Gidea Park sits on the future Crossrail route. But this unique green haven has more to offer its residents than speedy commuter routes.
Living in Gidea Park: what to expect
Gidea Park’s close community feel is nurtured by its carefully planned streets – spacious, tree-lined roads and homes with extensive gardens.
The area north of Main Road is identifiable by its Arts & Crafts houses built during the first exhibition. To the south of Eastern Avenue and in Brook Road are the later 1930s houses. Many homes are completely individual, but they are typically detached with white render.
The greenery of the streets is complemented by the parks in and around the area. Some houses are placed so that they benefit from uninterrupted views over the open spaces.
Main Road serves as the principle artery which is lined with local shops, restaurants and takeaways. For more serious and mainstream shopping residents can make the short journey into Romford.
Families can benefit from the schools in Gidea Park itself and in Romford. Gidea Park Primary School, The Royal Liberty School and Squirrels Heath Infant School were all rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted.
Where to start your property search
If you want to snap up a coveted Arts & Crafts house, look to roads such as Meadway, Reed Pond Walk and Heath Drive.
Reed Pond Walk curves in a U-shape around a small copse. Its houses include detached cottages and larger double-fronted homes, all of which are well set back from the road. Meadway has smaller cottage-style homes that boast attractive landscaped gardens, whereas Heath Drive has houses that benefit from views over the golf course.
Links Avenue is another sought-after road that has views over the golf course. Houses include grand properties that have up to eight bedrooms and gabled roofs. Garages are typically connected to the house and extensive gardens back onto the golf course.
For views onto Raphael Park, seek out properties on Parkway. The road is lined with spacious bay-windowed detached homes with substantial gardens.
Some of the best examples of houses with mock Tudor fronts can be found on Crossways. They also have gabled roofs and large driveways.
If you want a home from the second exhibition phase, take a look at roads such as Wallenger Avenue and Woodfield Drive.
Here you will find four-bedroom 1930s detached properties, some of which have stained glass in their large bay windows. There’s also a number of 1930s semis with decent-sized gardens on Main Road.
Amery Gardens has a selection of four-bedroom terraced cottages, while you’ll find two-bedroom varieties on Brentwood Road. Many of these properties come with lengthy gardens and some have original cast iron fireplaces.
New-build properties are also available in the area. Detached and semi-detached homes can be found in Academy Fields Road, many of which have open-plan living areas.
If it’s a flat you’re after, try one in a conversion. Luxury apartments are available in the Grade II-listed former school house for example, on Academy Fields Road, which also has landscaped communal gardens.
Flats with exposed brickwork can also be found in The Railstore, also listed, on Kidman Close.
Getting around Gidea Park
By rail: Residents benefit from their own train station, which sits on the Great Eastern Main Line and is currently part of the TFL Rail service. Six trains an hour run to London Liverpool Street with a journey time of 33 minutes.
However, from 2019 Gidea Park will be fully served by Crossrail. From then, four additional trains an hour will run into Liverpool Street and journey times will be reduced.
For access to the Tube, locals can head to Hornchurch, which will connect them to the District Line.
By car: Gidea Park is well placed for access to significant road routes. It sits south west of the Gallows Corner Junction, which is where the A12, A127 and A118 meet. Junction 29 of the M25 is also only four miles away.
By air: A 33-minute drive will bring residents to Stansted Airport, which has both domestic and international flights. Destinations range from Barcelona and Jersey to Las Vegas, and flight operators include budget airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair. London Southend Airport is also around a 40-minute car journey away and offers international flights to destinations including Amsterdam, Lanzarote and Paris.
Things to do in Gidea Park
History: On the site of an old brewery, Havering Museum displays exhibits of Havering’s past. Special exhibitions are held regularly and seasonal events, such as a Christmas Market, are also hosted here.
Cultural: Romford Summer Theatre hosts productions in the last two weeks of June at The Rockery in the centre of Raphael Park. Residents can buy tickets to see open-air performances of Shakespeare’s plays, which in the past have included Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew.
Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch puts on an evolving programme of musicals, comedies and drama. Jazz sessions, comedy clubs and magic shows are also hosted in this 500-seat theatre. Theatre workshops are also on offer.
Outdoors: Romford Hockey Club is actually based in Gidea Park. It has three men’s teams, two ladies’ teams and a youth group. It’s open to new players and has a club house and busy bar for spectators.
Romford Golf Club also sits within the boundary of Gidea Park. The private members’ club is a favourite among local golfers thanks to its challenging course – it has even been used as a qualifying venue for The Open.
A playsite, outdoor gym and tennis courts are among the facilities offered at Lodge Farm Park. The Green Flag park has a charming footpath that loops the outskirts. In the summer, be sure to head to the meadow to see the local wildlife.
Raphael Park is a large landscaped park with large lake and sports ranging from fishing to cricket. There’s also a café and play area. At night, the park’s fountain is lit up with LED lights.
Shopping: Main Road is the spot for local shops and independent outlets, while more major retail centres and supermarkets are found in Romford, which is about a mile away.
A weekly market (Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays) is also held in Romford and hosts more than 150 traders. In fact, Romford market is one of the largest street markets in the south east and it dates back to 1247.
There's no shortage of major high-street shops in Romford either as the Liberty shopping centre also caters to locals and contains more than 100 well-known stores. The large shopping hall features a further 40 retailers.
Food and drink: Raphael’s is nestled in the park of the same name, and serves a selection of Middle Eastern-inspired dishes. Tuck into a meze platter of foods such as falafel and grilled suçuk (spicy Turkish sausage), or opt for a more substantial meal of charcoal-grilled meat. A window seat will give you generous views over the park.
Fresh pasta and gnocchi is served at Rocco’s Food & Bar Restaurant in Gidea Park Hotel. Try its speciality pizzas and homemade focaccia.
Sit by a log fire beneath open wooden beams in The Ship. The pub is a Grade II-listed building that dates back to 1762. Its mysterious and sketchy history is preserved in several documents hung on the walls. Try its Sunday Lunch and its range of cask ales.
Hidden Gidea Park
The Royal Liberty School on Upper Brentwood Road is thought to have been the first school in Britain to install an electric computer. In 1966 it received an Elliot 903, which was so large it came ready-installed in a desk.
5 reasons to live in Gidea Park
Individual character homes
Generous gardens and tree-lined streets
Close to a future Crossrail station
Views of open parkland
Romford’s shopping and market on the doorstep
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