if you are planning a move out of London with a young family, you will probably be guided by proximity to good schools and, assuming one or both of you continues to work in London, by closeness to a railway station.
To the west of Colchester (regular trains to London Liverpool Street take less than
an hour) are the Colnes (Wakes, White, Earls) and Colne Engaine, all charming with narrow country lanes and pretty traditional buildings. the primary school in Colne Engaine is particularly good and places are highly sought after. Fordham is a long strung out village but with another excellent school. Bures is a relatively big village with a very good primary school, beautiful church and good rec. with competitive football teams for all ages training at the weekend. there is a local train line (trains to Liverpool Street take approx 1 hr, 15 mins with a change at marks tey). villages such as Pebmarsh and Lamarsh are also very tucked away and attractive.
Heading towards the coast from Bures is the heart of ‘Constable country’. the villages that surround Nayland and Stoke by Nayland are very sought after with good schools, pubs and post offces. they are also picturesque with Suffolk timber- framed houses painted in traditional colours.
Wissington, Polstead and Shelley are all within easy reach. Dedham is another prominent village with a good primary school, beautiful walks, river access and good local shops. the river Stour runs through, which not only provides lovely river walks but also fshing and canoeing. the area is surprisingly undulating for Suffolk.
For the commuter who is not restricted by very early morning starts there are lovely villages a little bit further from Colchester. Boxford is attractive with a great community, primary school, shops, huge church and several pubs, some playing excellent jazz! Sherbourne Street, Edwardstone and Groton are little villages near to Boxford. Kersey has a good village school.
A little further north and you could use Sudbury as your station (an hour and 20 mins to Liverpool St, changing at mark’s tey), the Waldingfelds and the Eleighs are popular villages. they are nearer to Lavenham: picture-postcard pretty with a lot of antique, gifty shops and restaurants.
Manningtree is also a popular station as it is on the mainline north of Colchester (an hour to an hour and a quarter direct to Liverpool Street) but parking is easier. this then opens up the lovely estuary villages such as Mistley.