The village is situated approximately halfway between Bishop's Stortford and Great Dunmow, and on Stane Street, the Roman road from Braughing to Colchester. The A120 road and Stansted Airport is at the north.
Takeley consists of a number of 'Ends' and 'Greens', namely Brewer's End (John le Brewer, 1327), The Street, Smith's Green, Bamber's Green (Bambrose Green, from the Banbury family at Sheering Hall), Molehill Green (Morrell's Green), and Mill End.
When Takeley was first recorded by the Normans in 1086–87 its boundaries were approximately 8 miles (13 km) in length, with a total area of 3,000 acres (12 km²). However, since the development of Stansted Airport, it has lost nearly a third of its land.
The previous Cooper's End was demolished and the cargo area of Stansted Airport stands on the ground once occupied by the settlement. The access to and from the airport at Cooper's End was closed briefly in January 1991 but was re-opened in November of that year. Cooper's End roundabout was constructed as part of the new airport, and is just west of the terminal.