Brentwood is a suburban town which is superbly located for London and the surrounding area. Classed as being in the London commuter belt, Brentwood is just 20 miles north-east from Charing Cross. It is a town steeped in history and there are many things to do in Brentwood, for visitors and residents alike.
Within this article we are going to delve into some of Brentwood’s rich history and tell you all about the many wonderful things to do in Brentwood.
Explore Brentwood’s Rich History
Brentwood’s history dates back to the Saxon period. Before this, Essex was covered by the Great Forest, now known as Epping Forest. It is believed that many royals have visited the town such as Richard II and Henry VIII who it is believed visited Marygreen Manor, a 16th-century building on London Road, in 1514 when its owner, Henry Roper, was Gentleman Pursuant to Queen Catherine of Aragon.
When it comes to things to do in Brentwood and places to visit, if you love history, you must take a trip to Brentwood Cathedral. It began its life as a small parish church built in Gothic Revival style in 1861. Although still a small building, it was raised to cathedral status in 1917. Then, between 1989 and 1991, the church was enlarged in Italianate classical style. Now, Brentwood Cathedral is a Grade II listed building with a bold marriage between these two architectural styles, and it serves as the central place of worship for Catholics in Essex and East London. The cathedral is open from 9am to 8pm but this will include mass times, events and special occasions so if you want to simply visit, it is best to get in touch with a member of the parish team via the website to check times.
Another place of historical interest is Ingatestone Hall. Ingatestone Hall’s history begins with it being one of the principal manors which was held by the nuns of Barking. During this time it was known as Gynge Abbes. In 1535, Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries and after the land was surrendered to the Crown, the hall was purchased by William Petre and it has remained in this family up to present day. Ingatestone Hall is open to visitors on Wednesdays, Sundays and bank holidays from 12 noon to 5pm, with the last entry being 4pm. There are eight rooms to visit and ten acres of gardens. Before you visit, it is important to check their events calendar as certain events can affect visiting hours.
Outdoor Adventures in Brentwood
If you are more of an outdoors person than a history buff, there are still many things for you to do in Brentwood.
There are the King George Playing Fields which are the perfect place to relax with a picnic, have a kick around with a football or take the kids to play.
If you would like to be more thoroughly immersed in nature and local wildlife, Thorndon Country Park is an amazing place to visit. Open every day from 8am to dusk, there is an array of things to do and see at Thorndon Country Park. There are colourful woodlands, birds, open parkland, fishing and the Gruffalo Trail. It is the perfect place to visit for nature lovers, dog walkers and families.
If you want something more adventurous which will get your adrenaline pumping, Brentwood Ski and Snowboard Centre is the place for you. Opening times depend on the day and the season but it is an excellent place to have a trip too if you love skiing and snowboarding.
Indulge in Brentwood’s Culinary Scene
Foodies need not worry either! There are many delicious restaurants and cafes for you to visit in Brentwood.
If you fancy some fine British seafood, Alec’s Restaurant Bar and Grill opened in 2010 and has quickly become one of Essex’s leading fish restaurants.
With a visit to Tudors Restaurant you will be able to combine history and food as this restaurant is in Marygreen Manor which is now a hotel and restaurant. Specialising in British food fit for a King, it is not the most vegetarian/vegan friendly menu but, for everyone else, you will find a real treat.
If you are more about a warm, friendly pub than fine dining, The Bricklayers Arms will be the perfect spot. Averaging a full 5 stars on Tripadvisor, this pub offers brilliant service and excellent food.
Shopping and Leisure in Brentwood
Brentwood also has a bustling high street with many well known shops, independent shops and beautiful boutiques.
There are many of the usual high street shops such as Boots, Claire’s, Clintons, Clarks and Marks and Spencers to name a few. But there are also a lot of cool, independent shops such as Chicken and Frog Bookshop and Comic Book Villains, the perfect place to pick up new and pre-owned comics and collectibles.
There are many places you can visit which will offer you family friendly fun. A place that you cannot miss is Old MacDonald’s Farm & Fun Park. Old MacDonald’s Farm & Fun Park has so much on offer from a variety of animals that you can go and see to rides and play areas. They also have events on throughout the year so, if you are local, make sure to check out their events page.
There are also educational experiences available via Brentwood Museum. There are monthly talks on a variety of topics and many items on display that show the everyday life of the people from Brentwood’s past. The museum does close over the winter months so make sure to check their website before planning a visit.
Seasonal Events and Festivals
There are also many seasonal things to do in Brentwood. One of the biggest events was Brentwood Festival which was a music festival held every July until 2020. Although it has not happened for a couple of years, there is always hope that this wonderful festival will make a comeback so keep your eyes peeled!
Heading to the colder season, there is the Essex Festive Craft and Food Show which is held in the Brentwood Centre on Doddington Hurst Road.
Wellness and Relaxation
If you are wanting to do some relaxing in Brentwood, there are also many spas within the area.
The Luxe Spa offers facials, nails, massages, holistic treatments and much more.
There is also Mind, Body and Spirit which is located in the Derougemont Manor Hotel. They offer facials, nails and spa days which include a unique, sensorial and aromatic wellbeing ritual for the face and body aimed at favouring complete relaxation of mind and body and spirit.
Top Activities in Brentwood
There are so many things to do in Brentwood that it doesn’t matter what you are into or what you enjoy doing, you will find something to do in Brentwood. It has the perfect blend of history, culture and modern day activities. You will be spoilt for choice over what to do first.
Enjoy exploring Brentwood!
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