Newest Review: ... 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 mar... more
Not A Born And Bred Essex Girl But I Do Like Romford!
Romford in General
Member Name: lak11
Romford in General
Date: 10/01/11, updated on 10/07/12 (398 review reads)
Advantages: Many facilities and good transport links.
Disadvantages: Busy at times.
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.
Summary: A good place to shop and be entertained with good travel links.