This hugely popular twilight classical concert is held every year in the spectacular settings of Barking Abbey Ruins. Gates open at 7pm to the sounds of the church bells rung by St Margaret's Church Bell Ringers. The mood-setting music of the Aminta Concert Orchestra, conducted by Dr Donald Hoskins, plays to a background of special lighting...more
It is fairly common knowledge around these parts that "The Edge" from U2 was born in Barking Town. However, there is another famous musical landmark which, for music fans like myself, will forever be associated with this London Borough.I would love to be able to direct you to the building where this event took place and tell you that there is a...more
As I was researching my tip regarding the recording of Neil Young's classic album "Harvest", some of which took place in Barking, I came across some surprising and interesting information regarding Barking Assembly Hall - Now known as the Broadway Theatre or simply "The Broadway".Most of this information was found on the Theatres Trust database. ....more
Barking Town boasts the largest Lotto-funded public art project in the UK-The A13 Artscape Project. This huge plan links, with works by local, national & international artists & designers, a series of open spaces along a 3 mile stretch of the A13 - A road that carries 60,000 vehicles a day in each direction.With a budget of almost £9m, the project...more
(Tip Updated June 2010)After being closed for 2 years for extensive renovation, the museum reopens to the public on Saturday 26th June 2010)Valence House is an early timber-framed manor house dating back to the 15th century. It is sited in parkland with a lovely herb garden and is even partially surrounded by a moat. The house is the home of the...more
In 1968, London Bridge was sold to the American entrepreneur Robert McCulloch of McCulloch Oil for nearly 2½ million dollars. Rumour has it that he mistakenly believed that he was buying the more impressive Tower Bridge but this has always been denied.The bridge was carefully demolished and taken to the USA to be re-assembled block by block in...more
When it first opened, the Chennai was a strict vegetarian restaurant. Nowadays, although they still serve a fantastic selection of veggie dishes, there are also a few meat dishes on their very long menu - 132 dishes at the last count.The Chennai is part of a small chain of 4 similar restaurants in London. It is spotlessly clean but fairly basic...more
I have eaten at the Yaki Noodle Bar on a regular basis since it opened & have rarely been disappointed.The restaurant is fairly large but I have never seen it even a quarter full, so there is plenty of space and absolutely no need to book. The layout is basically long formica covered tables with benches (fixed to the floor) on either side....more
Updated Review - Jul 25th 2010Since my original review below there have been some great and on-going improvements to the already excellent Farhana ... The outside frontage has been completely replaced with clear glass. Inside has changed a lot too. These days it is brightly lit with the air of a cafe, rather than a traditional Indian Restaurant. (I...more
Perhaps I am jumping the gun here but when I learned that a Japanese sushi restaurant was opening in Barking Town, I wanted to be the first to mention it on VT.The restaurant is called Oishi Sushi, roughly translated it means "delicious" or "tasty" sushi.It is the first restaurant for the company concerned and as I write at the start of June 2010,...more
There isn't much to make you think that a trip to this fish and chip shop is going to be any different to every other, that is until you tast the food....Then you will see why the Upney Fish Bar has won so many prizes.I have no idea how they cook their chips or why they taste so great.... nice and crisp on the outside and soft and well cooked...more
There are tons of Indian restaurants in Barking Town and nearby, my partner is a big curry fan and we have tried quite a few of them, believe me ! For several reasons though we keep coming back to the Farhana.(1) The food - lots of choice and plenty of good vegetarian dishes. You can either order several veggie side dishes or for very little extra...more
At various times in its history, parts of the building have been an off-licence, a hotel and a wine bar. Nowadays it is very pleasant, traditional Victorian pub with a great atmosphere. You can almost feel those Dickensian ghosts breathing down your neck.The pub is quite spacious with some fenced-in seating on the pavement outside, 2 bars on the...more
The Britannia has now closed but I have left this review for nostalgic purposes - It was my boozer for all my adult life and I was very sad to see it go.The Brit was built between 1848 and 1863 and is an excellent example of a typical British family run pub with a nice relaxed atmosphere and a reputation for good service. It is friendly, clean,...more
There is always something going on at the newly refurbished Broadway Theatre. They try and cater for all ages with a particular emphasis on music, comedy and family entertainment. It is in fact one of the last places to see a traditional East End variety show, featuring top acts, tea dances and even young amateur performers.The theatre has recently...more
There was not enough room to mention the exterior of the Britannia in my other "Nightlife Tip", so I have created an additional page hereAs you can see the building is adorned with a reminder of Barking Town's seafaring days ... Moulded into the columns around all the external doorways are a selection of amply bosomed sailor's lasses, reminiscent...more
More details to follow 3rd Wednesday of the month 7.30pm Visitors welcome, entrance is £1.50 If you are looking to find your roots by creating a family tree then the East of London Family History Society can put you on the right track.For more information, telephone Deirdre Marculescu on 020 8595 5339more
When all else fails I guess there is always a movie - The nearest multiplex to Barking Town is Showcase Cinema in Beckton. If you have a car, it's just a 5 minute drive from Barking Town Centre. Failing that, a taxi from outside Barking Station would not cost very much or you can take bus numbers 262 or 366 to the door.Showcase is a comfortable,...more
Virtual Tourists will find Barking Town easiest to get to from Central London by train.On the Underground System - Locally known as the Tube - you will find Barking on both the District and also the "Hammersmith and City" Lines.Visitors from Central London will arrive on either platform 2 (District) or 3 (Hammersmith and City). Those returning to...more
Here are the details of some mini cab companies that I use which are based in Barking Town.S.A.M. Car Services6 North StreetBarking TownEssexIG11 8AW020-8594 9395 A-To-B Cabs21 Longbridge Road,Barking Town,EssexIG11 8TN 020-8594 9290 / 5536Ripple Cars 200, Ripple Rd,Barking Town,Essex,IG11 7PR Phone: 020 8594 2553 Personally if I were a visitor to...more
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday since 2001, there has been a lively open-air market in Barking Town Centre. During the run up to Christmas, the market takes place even more frequently. It is run by Charfleet Markets and open from 9.00am to 5.00pm with traders setting up their stalls as early as 6.00am.This traditional East London general...more
From the moment you ring the doorbell and are welcomed into their shop to the point that you leave, you are treated with warmth, professionalism and respect.Jack Bunney's bespoke tailors, mensware and formal dress hire is a family run firm has been in Barking Town since 1958. They are now on the 3rd generation and both the son and grandson of the...more
You can find 10th Planet on the first floor of Barking Town's Vicarage Field Shopping Centre. The Center offers good access for the disabled, a cafe, crèche and other facilities plus reasonably priced parking for hundeds of cars on the room. The 10th Planet store is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and closed all day Sunday. They offer...more
While you are in Barking Town, you might as well have a drink (or 4) in a pub which regularly features in the "UK Good Beer Guide".
