many of the smaller towns and villages. Essex is bordered by Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, the North Sea to the east, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the south via the Thames Estuary and Greater London to the south west.
Many Essex residents especially in the southwest of the county work and commute in London. Most say it's like their second home. But do not tell people from Essex they're Londoners despite some southwestern parts being inside the M25 circle.
Accents vary in Essex. In the northern and rural areas of the county, you are much more likely to hear the traditional East Anglian accent. But in the south of the county the most commonly heard is known as the estuary accent; some say this is a cross between Cockney and East Anglian.
Some foreign languages are heard in some major towns and cities due to tourism and business, you will mostly hear their language in the southwest bordering Greater London. But in rural areas, locals only understand English.
- London Stansted Airport (STN IATA) near Stansted Mountfitchet.
- London Southend Airport (SEN IATA) near Southend.
Essex is excellent for car travel due to the rural nature of the county. Avoid the M25 and southwest Essex if you can as extremely congested traffic is common. But away from the M25, it is easier to drive around. Some towns and cities experience the usual rush hour, i.e., 7-9AM and 4-6PM.
Essex has a good railway network like the rest of the country with frequent trains into London and Suffolk. In the southwest of the county, the Central Line on the London Underground runs into London from Epping. Trains run frequently from early morning to night.
Contrary to popular belief, Essex actually has one of the lowest crime rates in England. However some poorer towns in the more urbanised south and west of the county should be approached with caution, especially at night.
As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can) and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected.