Havering

The London Borough of Havering

One of the greenest boroughs in London, this suburban enclave is set to see an influx of new residents as its Crossrail stations near completion. So what's it really like to live in Havering?

“More prosperous than the neighbouring borough of Barking & Dagenham, Havering offers residents a quiet, calm lifestyle with plenty of open space, good schools and excellent shopping facilities”

Moving to Havering

The north-eastern London Borough of Havering sits between the urban mass of the city and the rural countryside of Essex. More prosperous than the neighbouring borough of Barking & Dagenham, Havering offers residents a quiet, calm lifestyle with plenty of open space, good schools and excellent shopping facilities in the heart of Romford.

Unlike many other London boroughs, Havering has very little cultural diversity, with only 5% of the population coming from an ethnic minority background. However, this is expected to change as the council outline ambitions plans to regenerate the borough with new residential areas and improved cycle routes in Romford. Also, the arrival of Crossrail, a high capacity railway for London and the South East, will open up the borough to Londoners who might not have considered it before.

House Prices in Havering

As the 5th most affordable borough in London, house prices here are around £390,000 on average, significantly lower than the London average and contributing to the borough’s popularity with first time buyers, young families and retired couples. Professionals are often drawn to the bustling centres of Hornchurch and Romford, while Gidea Park and the village of Havering-atte-Bower are a top choice for those seeking more country charm. The latter is particularly appealing, with a historic atmosphere and traditional cottages overlooking the Essex fields.

“…key centres such as Upminster and Hornchurch offer the District Line on the London Underground, whilst Tfl Rail services from Romford, Harold Wood and Gidea Park offer journeys to destinations including Stratford, London Liverpool Street and Brentwood”

Transport

For commuters, the borough of Havering allows quick access both into central London and further into Essex. Although some of the borough’s more suburban spots lack good transport connections, key centres such as Upminster and Hornchurch offer the District Line on the London Underground, whilst Tfl Rail services from Romford, Harold Wood and Gidea Park offer journeys to destinations including Stratford, London Liverpool Street and Brentwood. The borough is also home to two main bus routes, and Crossrail stations are planned for Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood.

For those travelling by car, main roads through the borough include the A12 and A127, while the London Orbital M25 stretches along the eastern border of the borough, making travel around and out of London simple and straightforward.

Lifestyle

Havering is far from a culinary destination, particularly when compared to more central areas of London, but despite this there are still some good restaurants in the borough for residents looking to dine out. Turkish and Indian cuisines are popular here, with recommended restaurants including Shish Meze on Berther Road, Mangal Meze on South Street and Mustard Indian on the High Street. For Modern European dishes, Wildwood in Hornchurch is a top choice, and chain restaurants such as Zizzi and Pizza Hut can also be found in Romford.

When it comes to shopping, Havering fares much better – Romford is the fourth largest retail centre in London with an impressive 25 million visitors per year. Activity is concentrated around Romford Shopping Hall, Liberty Shopping Centre and the High Street, where you’ll find an array of well-known brands such as Primark, Topshop and Office as well as quirky independent boutiques. Romford is also home to the famous Romford Market, which began in 1247 and continues to sell fresh produce, furniture, clothes and more across its 150 stalls.

Groceries

Havering offers residents large branches of Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Iceland, as well as smaller supermarkets throughout the borough. For a more diverse range of products, the International Supermarket in Hornchurch has a well-stocked selection of goods from all over the world.

Health & Sport

There are a reasonable selection of fitness facilities in Havering, particularly in Romford where you’ll find a Fitness First, Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Gym and a Better Gym, as well as specialist studios for Krav Maga and Yoga. There are also council-run services throughout the borough run by Everyone Active, including the Central Park Leisure Complex, Hornchurch Sports Complex and Chafford Sports Complex.

Culture

Havering is a relatively subdued borough and those seeking a vibrant cultural scene might be better off with somewhere more centrally located. However, the area does offer two theatres, the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch and the Brookside Theatre in Romford, the thriving Fairkytes Arts Centre, and Havering Museum for those interested in the history of the borough. There are also two cinemas, the Vue and the Premiere, both of which are located in Romford.

“Havering is among the top 10 safest boroughs in London, with crime levels of 67 per 1000 as of 2013, significantly lower than the London average.”

Schools and Education

Family-friendly Havering offers parents an appealing choice of schools, particularly for primary-aged children with the borough’s primary schools ranked 7th best in country as of 2016. Leading primary schools in Havering include Hacton Primary School, Dame Tipping CofE Primary School and Scott’s Primary School, while The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School, Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School and Gaynes School are among the best secondary schools in Havering with over 70% of pupils achieving five good GCSEs.

Safety

Havering is among the top 10 safest boroughs in London, with crime levels of 67 per 1000 as of 2013, significantly lower than the London average. There are few instances of disorder, assault and robbery, and higher levels of burglary and vehicle crime.

Green Space

Much of the London Borough of Havering is part of the Metropolitan Green Belt and protected by development, and as a result over 50% of Havering is parkland – making it one of the capital’s greenest boroughs. Among the many beautiful parks here, 55 were recognised with awards from London in Bloom in 2016, with Raphael Park in Romford winning Large Park of the Year. Designed by  Sir Humphry Repton, this hugely popular park is home to a lake, several good sporting facilities and a large playground, as well as being the site of an annual open air theatre.

History

Named after the Royal Liberty of Havering which existed here for hundreds of years, settlements across the London Borough of Havering date back to the Roman period and it was once home to a royal palace which hosted the likes of Edward the Confessor, Henry VIII and Elizabeth 1 during their respective reigns.

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