Well I am not an Essex girl. I was born and bred in London, both north and east. I have, like many Londoners, moved out a little. I now live in an outer London borough which has an Essex postcode. I live a short drive, or a fairly short bus ride away from Romford, Essex. I have heard it referred to as the East End but I would strongly disagree with this. As a London child, I thought of the county of Essex as being in the countryside!
I now spend many a weekend at Romford, mainly for its shopping and sometimes for the entertainment. I have eaten at a many restaurants in this area and am familiar with many of its shops.
Romford's famous market began over seven hundred and fifty years ago as a sheep market.
Here is a little of its history taken from http://www.havering.gov.uk/
"It's strange to think that Romford market once depended on the stamina of sheep. But in the 13th century, the distance they could walk in a day was a crucial factor in deciding whether Romford was entitled to hold a market.
Therefore two leagues, or six miles, were reckoned to be the maximum distance of a one-day sheep drive. Since there was no other market within that distance, King Henry III (1242-1247) granted Romford permission to hold one every Wednesday as an outlet for the Hornchurch leather trade.
That six-mile marker remains the minimum distance between markets. It is the legal bedrock on which Romford has successfully fought off the setting up of other markets.
A Tuesday market was established by 1633, and a Monday market around the late 18th century, but this was doomed to failure and discontinued shortly before 1816. A similar fate fell to the Tuesday market in the 19th century.
In a spirit of optimism perhaps engendered by the end of the Great War, traders tried a daily market in 1919, but this idea was dropped in 1925, leaving the three markets that we know today."
The Market Today
Recently there have been improvements made to the paving and lighting by Havering council, home to the market. Not a huge market in length and appearance, but the design means there is room for more market stalls than it at first it seems. There is a lot of choice here. Mainly the stalls offer wares of the fruit and veg variety, and many clothing stalls are sited here too. The usual market is to be found in Market Place on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It is open for longer in the lead up to Christmas, and there is a market of sorts on some bank holidays. It is an ideal place for a market with good transport links with the rail station close buy. A huge choice of buses is available, going to destinations such as Ilford, Stratford and further out into Essex.
There are many food outlets within the market; both by way of its food stalls serving burger and hot dogs, a Chines noodle stall, and donuts and seafood is available. Close by are found cafes restaurants, pie and mash shops, bakeries and chains such as Subway, Wimpy and Macdonald's, Greg's and so much more. And there are at least two public houses along the market which serve food as well as drink.
Public Conveniences can be found. Tollgate House at the end of the market place quite recently installed toilets which includes disabled facilities. It is easy to find lavatories here as the indoor market houses them as does many of the stores edging the market such as Debenhams and T.J. Hughes.
I find the market a particularly pleasant place to visit around St Georges Day. Although many areas let this date be forgotten the market is decorated with flags and is awash with white and red bunting.
Romford is well supplied with shops and is a popular shopping destination for locals and visitors from neighbouring boroughs. As well as the market and indoor market Romford boasts the Brewery centre which was built on the old brewery grounds, and now is home to shops including The Range, Boots, Gap and Sainsbury's as well as an indoor entertainment centre which has a Myvue cinema, as well as s several restaurants which include La Tasca, Pizza Express, Nandos, Frankie and Benny's, Macdonald's and more. It also has a bowling alley which is equipped with a bar. Here children's parties can be booked. Near to this is children's indoor soft play centre.
This is where I do most of my Romford shopping as it has most stores necessary. It has phones shops, jewellers, BHS, Debenhams, Marks and Spencer's, Primark, Miss Selfridge and all the usual outlets you would expect from a busy town centre.
The opening times are:
Bank Holidays10am - 5pm
Romford Shopping Hall
This is a bit different. It too has been refurbished and modernised recently. Escalators and a lift have been installed. This indoor market houses more interesting shops and stalls selling some foreign and exotic wares such as and things just that little bit different. A stall selling both new and second-hand books, where books can be sold back to the stall holder, a fancy dress shop and various gift shops, make-up and hair care stalls. There is a haberdashery outlet for sewing and dressmaking enthusiasts. I have bought many items from this stall when I have been making costumes for my daughters and I'm always pleased with the cheap prices here. There are card and jewellery stores and much, much more, for the enthusiastic shopper like myself.
