The town is famous for its four-yearly ritual of the Flitch Trials, in which couples must convince a jury of six local bachelors and six local maidens that they have never wished themselves un-wed for a year and a day. If successful the couple are paraded through the High Street and receive a flitch of bacon. The last flitch trials were held in the town in the summer of 2008, with the next scheduled for 2012. The custom is ancient, and is mentioned in the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales It also has a Maltings Museum, which explains the town's history
There is currently some unrest in the town over the proposed expansion of the nearby London Stansted Airport. While some residents argue that it will spoil the natural beauty of the town and surrounding area through light, noise and air pollution, others claim that it will lower unemployment levels and attract business to the town through passing trade. Furthermore, a new nuclear power station is planned much to the consternation of local residents.
It should be noted that Great Dunmow has a by-pass that has a by-pass. The new A120 from the M11 to Braintree is in fact a by-pass to relieve the old A120 which ran from the M11 to Ipswich. That has now been renamed the B1256, and it runs through Takeley through Rayne and past the new Notley estate(s) and at one part takes the route of the old railway line south of Dunmow that ran from Bishop's Stortford eastwards. The new B1256 bypasses the centre of Dunmow to relieve traffic there and thus the new A120 bypasses the Dunmow bypass!
Dunmow will soon have another smaller bypass that will run from the new Woodlands Estate near to Tesco travelling in a northerly direction to join up with the B184 that runs from Dunmow to Saffron Walden via Thaxted. But, owing to some disagreements, that road may not be built
Pubs and bars in the town are: The Kicking Dickey, The Saracen's Head, The Boar's Head, The Cricketers, Traffic, Dunmow Underground (Lennons), The Queen Victoria (also known as the Jalsa Ghar and Indian Restaurant) and The Chequers. The Dunmow Inn,(Now demolished)the Angel and Harp and the King's Head have recently been closed. The Dunmow Inn closed to allow a new entrance to the car park behind the Co-op Supermarket on White Street. The King's Head closed to allow a full renovation; the building is scheduled to be opened around Christmas 2007(still not open),as a hotel. The work on the site at the Dunmow Inn started in December 2006. The work will include a new Library currently under construction on a site opposite the Co-op.