Havering benefits from 2,000 acres of open space including two country parks and 40 local parks, a number of which hold green flag status. There is a tremendous variety of leisure opportunities to enjoy such as walking, cycling, horse riding and bird watching. Residents and visitors alike benefit from a healthy and high quality of life. 59% of Havering is green space: the highest concentration anywhere in London. As much as two thirds of the borough sits within the Green Belt. The Wildspace initiative, a 1,500 acre conservation park for both wildlife and leisure activities, is an integral part of the Thames Gateway development and the flagship project of the East London Green Grid.
Havering has established several strategic walking routes including Thames Chase Circle, the Ingrebourne Way and Rainham to Purfleet Path. Since 2010 it has been designated a biking borough by Transport for London which has enabled the borough to encourage cycling for residents and visitors. There has also been the creation of the new ‘Ingrebourne Way’ strategic cycling route running close to the River Ingrebourne through Harold Hill, Hornchurch, Upminister and Rainham. The aim of the project is to join together areas of green space in this borough to form one long, continuous, fully accessible public route, stretching from Lower Noke Close at Dagnam Park to the River Thames in Rainham. In addition it has a range of golf courses, swimming pools, and an ice-rink under development.
The thriving cultural quarter incorporates the major regional Queens Theatre, Brookside Theatre, Fairkytes Arts Centre and a historical National Trust property at Rainham Hall. Much of the housing and neighbourhoods display their own distinctive characteristics, with many areas and buildings of historic importance. Romford extends the leisure offer further by offering a new leisure complex and two cinemas bringing a more contemporary feel to leisure and entertainment.
A buoyant tourist industry brings ongoing investment into preservation and improvement, as well as providing an interesting and lively place to live and work with plenty of leisure and employment opportunities. Havering has become a desirable destination to stay for tourists given its close proximity and great transport links to both Essex and London.
The borough’s history stretches back to Roman times when there were settlements at Rainham and Collier Row. Located on the outskirts of Romford, Durolitum was a staging post on the main road from London to Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England.
The number of visitors to Rainham in the London Riverside area is expected to increase significantly over the next three years as Rainham Hall is developed into a full time National Trust attraction and as the Rainham Marshes are further developed. The considerably regenerated town center has restored Rainham Village to its former glory as a historic center with one of the oldest Norman churches in London, a beautiful war memorial and a new multi-million pound library close to Rainham rail station. The RSPB reserve in Rainham, the Ingrebourne Valley and the riverside foot and cycle paths make Rainham Marshes a first choice location for outdoor activities.
The historical market town of Romford has for many years been a major tourist attraction. As one of the most expansive retail, entertainment and leisure districts outside of central London it is a hive of restaurants, cafés, bars and a diverse array of shops. It’s bustling street market dates back to 1247 and the Havering Museum, located on the site of the renowned Romford Brewery, hosts an appealing programme of events and exhibitions.
Upminster Windmill is another favourite tourist attraction. This Grade II* Listed English smock mill was built in 1803 and is considered by many to be one of the very best remaining mills of its kind. It is set to receive increased funding to open it up to increased visitor numbers.
It is clear to see that Havering presents an impressive array of lifestyle and leisure opportunities: plenty of reasons why this area makes an astute choice when it comes to quality of life.
Combine this with a position as a well performing educational authority, a very low crime rate (just 69 incidents per 1,000 population compared to the London average of 93.3), and a strong commitment to quality housing development, and you have many excellent reasons why Havering makes the ideal place to settle.