Your Guide to Brentwood
Brentwood has recently been put on the map by the reality stars of The Only Way is Essex. But there is far more to this Essex town that boutiques and nail bars. Offering London living with the countryside on your doorstep, Brentwood really has it all.
One of the big attractions of Brentwood is its excellent transport links. Regular trains take less than 40 minutes to get into Liverpool Street. If you travel from neighbouring Shenfield, however, then this is halved to 20 minutes.
On 26th August, 2015, the Evening Standard featured Brentwood and mentioned the new Crossrail connection that will undoubtedly boost Brentwood’s appeal further.
This makes Brentwood a haven for city commuters. It is also right next to the M25 and in close proximity to both Stansted and Southend airports. For shopping, the Lakeside complex in Thurrock is only a 20 minute drive away.
There is an excellent range of houses for sale in Brentwood. The popular Hartswood area surrounding the station is where you will find grand, detached family homes with large gardens. These properties also benefit from being near to King George’s Playing Fields, which is popular with young families.
There are also many modern apartment complexes in close proximity to the station, offering an ideal base for commuters and young couples alike. Getting closer to the High Street you will find a wide range of period properties, with Victorian terraces and villas in ready supply. Affluent west Brentwood features large, detached houses within easy distance of both the M25 and A12, whilst east Brentwood benefits from being closer to Shenfield Station, where a fast train can get you into Liverpool Street in just 20 minutes.
Brentwood has an excellent range of both private and state schools, making it a popular location for young families. There are a range of primaries rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, whilst St Helen’s Catholic School and St Mary’s Church of England school are amongst several ‘outstanding’ primary schools in Brentwood.
As for secondary schools, the town is home to the renowned Brentwood School. A private institution founded in 1557, this school sits on extensive grounds in the middle of the town.
The Ursuline Convent High School and Endeavour are rated good by Ofsted, whilst the ever-popular St Martin’s is deemed ‘outstanding’.
Brentwood has over 1,200 hectares of woodland, including three huge country parks. This means it can offer the best of both worlds: on the doorstep of the city, but with plenty of open space to get away from it all.
Thorndon Park is a particular gem, surrounding the imposing Thordon Hall and its gardens which were designed by none other than Capability Brown. Golfers will also find many quality courses in Brentwood and the surrounding areas.
Pubs and cafes
Brentwood High Street is an excellent shopping area, with a great mix of chain stores and independent shops. Usual suspects Marks and Spencer, Boots, Clarks and Monsoon all feature, alongside a wide range of independent fashion boutiques, gift shops and salons.
Brentwood is home to dozens of restaurants, including chains such as Pizza Express, Nando’s and Chimichanga. However an exciting range of independent eateries have sprung up in recent years.
The Brentwood Cafe is a hip London-style joint that offers excellent breakfasts and lunches and runs a popular after-school club for young families – this is one of the reasons Brentwood is so popular for Londoners – there is always a little London town feel about it, while also being very Essex..
Charlie’s Deli is a destination for foodies, specialising in locally-sourced produce. Trendy newcomer Meat Stop on Crown Street is also winning rave reviews for its burgers.
Serious foodies must also visit Calcott Hall Farm, a truly spectacular farm shop just outside of the town centre.
For those who like country pubs, there are many gems to be found in the pretty villages surrounding Brentwood; Margaretting’s White Hart Inn is just one example.
Photo: “The Chapel of Thomas ‘a Becket, High Street, Brentwood” by John Winfield. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.