Brentwood Guide: 7 facts and tips on things to do and places to eat

Weald Country Park

Weald Country Park - Credit: Courtesy of ECC

There are several facts about Brentwood that may come as a bit of a surprise to you: the famous Sugar Hut nightclub is located in a 15th century coaching inn, meanwhile, the nearby Weald Country Park boasts a staggering 520 acres of wildflower meadows, open grassland and woodland. Here are seven other things to tempt you into visiting this south Essex town, writes Sybilla Hart.

1. TOWIE's Sugar Hut has reopened

The Sugar Hut, nightclub to the Essex glitterati and regular backdrop to scenes of TOWIE, recently held its grand reopening party celebrating three nights of back to back parties.

Tables of ten can be booked for the cost of £1,000 which includes the choice of either four bottles of Champagne or spirits.

For a smaller get together a table for 6 people can be booked at half the price.

Weald Country Park

With Weald Country Park so close, Brentwood has a sense of space - Credit: Courtesy of ECC

2.Weald County Park is really, really old

Weald Country Park is open daily from 8am to dusk. The park's origins date back to the 12th century when it was originally a medieval deer park and you can still feed the deer to this day (deer food is available to buy at the visitor’s centre, as is duck food).

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Unfortunately the historic hall house was demolished in 1950 when it fell victim to a fire. At the time it was not unusual for large houses to be pulled down.

Weald Hall was owned for a century by Anthony Browne who founded Brentwood School.

3. Weald Park also has refreshments and the kid's Stick Man Trail

The Wiggly Bush Cafe is open seven days a week for takeaways and visitors are encouraged to book and pay online for parking using MiPermit.

Parking costs £2.20 for an hour or £5.50 for over 5 hours. It’s a good idea to call 01277 261343 to check if there is enough space to park as the Weald Country Park car park gets very busy, particularly around 10.30am.

There is something for everyone at the park including a Stick Man themed play trail for children two-kilometres long as well as a play park, plus plentiful wildlife such as herons and fallow deer alongside acres of lakes for nature lovers.

Picnics are allowed, as are dogs.

Weald Country Park

Woodland walks in Weald Country Park - Credit: Courtesy of ECC

4.Thorndon Country Park is home to The Gruffalo Trail

At Thorndon Country Park (also open from 8am to dusk) The Gruffalo Trail is open for families - there is no need to book and the pathways are buggy friendly.

The popular trail starts at Thorndon North which is teeming with bluebells and anemones in the spring and the Childerditch pond is visited by lots of migrating birds such as the redpoll and bramblings in the winter months.

5.The town has excellent education options

Brentwood School, an independent school, is situated in its own private land of 75 acres and was founded in 1557.

The school takes pupils from the age of three to 18 and offers both day and boarding options.

The school’s motto which was first written in 1622, Virtue, Learning, Manners, and remains unchanged to this day.

Tours of the Senior School take place every day of the week from 2pm to 2.45pm with a member of the Admissions Team.

Brentwood high street

Brentwood high street - Credit: Richard Barker

6. Glitzy restaurant Dusk has several new menus to try

Restaurant to the stars, Dusk in Brentwood is currently offering a five-course tasting menu called Journey, plus a seven-course tasting menu called Expedition as well as an a la carte menu.

Journey is being priced at £89 and Expedition at £69. Rock lobster, apple gazpacho and smoked salmon cheesecake all feature on the menu.

Dusk’s resident TV personality chef, Stephen Gomes, says: ‘I’ve designed the menu to tell a story and take the diner on a culinary journey, based on the inspirations from my grandma, my father James Gomes, Roald Dahl and the science of spice.’

Brentwood town centre

Brentwood town centre - Credit: Richard Barker

7. Brentwood is popular with those moving out of London

As for the property market in Brentwood, Stephen White from the residential sales team at Savills in Chelmsford notes a buoyant market.

‘Brentwood and neighbouring Shenfield have always been popular with buyers that are looking to move out of London, but still want to be reasonably close to the city for a daily commute,’ says Stephen.

‘Demand has been remarkably strong since the start of the year and there is little sign of the pace slowing. The number of buyers is at an all-time high and demand continues to outstrip supply. We’ve seen particular interest in the area from those coming out of East London and West Essex who want to move up the A12.'

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