Brentwood & Basildon
Brentwood and Basildon lie to the east of London in the southern part of the county of Essex. The area has good road and rail links to London and also the coast. Southend, City and Stanstead airports are about a 30 minute drive away, with Gatwick and Heathrow twice as far away around the M25. Although they are both lively and busy towns, Brentwood and Basildon are surrounded by the open countryside of the outer London greenbelt.
Essex was once covered by a great forest and the foundation of Brentwood began after the death of Thomas Becket in 1170. Pilgrims travelled from the north of the country to visit his tomb and shrine in Canterbury. The main route took travellers through a clearing in the forest, where eventually houses were built and the town of Brentwood grew from here. The town was in the middle of an area of agriculture, and at the meeting point of two important roads. It was a rest place for travellers and so grew in importance, encouraged by the growth in the wool and cloth industries in Essex. In the late 12th century a chapel dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury was built for the many pilgrims who passed through the town. The ruins remain in Brentwood High Street today.
For many years Brentwood was a small market town governed by the church which owned most of the land. Ownership of the land changed many times after the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII. As with many towns, Brentwood grew rapidly in size once the railway opened in 1843. Brentwood's town centre has three designated conservation areas incorporating several listed buildings and an ancient monument - the St Thomas a Becket Chapel. With the introduction of the Crossrail route the area will be even more popular with commuters. A reality TV series (The Only Way is Essex) is filmed in the town and as a result there has been the introduction of several new boutiques and night clubs making the high street more vibrant. The area is popular with commuters, couples and families.
Archaeological evidence has been found in Basildon to suggest that the town's history goes back as far as the Stone Age. Basildon is also mentioned several times in the Domesday Book. For centuries it remained a small village until the railway arrived in the mid-19th century. In the 1940's there was a housing shortage in London due to the damage inflicted on suburban housing during the Second World War. The New Towns act of 1946 was established to create new areas of housing to relieve the problem in London. Basildon and the surrounding rural communities were designated Basildon New Town. Redevelopment has continued and the provision of different types of housing to suit all pockets has been achieved. The town centre is not the most attractive with much of built in the typical post-war concrete style and there is a large industrial area to the north of the town. The area is popular for individuals, families and commuters alike, particularly those working to a budget and who are not looking for the more upmarket lifestyle.
Billericay can be traced back to both Roman and Saxon settlements. In later centuries Billericay was a coaching town where pilgrims would rest on their journey to Canterbury. It was far safer to stay overnight at an inn than to risk being the victim of one of the many highwaymen in the area. Whilst having a long history the area really only grew, as Basildon, after the war so much of the housing stock is 1950’s or more recent. However, this has given the area a combination of historic and modern, retaining its old world charm alongside a thriving industrial estate and modern shopping facilities.
Brentwood is well located with easy access to the M25 motorway, a fast train route into London and will also soon have the benefit of the Crossrail line with access directly into the City and to Heathrow. Basildon also has good access to the M25 motorway and a quick rail link into London. Billericay is a little more rural so does not have as good road access but still has a fast train into London with journey times of just over 30 minutes.
|From Brentwood to...||By Car||By Train/Tube|
|Central London||30 miles, 50 mins||29 mins (direct to London Liverpool Street)|
|Heathrow Airport||55 miles, 55 mins||(direct after Crossrail opens)|
|Gatwick Airport||47 miles, 50 mins|
|Stansted Airport||28 miles, 35 mins|
Types of Housing and Pricing
Brentwood has some modern housing estates that sit quite comfortably alongside Victorian terraced houses and 1930's properties. There are some large, gated houses available in Brentwood but they are built closely together on the estates. The areas of Hutton and Shenfield are more prestigious and have a variety of large 4-5 bedroom detached properties.
Most of the housing in Basildon has been built after it was designated a new town in the 1950's. There is a good section of property from small apartments through to larger detached houses.
Billericay is a more desirable town than Basildon though most of the housing is of similar age, being 1950’s onwards. There is also a plan by the council for further housing to be added in the near future.
|To Purchase||To Rent|
|1 bed||£110,000 - £360,000||£600 - £1150 per month|
|2 bed||£150,000 - £530,000||£750 - £1450 per month|
|3-4 bed||£190,000 - £1,300,000||£950 - £2400 per month|
|5+ bed||£390,000+||£1700+ per month|
Education in the UK is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16. Many state-funded schools offer a nursery class from age 4 and independent nursery from as young as 6 months. There is also a choice of both state and independent schools that offer higher education to age 18.
The Local Authority (LA) for the area is Essex and it is responsible for state-funded schools, including their admissions.
State school education in the area can be quite varied and there are only a few independent schools in the area, particularly around Brentwood.
To view a map showing schools in the local area, please click the button below. Each school on the map can be clicked to show further information, including OFSTED ratings, exam results, age ranges and number of pupils.Schools Map
- Ranked in Top 10%
- Requires Improvement
- Primary and Secondary
- Independent School
We can help you to get round the nuances of the British schooling system with our school search services. We offer a range of programmes, from basic consultancy with one of our education specialists, to detailed reporting on every suitable school for your child or children, through to fully accompanied school inspections where we take you to see your top school choices.More Info
Local Authority, Taxation and Crime Rates
Brentwood Borough Council and Basildon Council are the administrative authorities responsible for the local areas. They levy an annual charge known as ‘Council Tax’ for local services such as waste collection, street lighting, police and fire services. You should expect to pay Council Tax whether you are renting or buying.
