It’s that time of year when the internet starts gossiping about the best places to live and you start doubting your life choices – all thanks to The Sunday Times’ annual review of cities, towns, boroughs and villages up and down the country. And it turns out Saffron Walden, a picture-postcard town in Essex just an hour from London, is up there with the best.
Wadhurst in East Sussex stands at the very top of the podium, after being named the best place to live in the whole of the UK – while Saffron Walden, the whimsical Essex town filled with colourful cottages and booming independent businesses, has been named the best in the east of England.
How were the ‘Best Places to Live for 2023’ chosen?
The Sunday Times took all sorts of things into account when picking the favourites for 2023, including house prices, transport links, quality of local schools, community spirit, green spaces, and wifi speeds.
What won the easterly crown for Saffron Walden was its excellent schools, country feel, handy links to Cambridge and London, and its pretty high street heaving with cutesy, crafty spots.
What is there to do in Saffron Walden?
Saffron Walden is full of quirky and in other ways brilliant independent spots. Highlights include: Chater’s, a multifunctional café slash wine bar slash restaurant slash general store; Mini Miss Bread, a wholesome bakery selling everything from sourdough to freshly baked cookies; and Tipi Coffee, a family-run coffee shop hailed from east London. All these new and contemporary spots opening up make the town a popular spot for younger couples and families.
The town really comes alive on Saturdays when the market square fills with shoppers on the hunt for fresh and/or artisan goods. There are also some cracking pubs, including The Railway Arms, which is loved by regulars for its real ales and weekly quizzes.
How far is Saffron Walden from London?
Saffron Walden itself doesn’t have a train station, but it’s a short three mile drive to Audley End, which will get you to Tottenham Hale and London Liverpool Street in less than an hour. You can also get to the gorgeous city of Cambridge in less than 20 minutes.
When all is said and done, we can totally see the appeal. The higgledy high street of dreams, the quirky independent foodie spots, and the general countryside vibes. We reckon a day trip is on the cards!
Also published on Medium.