Discover Barking: London’s fastest growing residential hub
Anything you can imagine when you think of ideal living close to the city – Barking has it all. This well-connected borough offers a quick and easy commute to central, along with great affordable housing infrastructure, making it one of the London’s best loved boroughs.
At one point, Europe’s biggest car plant was located here, and for a long time the borough remained relatively untouched by the development projects initiated in and around the city. However, that is changing fast: currently there are several new developments in Barking that are likely to make it even more popular as a residential locality, particularly among first-time buyers.
About the Barking area
Located just off the A13 (London to Southend) and Shoeburyness Road, the Barking area is just eleven miles to the east of Central London; it is surrounded by Ilford in the north, the Thames to the South, Dagenham in the east and East Ham in the west. Barking and Dagenham, both situated in the outskirts of London, have some of the widest income disparity of all the areas in and around the city – within the borough, people in the 80th earnings percentile make 2.22 times more than those in the 20th percentile.
Transportation access and connectivity
The fifteen-minute fast train that operates from Fenchurch Street is among the most popular commute options at the disposal of the residents of Barking.
There is also the underground station, which offers easy accessibility to Central London via the District and Hammersmith and City lines. The Overground goes from Gospel Oak to Barking, and is slated to be extended right up to Barking Riverside by 2021.
Further commuting possibilities include the EL1 bus route (with 24/7 availability) and the EL3 bus route, which links Barking town centre to the station.
Schools and Education
Some of the best performing schools in Barking include St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School, William Ford CofE Primary School and Beam Primary School. The latter two are rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted and all three are expecting over 90% of their students to attain Level 4 in English and Maths. Apart from these, there is also Lady Aisha Academy, an independent school that has obtained a “Good” Ofsted rating.
Arts, culture and community
Barking distinguishes itself from other London boroughs primarily through the vibrancy of its culture and community. The Broadway Theatre regularly hosts beautiful performances. Then there is the innovative A13 Artscape, which is one of the biggest outdoor art galleries in London, showcasing a fascinating spectrum of artist-designed landscaping, spectacular light shows and more. Located just around the corner from Eastbury, A13 is the joint effort of the Highways Agency and seventeen local artists.
In terms of historical architecture, Barking is certainly no slouch. The remarkable Eastbury Manor House, which is also a National Trust Property, is a sight to behold. Additionally, the more recent but no less iconic Becontree Estate, built during the First World War, is the largest public housing estate in the world, a one-of-a-kind project that created 27000 homes for about 100,000 people.
If you are interested in learning more about the arts and cultural activities taking place in the area, this piece, about a recent celebration by art and design students at Barking and Dagenham College, is a must-read.
Recreational sports and facilities
There are several spots in and around the locality of Barking where fun is to be had, and the area has two cinemas (the Vue on Cork Road and the Showcase Cinema on Jenkins Lane). Wanstead Park’s diversity of wildlife and its ravishing pond make it a great outdoor spot for spending a laid-back Sunday afternoon.
Eateries, cafes and pubs
There is no shortage of top-notch pubs, restaurants, and cafes in Barking. Be it the Boathouse Cafe near the river, or the family-friendly Red Lion, known for its amazing cocktails, the hangouts are as myriad as they come.
Further notable eateries, pubs, and cafes in the area include:
The Larder – coffee and cake
Panda’s Kitchen – Chinese takeaway restaurant
Vijay’s Chawalla – Indian vegetarian restaurant
Ambala – Asian confectionery offering sweet and savoury delicacies
The Golden Fleece – pub and beer garden
Pie Republic – traditional pie and mash
A concerted effort is being made to develop Barking into an area that can live up to its increasingly young, dynamic and multicultural populace. Barking Town Square has presented a great example of how this should be done: with regeneration initiatives taken by the local council, the square has become the face of new developments in Barking and is paving the way for future endeavours.
The editorial unit