Basildon is a wonderful family vacation town with more public parks and open spaces than any other district in Essex. Barleylands farm, the huge Festival Leisure Park, and abundant nature reserves guarantee visitors the chance to find fun for the whole family.
Barleylands is a wonderful adventure farm for children of all ages with more than 1,000 exhibits including vintage tractors, petting zoos, a corn mill, hatchery, working blacksmith’s shop, a twice monthly farmers’ market and two huge steam engines. The North Benfleet Miniature Railway’s miniature steam train runs on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays in the summer months.
The Agricultural Museum features a collection of exhibits depicting rural life from the 18th century up to the present day. With more than 30 demonstration booths including one showcasing glass works, the craft village is also a wonderful step back in time to a bygone era of craftsmanship.
Spread out over 100 acres of land, Festival Leisure Park is the largest leisure and business park in the South East of England. The park has no shortage of restaurants and attractions, most notably a water sports and jet-ski center, hotel, 2000-seat multiplex, tennis and fitness center, bowling alley, Chuckle City children’s soft play area, and nightclubs.
Commissioned as a project to mark the new millennium and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999, St Martin’s Bell Tower is an impressive glass and steel tower comprised of than 300 square meters of glass. The tower, which houses six historic bells from the church of St Nicholas in Colchester, is an 85-foot spire of neo-Gothic design. Cast in 1441, the Tenor bell is of particular historic note as it was the first bell ever to be cast by a woman.
Two miles from Basildon, Plotlands Museum in Laindon offers an intriguing glance back in time to the period between WWI and WWII, when parts of Basildon were sold to Londoners as weekend retreats. Located at the site of the museum, the Haven was built in 1930 and has been preserved in its original form as a typical family bungalow.