With the crush of bodies infiltrating London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, residents and tourists alike will be looking for an easy escape from the frenzied city. Just a mere 20-minute train ride from Olympic Park at Stratford lies their respite: Romford, a vibrant suburban town in northeast London. Long recognized as a bedroom community of Greater London, Romford is considered an ideal location due to its close proximity to either the English countryside or the seacoast. Whether you’re strolling down the quintessential chains of Tudor row houses or chatting up a local Brit in a neighborhood pub, Romford is a haven for those who are seeking a glimpse of the “true English lifestyle.”
- To market, to market. Open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the Romford Market, a colorful open-air street extravaganza, is one of the oldest markets in England, formed from a grant from King Henry III in 1247 A.D. More than 150 stalls hawking every kind of bargain – fresh produce, butchers and fishmongers, home-baked pasties, clothing, antiques, jewelry, flowers, music and tech gadgets – you name it, it’s there. Look for the giant Union Jack flag on the Tollgate House building at the end of the market. For those who prefer traditional indoor shopping, adjacent to the market is the Liberty Shopping Centre, and within a short walk is the Brewery Shopping Centre.
- Go Greyhound. Spend a day at Romford Greyhound Stadium, winner of the 1998 and 2003 British Greyhound Racing Board’s ‘Racecourse of the Year’ award, where you can simply be a spectator or place bets on the dogs as well as enjoy the various bars and restaurants. The stadium holds more than 4,300 people and includes a children’s play area where parents are also able to observe the races.
Read about Romford, England in Women’s Toolbox.