Loughton Station on the Central Line

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Loughton is the place for cafe culture and designer shopping, made famous by a certain television lifestyle show! It has a range of bars and restaurants where you can blend day into evening and evening into night. Lying alongside the edge of Epping Forest and with its Central Line station, it makes the ideal start or finishing point for a trip into the forest. The town also hosts the National Jazz Archive in its library just behind the High Street, next to Loughton Leisure Centre. Across the road is Loughton Cricket Club, founded in 1879 and famous for its thatched pavilion, one of many historic buildings echoing a Victorian heyday when rail access to the forest gave Loughton the nickname the "East Enders Playground".

A suburb of Loughton, Debden also has a Central Line tube station plus Epping Forrest College, East 15 Acting School (part of Essex University), the Post Office Museum and the print works for the Bank of England. It is also home to the headquarters of Higgins the builders with an impressive building on the corner of a business park which is home to the Epping Forest Shopping Park. Nearby is the headquarters of Sir Alan Sugar’s empire, relocated from Brentwood. Loughton Hall is the area’s most distinguished building and is now a care home. The current Grade II listed building was constructed in 1878 on the site of an earlier hall that was owned by Mary Tudor two months before she became Queen Mary of England in 1553. Shoppers are well cater for with Debden's main throughfare, Loughton Broadway, full of shops whilst between the Broadway and Shopping Park is CRATE, a unique boutique shopping village.



The earliest structure in Loughton is Loughton Camp, an Iron Age earth fort in Epping Forest dating from around 500 BC. Hidden by dense undergrowth for centuries it was rediscovered in 1872. There are references to a settlement at Loughton from Anglo Saxon times and Edward the Confessor granted various estates in the area to Harold Godwinson (Later King Harold II) who was also connected with nearby Waltham Abbey. In the Norman Doomsday Book, it is named Lochintuna.

As with many settlements in the area, significant change came in the early 17th century with the coaching routes stopping at Loughton then again in 1856 when the railway arrived. Development of the area was achieved by enclosing and building on the forest. In the 19th century demand on forest land was at its height and many commoners were concerned at the loss of this resource and common land to private owners and developers. Some Loughton villagers defied landowners to practice their ancient right to lop wood and this led to a series of court cases which finally succeeded in achieving the protection afforded by the Epping Forest Act of 1878 which preserved the forest for use by the public. One of the cases was brought by brought by the Loughton labourer Thomas Willingale and there is a plaque to him on the wall outside John the Baptist Church in Church Lane. Lopping Hall, in the High Street, opened in 1884 and was paid for by the Corporation of London to compensate villagers for the loss of traditional rights to lop wood. It is now an arts centre.

Loughton established itself as a commuter belt for London attracting middle class workers during the Victorian and Edwardian period. Expansion continued and at the end of the Second World War families from the devastated areas of East London were moved to new estates built on the edge of Loughton at Debden.  


Visit Loughton

Loughton sits on the edge of northeast London offering a leafy retreat and gateway into Essex. It is connected to the Capital’s bus and tube network, the M11 and M25 motorways and pathways, cycle routes and horse tracks through Epping Forest, which lies to the west of the town. Along its south-eastern side, the River Roding flows into east London passing through Roding Valley Meadows, 1.5 miles of traditional river-valley habitat managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust and open to the public.

Loughton’s village history can be traced back to the Doomesday Book and its growth into a town began in 1615 when a new road was built from London to Newmarket and Cambridge. Loughton became an important coaching stop bringing inns, smithies and shops to cater for travellers. It also brought opportunities for highway men including the legendry Dick Turpin who started out as a local butcher but found that robbery paid better and hid out at Loughton Camp, the remains of an Iron Age fort deep in Epping Forest. Another boost to the town’s growth came in 1856 when the Victorians made it a stop on a new railway into London. This enabled the daily transport of fresh farm produce into the city. It also allowed city workers to move out and created Loughton as the commuter town it remains today. As train travel became accessible to all, the railway brought Londoners out into the countryside for leisure, to enjoy the charms of country living and the delights of the forest. Today, as the Central Line tube trains emerge into open countryside and travel to and beyond Loughton, the views and thrill of escaping the city is just as exhilarating as the Victorians must have experienced from their steam-hauled carriages.

Loughton sits in the south of Epping Forest District and is one of six distinct towns sharing the landscape with scattered villages and hamlets found around the forest in the south, along the Lee Valley to the west and amongst farmland and greenbelt stretching to the north. A network of footpaths, many treading ancient routes, link these communities making Loughton an idea starting point for exploring both Epping Forest and further afield. With its cafes, restaurants and pubs, explorers can fortify themselves before venturing out or reward themselves upon their return. Loughton’s café culture also rewards those who just enjoy relaxing and watching the world go by, or who might hope to glimpse celebrities from the popular TV series The Only Way is Essex. Loughton features in TOWIE and shops in the High Street are directly connected to cast members. For those looking for retail therapy, Loughton offers a range of shops with their own renowned sophistication and style. This extends to adjacent Buckhurst Hill and Loughton Broadway. Both locations are just one stop on the Central Line either side of Loughton. Debden is the stop for Loughton Broadway and the Epping Forest Shopping Park which sits a stone’s throw from the Bank of England’s print works, where all the English bank notes are printed. Also worth seeking out close to the station is Crate Loughton, a community of local start-up retailers within an enclosed courtyard, each trading out of stylishly stacked and converted containers.

Situated alongside the eastern edge of Epping Forest, Loughton is the ideal starting point for those wishing to spend time exploring this ancient woodland. On offer are rare and important habitats from forest with open glades to grassland plains, heathlands and wetlands plus numerous ponds and lakes. It is enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and horse riders with paths and tracks specially prepared for each. The forest is manged by the City of London, overseen by twelve members of the Court of Common Council and four locally elected Verderers. Entering the forest from Loughton, visitors step straight from pavement into dense canopied woodland and can follow in the footsteps of Dick Turpin to reach Loughton Camp. Then go further to find a second Iron Age fort in the forest, Ambresbury Banks. Walking amongst these ancient earthworks, surrounded by majestic beech trees, is like travelling back in time. Or take a different direction towards High Beech, an open high point in the forest from which retreating Londoners watched their city burn during the Great Fire of 1666. Here visitors will also find refreshments in the form of the Kings Oak pub and two tea huts, one hut by the car park and the other just off the Epping New Road. This second hut is a popular stop for walkers, horse riders and especially motorcyclists for whom the area has historic significance being the location of the country’s first speedway track opening the 1928 with an inaugural crowd of 30,000 travelling out from London. Today the pace is far more relaxed both in the pub, behind which the track was situated, and the tea hut which is still run by a member of the original family that served all those speedway fans. Traveling further southwest the forest opens up at Connaught Water, a popular spot for bird watching and fishing, with trails around the lake and on to the nearby visitor centre alongside Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. Built in 1543 for King Henry VIII and renovated by order of Queen Elizabeth 1, the lodge is open to visitors and offers one of the best views of the forest from its top floor.

Map & Directions

Road Directions

Loughton is just north of London. It can be found on junction 5 of the M11 but beware - you can only leave north-bound and join south-bound. (It is said this is because the Bank of England printing works are in Loughton and the thinking was that any robbers would have to flee south rather than a more problematic and speedy flight north).

Public Transport Directions

Loughton is on the Central Line and connected to London by TfL bus routes.


Type:Towns & Villages

Loughton, Essex, IG10 3SA

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