The police authority for the area is Essex. For non-emergency calls to the police, phone 101.
Your local Member of Parliament (MP) is elected by their local constituents to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons.
A good source of information for crime rates in the area is ‘Illustreets’. The website has a great interactive map which provides detailed local statistics, including standards of living.
Brentwood High Street has a reasonable selection of clothing shops and other typical retail outlets such as chemists, stationers, shoe shops etc. and a number of boutiques have also recently opened in the area. There is also a selection of cafes and restaurants. The high streets of Basildon and Billericay offer a greater variety of shops. Basildon also has a town centre shopping mall, The Eastgate Centre and there is a market in the town every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Brentwood has a farmer’s market which is held every Friday and Saturday and sells fresh produce, clothes and other miscellaneous small items.
Barleylands Farm, Billericay has a farmers market twice a month selling fresh local produce direct from the suppliers.
For a more extensive shopping experience visit Lakeside Shopping Centre and Retail Park or Bluewater Shopping Centre which are less than 30 minutes away. Lakeside has over 250 shops and restaurants and a 7 screen cinema. Bluewater has over 300 shops and restaurants and a 13 screen cinema.
There are five main supermarkets chains in the UK: Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose. However, they now face competition from other brands such as Aldi, Lidl, The Co-Op and Marks & Spencer. Most offer on-line shopping facilities as well as Ocado, which is the only completely online grocery retailer in the UK, that offers Waitrose quality produce.
Waitrose and Marks and Spencer offer higher quality produce with prices reflecting this. Sainsbury’s and Tesco offer good value for money for a weekly family shop and Asda, Morrisons and The Co-Op are competitively priced with a larger range of budget everyday items. Aldi and Lidl are German brands that stock produce typical to the UK. They are often referred to as discount stores and offer fewer products.
As part of our Home Search Programme, we will orientate you around your target areas and show you where the nearest shopping centres and supermarkets are.Home Search Programmes
Brentwood Centre offers two swimming pools, a main pool and a teaching pool, a gym, most indoor sports including a badminton, squash and table tennis courts, aerobics, football and an MMA centre. There is also a health and beauty clinic and licensed bar. Outdoor facilities include the Brentwood Arena which accommodates several special events and exhibitions, regular sports courses and community games.
Basildon Sporting Village offers two swimming pools, gym, exercise classes, a sports hall for most ball or racquet sports, a regional gymnastics centre, an indoor climbing wall, an athletics stadium and outdoor pitches for a variety of sport s including hockey, football, netball, cricket, badminton, basketball and volleyball.
The Thorndon Park Golf Club is a spacious course set in the grounds of Thorndon Hall with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.
Bentley Golf Club is an undulating parkland course with water hazards. It hosted the Essex County Championships in 2001.
Basildon Golf Club is one of the most demanding courses in Essex. It is an undulating parkland course with tree lined fairways and a difficult 13th hole.
Stock Brook Park Golf and Country Club is a gently undulating parkland course with featured lakes. Any combination of the three, 9 hole courses can be played.
Warley Park Golf Club is a parkland course with lots of water features and also a golf practice ground.
Cineworld, Festival Leisure Park, Basildon has all facilities & full access availability for disabled guests in all screens. All screens have disabled seating in the front and half the screens also have disabled seating at the back.
Festival Leisure Park holds not only the cinema but also an array of chain restaurants, bar, gym and bowling alley.
Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker - currently the biggest and deepest cold war bunker open to the public in southeast England. There are also topside activities on offer.
Thorndon Country Park - includes a 15th century deer park which has been designated an area of Special Scientific Interest.
Brentwood Cathedral - the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary and St Helen was completed in 1991 with the design influenced by early Italian Renaissance and the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren.
Barleylands Farm Museum and Visitors Centre - includes a craft village, miniature steam railway and a farm museum.
Cater Museum - a folk museum located in the High Street in Billericay. It has a Mid Victorian sitting room, bedroom and kitchen and a WWII exhibition.
Wat Tyler Country Park - located on the Thames Estuary Marshes on land that used to be part of the Pitsea Hall Estate. The park contains a variety of habitats rich in plant and animal life.
Norsey Wood - an ancient mixed coppice woodland consisting of a mixed variety of habitats. It is important not only for its natural history but also for its historical sites, some of which date back to the Bronze Age. It has been designated a Local Nature Reserve, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Noak Bridge Nature Reserve – is a 20 acre area of mixed habitats with abundant and varied wildlife and flowers.
Weald Country Park – is the largest of the Essex County Council Country Parks at nearly 500 acres. Located to the west of Basildon there has been parkland on the area for over 700 years.
Langdon Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre – is the largest of Essex Wildlife Trust's inland reserves at 461 acres.
Brentwood Museum – is a small cottage museum covering social and domestic history between 1840 and 1970 with special reference to Brentwood. The nature reserve next door is a disused cemetery with an interesting collection of graves from World War I.
Brentwood Theatre - opened in 1993 following fifteen years of campaigning and fund-raising. The theatre is run for the community by the independent Brentwood Theatre Trust Ltd which is a registered charity.
Southend-on-Sea – is a typical seaside resort town with beach and small fairground as well as amusement arcades and restaurants.