House-hunters on the lookout for an affordable commuter base surrounded with a plethora of shopping and sports facilities shouldn't overlook the advantages of Basildon.
With excellent road and rail links, it’s no surprise that the town has become something of a property hotspot. According to ONS figures, house prices in Basildon jumped by nearly 20% in 2016.
Despite this jump in house prices, homes remain affordable compared to the rest of the county. The average house price across Essex hovers at £354,000, dwarfing Basildon's average of £260,000. This makes it an appealing choice for those on the hunt for a bargain. (You can check the most up-to-date prices here.)
Discover what there is to see and do in Essex by reading our essential guide.
Living in Basildon: what to expect
The centre of the town is dominated by its 1960s 'Brutalist' architecture, which extends outwards onto grids of mid-to-late 20th-century properties.
However, Basildon has plans to remodel its East Square and create a new focus for the town, drawing in new shops, restaurants and cafes. Over the next 15 years more than £1 billion will be spent giving the town its new look.
But this doesn't mean that Basildon currently lacks amenities. It already has an excellent selection of high street and independent shops as well as a market and leisure centre.
There’s no shortage of green spaces in Basildon either. Residents can take full advantage of the rolling Essex countryside thanks to several nearby country parks and reserves.
Schools also have a good reputation in the area. Beauchamps High School in Wickford and Mayflower High School were both rated as 'outstanding' in their last Ofsted inspections.
Where to start your property search
Town and suburbs: Most property in and around the town consists of mid-20th-century dwellings, although several new developments are beginning to appear on the market.
One such new development is St Nicholas Mews. It sits on the western outskirts of Basildon but is still within walking distance of its centre. It has a collection of smart detached and semi-detached homes, the larger of which are double-fronted with attached garages.
For some of Basildon's more traditional housing, take a look at the homes near Northlands Park. Streets such as Jordan Way and Avon Way are full of humble 1960s apartments and semis. Gordon Road to the north of the centre also has a wide selection of detached homes built in the 1950-60s. Many have four bedrooms with decent gardens and tidy paved driveways.gordon
Bungalows are also relatively easy to find in the north of the town. Nevendon Road, for example, has a choice of 1950s three-bedroom bungalows that come with surprisingly generous rear gardens.
Also to the north is the Burnt Mills area. Look here for modest two-bedroom semis with long gardens, or check out Burnt Mills Road for some two-bedroom bungalows with occasional mock-Tudor details.
To the north west is the Noak Bridge suburb. It includes modern estates such as Handleys Chase, which has handsome detached homes with en suites and generous gardens. More characterful homes also occasionally crop up – take a look at Saling Green's properties, some of which have exposed wooden beams and open fireplaces.
Look to the Kingswood area in the west for terraced homes. Nether Priors and Codenham Straight have plenty of three-bedroom terraces with spacious interiors.
You may also want to check out Vange, a former village that has now been absorbed into the town. Search down roads such as Seaview Avenue for roomy modern detached homes with garages, or hunt down the cluster of properties that have been influenced by the Art Deco style.
In the wider district: Widen your search to the Basildon district if you want a greater selection of property.
One of the most sought-after areas is the Langdon Hills. It has some of the finest properties in the area, such as those on Westley Heights. These executive homes have four or five bedrooms and some back onto open fields. Exclusive detached properties can also be found on Wiscombe Hill.
The town of Billericay is also popular. Properties on the edge of Norsey Wood are particularly desirable thanks to their picturesque views of the countryside. If you want a house with a view, take a look down Norsey Road and snap up an elegant double-fronted detached home. Western Road also has some large well-proportioned detached properties.
Laindon has a mix of old and new property. Unusually, it has some 1930s terraces on streets such as High Road. These period properties have three bedrooms, bay windows and galley-style kitchens. At the other end of the spectrum are the houses in the Dunton Fields development. Here you will find contemporary family homes with open-plan kitchen and dining areas.
Getting around Basildon
By rail: In addition to Basildon, the wider district has a further two stations at Pitsea and Laindon. From Basildon residents can travel to London Fenchurch Street, Shoeburyness and Southend Central. A journey to London takes just 35 minutes.
By car: Basildon also has handy road connections to the capital. The A127 and A13 both connect the town to London and pass to the north and south of Basildon respectively. They also provide a link to the M25.
To reach Chelmsford, you can use the A130, which curves around the north eastern side of the town.
By air: A 24-minute drive brings locals to Southend Airport, an often overlooked airport that has flights to a selection of European destinations including Vienna, Milan and Cologne. Flight providers include the budget airlines easyJet and Flybe.
For more destinations residents can make the 40-minute drive to London Stansted, which has a choice of more than 170 domestic and international flights.
Things to do in Basildon
History: St Nicholas Church in Laindon is the oldest church in the Basildon district. The nave is the oldest part of the church, dating back more than 800 years, and the timber roof is also an impressive 500 years old. As a result, the church became a Grade I listed structure in the 1950s.
Cultural and sports: Festival Leisure Park is the town's go-to place for entertainment. It has a cinema and a bowling alley as well as two nightclubs. Plenty of chain restaurants, including Bella Italia, Nandos and Frankie & Benny’s, are also open for business.
Dramatic productions can be seen at Towngate Theatre. Resident groups include the Basildon Operatic Society, Basildon Players and Cast Production, which put on regular performances of drama, dance and music.
Basildon Sporting Village is a major draw for active residents. It has two swimming pools, a regional gymnastics centre, eight sports halls, an indoor climbing wall and an athletics stadium. Outdoor sports pitches are also available for hire.
Outdoors: Four hundred acres of woodland and meadow can be found in Langdon Hills Country Park. It's on the outskirts of Basildon and boasts panoramic views over the Thames Estuary. Walkers, cyclists and horse-riders can explore the area by following its many tracks.
Marks Hill Wood is a charming 43-acre nature reserve run by volunteers. Visitors can enjoy the peace and quiet by walking through its ancient woodland.
Northlands Park is a more formal green space complete with rose gardens, fishing lakes and a playground. But energetic youngsters can also practise their tricks in the skateboard park.
Shopping: East Walk and Town Square are key shopping areas filled with take-aways, independent businesses, gift shops, banks, florists and jewellery shops. More popular shops can be found in Eastgate Shopping Centre, which has more than 100 stores, including Next, Debenhams and New Look.
The town has been hosting its own market for the last 50 years. Basildon Market currently has more than 40 traders who sell everything from fruit and veg to fashion and jewellery.
Food and drink: A wide range of cuisines means you can pick anything from fish and chips at Hilton’s Fish Bar to a spicy curry at The Coriander. Decent Italian restaurants, such as Villagio, also serve up stone-baked pizzas and crowd-pleasing pasta dishes.
Many residents hail from London's east end, which means good pie shops have followed too. Robins Pie & Mash is one of the most popular. It's a family business selling handmade pies of British beef, but it also does the more traditional eel pie for the more adventurous.
The state-of-the-art Basildon Sporting Village is the home of the South Essex Gymnastics Club, which counts Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock as one of its members.
5 reasons to live in Basildon
- Excellent location for commuting to London
- Reasonable house prices
- Access to plenty of parks and nature reserves
- Excellent schools
- Good choice of shops
Do you think Basildon will be the place to call home? Let us know in the comments below…