This year it has also just been voted the CAMRA (Campagn for Real Ale) London Pub of the Year 2007. Believe me that is quite an honour !!!
The pub in question is called the Britannia. (Address below but also see my separate nightlife tip for more detailed information, directions etc).
I can heartily recommend all 3 of the draught real ales on offer. These are "Wells Bombadier", Young's Special" and "Young's Bitter". (Wells Brewery has recently merged with Young's Brewery and together they are now known as the "Wells Youngs Brewing Company" - How inventive is that - NOT ! - Haha !)
So that's a bit of background for you ... Now here is my "VT Local Custom Tip"
In many Young's pubs, like the Britannia, local drinkers often combine two different beers in the same one pint glass. Popular combinations are:
A Light and Bitter — half a pint of Young's Bitter & a 275ml bottle of Light Ale.
A Mix — half a pint of Young's Bitter & half a pint of Young's Special.
A Ram and Special — half a pint of Young's Special & a 275ml bottle of Ram Rod.
Stroll up to the bar with a crisp 10 pound note in your hand. Put your shoulders back and gather yourself up to your full height. Catch the bartender's eye and clearly say in your best Cockney accent .....
"Gimme a cold Light and Bitt-ah and a Ram 'n' Special please, mate/love" (depending on the sex of the bartender) .... Straight glasses, ok - ta ! (Thus indicating that you do not want your drinks served in a heavy old glass tankard.)
If English is your 2nd language, practise this a few times first to make sure you get both the accent, the eye contact and the waving of the tenner abosulutely perfect.
Don't worry if you don't get right first time - Keep trying and after 4 or 5 pints you will be much better.
Britannia Public House
1 Church Road
0871 984 4449
This pub, which opened in 1993 immediately adjacent to Barking Station, is so awful it could be the setting for the next installment of the Hollywood horror movie “SAW” !To get in the place, you have to push your way though a noisy flock of cackling, pregnant, teenage girls standing in the doorway, chain-smoking, swearing and arguing with their...more
If you want a mini cab to take you to see "Barking Mill", "The Lighted Lady of Barking", "The Catch", "The Secret Garden", "Holding Pattern" or indeed ANY of the places mentioned in my Barking Town tips, please do not expect the driver to know where they are.Often these drivers are not originally from Barking and some of them may not have lived...more
Luggage and bags:
Barking Station does not have any left luggage facilities, nor, so far as I know are there any others around town. So unless you have a car or are visiting friends or staying locally, bring only what you need for the day - Otherwise you will have to carry it around with you all day.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wherever you go, it's always a good idea to check what weather conditions you are likely to encounter on your trip. Barking Town is not really prone to too many extremes of weather but just in case, you can look at the 10 day forecast by clicking the link below. Please note that London City Airport, to which this forecast applies, is less than 5 miles away from Barking Town.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Although Barking has a nice Town Quay, we do not have a beach, nor unfortunately are there any camping sites in town. However, if you want to chill out on a hot summer's day, why not bring a picnic and a blanket to sit on and spend a few hours off the beaten track by the lake in Barking Park or in the ruins of Barking Abbey. Another quiet oasis is the courtyard at the back of the Spotted Dog pub - See my separate tips for more info.
Miscellaneous: As with most urban environments, it is wise not to have expensive items such as phones, iPods, cameras, jewels etc with you in case of theft. Be streetwise when taking photos and making calls. But hey, you did not need me to tell you that did you !
You will find Barking Park east of the Town Centre. Turn left from the station, walk down the hill, passed a roundabout with a modern sculpture called "The Catch" - See separate tip. Continue for 4 mins & you reach the main gates of Barking Park on your left.There's lots to see and do, particularly in summer. Ideal for a picnic too. There's a...more
It's arrival had been rumoured for an eternity but finally at the end of September 2009 Barking Town finally got it's long awaited "Arboretum".Open any dictionary and it will tell you that an "arboretum" is a collection of trees, shrubs and wild flowers. However, sited where it is, just a stones throw away from the hustle, bustle and noise of...more