Past the main shopping centre there is an industrial estate which has an outlet for dancewear. Also to be found is a Mother care, Homebase and a Pets At Home, as well as the ever popular Romford Ice rink, often frequented by my own offspring.
Parking has improved over the last few years although it does get busy on a Saturday, and especially around Christmas, and when the January sales are being held. I have always found a parking spot although; sometimes there will be a bit of a queue. There is parking at the Liberty Centre and a market car park with reserved places for market trades as well as a few outdoor car parks. I usually find the multi-story car parks (with disabled spaces and lifts) the better choice.
There are several hotels and bed and breakfast inns but I haven't tried any of these. This might be a useful link:http://www.hotels.uk.com/romford.htm
Romford and its surrounding area were served by Oldchurch hospital. This has now been demolished and replaced by The Queens's Hospital. I recently had an appointment here and was amazed by the size of it. The consultant who I was to see became lost. It really feels as if you are walking around in circles in some departments.
CORAL ROMFORD GREYHOUND STADIUM
With many greyhound racing tracks closed in recent years, Walthamstow Stadium being one then this is a rare facility. I used to 'go to the dogs' as a child but I'm not an great supporter of this sport. But if you are interested than it can provide a good evening out as here not only can you have a flutter but there are food outlets too. It can be especially enjoyable on a warm and dry summer evening. The address is:
Essex, RM7 9DU
I have only seen this from the outside but it looks from the exterior to be a well-equipped and a large library.
The Romford area is served by many parks and open spaces, one being:
Lodge Farm Park
Lodge Farm Park is situated on Main Road, Romford. This park is a 'Green Flag winner of 2009. Its footpath loops around this park, making it a good place for those wanting a pleasant, but not too long a walk. This park has a children's area. It also has a wildflower meadow, which attracts butterflies and moths. Although many will consider this a good feature I admit to a phobia of moths and butterflies so will avoid at certain times.
King Georges Playing Field
This is situated in Eastern Avenue, Romford and is popular for sports enthusiasts. There are sports facilities such as a multi-use ball court and if not feeling that energetic then from here one can enjoy walks along the river Rom.
The Queen's Theatre is a good venue both for amateur and professional productions. One of my daughter performed here with her dancing school and I was impressed with the theatre. It offers an education and outreach programme for the area.
WHAT HAS GONE?
Sadly some of the facilities which I feel are important to a town such as Romford have gone, such as the Dolphin swimming pool. This was excellent with its wave machine and fun environment, and great facilities. My children and I had some great times here. I believe there were safety issues. Correct me if I'm wrong.
To sum up Romford, I would say firstly that I have probably missed a lot out, and if so then I apologise to any Romford dwellers. I would say it is an interesting place to visit if you don't have to travel too far, but mainly I think it is for shoppers and those making use of entertainment venues, for example its multi-screen cinema, bowling, ice rink and restaurants. Its place mainly used by its locals and neighbours. It is an Essex town with many good facilities.
As a youngster, my grandparents lived near Romford and so i visited the town quite regularly. To be honest, in that time it really hasn''t changed much in terms of its appeal and facilities (although these are, i have to say, constantly kept reviewed and updated)... which is no bad thing in my opinion!
Romford is a large town that is still just about in Essex, though the greater London border seems to be spreading and may soon swallow Romford up!
Romford always has been, and still is, fantastic for shopping. There is a massive range of shops in the main shopping centre that in my opinion you could not leave empty handed and you would be sure to find what you are looking for somewhere!
I would think though, Romford has to be most famous for its market this really is what a real market should be and makes for a great place to shop and bag a bargain!,It boast some amazing stalls and the sheer number of stalls (must be in well excess of 200 ) provide the most amazing array of goods, from fresh produce such as veg, meat and fish, to clothes and accessories to general goods.
Romford also boast the Coral greyhound Stadium which is great fun for a night out. it has a restaurant so you can watch the races in style as well as fast food to take out so you can eat at the track side. its a great place for a flutter!
