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Rayleigh – a well-connected small town with mostly spacious family homes and only a handful of smaller properties.
Rayleigh is a town in the district of Rochford in Essex, situated between Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea. It is just over 30 miles from central London. There has been a settlement here since Saxon times, and in medieval times the forests around the town were royal hunting grounds. Its most significant historic monument is the remains of the Norman Rayleigh Castle.
In more modern times, the late 20th century saw many new housing estates appear on former greenfield sites around the town. Its market-town feel distinguishes it from nearby Basildon, and its schools and proximity to London make it popular with families.
Bus services run by Arriva Southend and First Essex usually terminate at Rayleigh railway station. Greater Anglia runs the rail line which leads from Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street, stopping at Rayleigh and running every 10 minutes during rush hour. First Essex also operates an hourly coach service to Stansted Airport.
By road, Rayleigh is connected via the A127 to Southend in the east, and to Basildon in the west. Fourteen miles north, via the A130, is Chelmsford.
Rayleigh has number of parks, playing fields and play areas. An old market town, it has retained much of its traditional character and is a busy shopping hub. There is still a small indoor market every week.
Kingley Woods is the only surviving ancient wood in the town, but this is rich in wildlife. Wheatley Wood is an area of broadleaved trees planted in the 1990s and both areas are great for dog walking and birdwatching.
Rayleigh has two secondary schools: Sweyne Park School and FitzWimarc School. It also has seven primary schools – Rayleigh Primary, Grove Wood, Down Hall, Edward Francis, Our Lady of Ransom (Catholic), and Wyburns.
St Nicholas Church of England Primary School, a long-established school for the adjoining village of Rawreth, was relocated in 2006 to a new building just on the outskirts of Rayleigh. Beauchamps High, an outstanding 11-18 comprehensive school, is in nearby Wickford.
If you are moving to Rayleigh, there are several estate agents clustered around the High Street that deal with sales and lettings. A selection of Chartered Surveyors are also in close proximity to the centre.
A 1 bedroom flat, maisonette or retirement apartment in the centre of Rayleigh typically costs £250,000. Similar properties with two-bedrooms are available for £300,000.
London Hill is a suburb on the outskirts of Rayleigh but still within walking distance of the station and high street shops. Here you will typically find semi-detached properties and a reasonable number of larger detached homes. A 5 bedroom house in London Hill costs £1m and the average price of a 3 bedroom semi is £300,000.
The Gattens is situated to the north east of Rayleigh, approximately 2 miles from the high street and is home to a selection of very impressive, uniquely designed properties.
A 4 bedroom home in the sought-after parkland setting of The Gattens has an average cost of £750,000, and you can also find many larger, exclusive homes with sprawling gardens in the same location for £1.5m or more.