A Slice of Island Life a Short Commute from London

One of Essex’s forgotten corners is gradually finding its way onto the map. Grab a slice of island life before everyone finds out!

Essex is often seen as being a county that has a little of everything. The birthplace of the Essex Girl and Boy, celebrated in TV shows like The Only Way is Essex, the county is also home to the breath-taking beauty of Constable Country, and picture-postcard villages like Finchingfield to the north of the county.

Look a little harder, however, and there are even more choices. Those who favour a remote location more akin to the fens should venture out into the Dengie Peninsular. And if you fancy some island living? Simply get some independent mortgage advice in Canvey Island and you can even enjoy your very own island hideaway, while still being in easy commuting distance of the city.

A short history of Canvey

The seven square mile island has been inhabited since Roman times but was predominantly given over to agriculture till the early 20th century. In the post-war years, as London expanded at an ever-growing rate and the overspill towns of Basildon and Harlow emerged, Canvey also went into a golden period, and was the fastest-growing seaside resort in the country. Then, disaster struck in 1953 with the Great Flood. Back then, sea defences were practically non-existent, and the island was evacuated, but not before 58 people lost their lives.

Subsequently, the island was reborn. Modern sea defences measuring more than two miles in length have been installed, and most properties were built in the 1960s. Today, Canvey still has its beach and a smattering of seaside leisure facilities, but it is no longer the tourist destination that it was in the early 20th century. There are more than 30,000 residents, and the southern tip of the island is dominated by the petrochemical industry.

What to pay

There really is something for every budget on Canvey. One-bedroom apartments and park homes are available for as little as £150,000, while there is a great choice of three bedroom houses around the £250,000 mark.


It might be an island, but it is not a remote one. Benfleet Station stands conveniently just across the bridge, and from there, it is a 45 minute train ride into Fenchurch Street station, with trains running every 10 minutes. Road links have been significantly improved in recent years by the addition of a second bridge, and you can be on the M25 inside 30 minutes.


Canvey has a wealth of primary schools, six of which achieved a rating of “good” or “outstanding” in the latest Ofsted reports. There are also two secondary schools, Corneleus Vermuyden and Castle View, which achieved “good” ratings.

Shops and local facilities

Canvey has a bustling town centre that has more than enough to cater for day to day needs. The Knightswick Shopping Centre is home to a Sainsburys Superstore as well as a selection of clothes shops, banks, cafes and other facilities. There is also a good choice of pubs, bars and restaurants dotted around the town, including the Labworth Restaurant, where you can enjoy a range of contemporary dishes in a Grade Two listed building with panoramic views across the estuary.