I don''t think Romford will ever escape its label of being the home of a certain type..... but what is wrong with that? Romford is fun and vibrant and long shall it remain so!
When one first hears the name "Romford", I wouldn't mind betting that the first things people think of is Brewery and Dog Track! Well the dog track is still here, although technically it is just outside Romford itself, but the Brewery I'm afraid, no longer exists. I have lived in the Romford area since 1968, with just a break of four years when I first got married. We moved back here in 1978 and have lived in our current house since then. In those years, the whole face of Romford has changed, and yet, in some ways it still retains plenty of its former character. Romford is situated on the borders of London and Essex, in the London Borough of Havering. Romford itself is fairly built up, and yet within 10 minutes you can be out in the country and away from it all. Trains to the city run frequently; there are 6 an hour throughout the day, 3 an hour after 8 and there are more frequent services during rush hour. Even if the train stops at all stations on the way, you can be in Liverpool Street Station within half an hour. With a straight through train, this is halved, taking only 15 minutes. Changing at Stratford for the Jubilee Line has made journeying to the centre of London much easier, and far more comfortable. Previously, the only way was by Central Line..the red one running right across London. A nightmare any time of day; Hell on earth in the rush hour. A one day all zones travel card from Romford costs £4.90 and gives you unlimited travel on train, underground and buses right across the capital. From Romford, I can get to Heathrow and back without paying another penny. For visitors to Romford, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are market days. The market is a few hundred yards from the station, to the left. Here you will find vegetable stalls in quantities, meat vans, fish stalls, book stalls, places that sell leather goods, houshold wares, video and CD stalls, clothing of all sorts, and ma
ny stalls that sell oddments. It is a thriving market, and there is a friendly atmosphere amongst stall holders and shoppers alike. A visit to the market is a must. But do beware of the cobbles underfoot; they can get slippery at times, and are not ideal for pushing a buggy on! There are numerous places where you can get a snack during the day. As well as the usual Burger King, MacDonalds, KFC and even a Wimpey Bar, there are a number of pubs which do very reasonable meals, a Brewers Fayre, and a number of independent cafes. If you can find it in the arcade, my personal favourite is Browns, a small teashop set above a deli. Nothing to look at, but the doortep sandwiches will keep ou going all day! The bread is cut as you order, and the meat is transferred from the deli downstairs. Their fresh turkey, or salt beef sandwiches are well worth a try. And very reasonable too. Tea and coffee comes in a mug, not a cup, and there is a loo for patrons only. As it is upstairs, you wouldnt know it was there unless you were eating in the cafe. Takeaway sandwiches are also available. The shops in Romford are similar to those in other town centres. We have Marks, Debenhams, BHS, Littlewoods, Clinton Cards and dozens more. I prefer shopping in Romford rather than somewhere like Lakeside, which I find claustaphobic. I like to come out into the fresh air between shops. There are now 2 multiplex cinemas in Romford, one on the top of the Liberty 2 shopping centre, and the other, newly opened, above the Brewery shopping centre. This is on the site of the old Brewery, and together with Sainsbury's and a large car park, opened earlier this year. The only problem with the carpark, is that you have to spend £15 in Sainsburys to take advantage of it being free. Otherwise the cost of parking here is quite high. Romford also boasts its own ice rink, which can be found about 500 metres from the station, to the right and then right again. This is also
the home of the Romford Raiders ice hockey team, who train here, and play in matches. I believe they are quite a successful team. At night, Romford teems with nightclubs, pubs, wine bars, and all manner of entertainment. All ages and all tastes are catered for, and being right in the centre, there is a very good network of mini cab firms and taxi ranks for transport home. Having so many people milling about at night can be rather daunting at times. Parking in Romford can sometimes be a real pain. This has not been helped by the demolition of the largest car park in the centre, although this is now being rebuilt and refurbished. There is some car parking space just outside the town centre as well, but you must be careful where you park, as the traffic wardens are red-hot, and seem to hunt in packs! All in all, Romford has a lot to offer, and is worth a visit. There are a number of things that would not be to everyone's taste, but there is so much diversity, that I am sure there would be something available for most tastes. Come and pay us a visit.