Six activities near Havering to avoid the crowds this summer
- Credit: PA
On long summer days, popular destinations can turn into a crowded nightmare.
Screaming children, barking dogs and picnic remains are not conducive to a relaxing day out.
We've put together a list of alternative destinations to enjoy this summer.
You may have been to the bustling Southend beach, but just a mile along the shore lies this less-known treasure.
Thorpe Bay has won both Blue Flag and Quality Coast awards, guaranteeing not only clean water but that this is a safe family beach with a host of facilities.
The beach has plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby, some of which offer decking overlooking the sea.
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Less than an hour's drive from Romford, this is a great day trip for the summer holidays.
Pick your own apples and strawberries this summer at Lathcoats Farm in Chelmsford.
It takes just half an hour by car from Romford, and people can turn up on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, pre-booking during the rest of the week.
The farm has been owned by the Taylor family since 1912, and now grows over 40 varieties of apple as well as nine different soft fruits.
Stubbers Adventure Centre
Rent a kayak, explore the woodlands or run around in the adventure play area.
Havering's very own adventure centre has plenty on offer this summer, and individual arrival time slots mean you can avoid the crowds.
For a great family activity, why not rent a Mega Sup XL paddleboard and glide along the park's lake?
Coalhouse Fort Park is just south of East Tilbury Village, and offers plenty of quiet riverside walks and spots for crabbing.
Coalhouse Fort was built between 1861 and 1874 and features a number of World War Two gunnery posts.
The park boasts free parking, toilets and picnic areas - perfect for a sunny day out.
Finchingfield Camping is a quiet rural hideaway an hour's drive away from Romford, situated on a working lavender farm.
The pitches are set across a nine-acre rolling meadow, meaning you won't be crammed in next to other campers.
People with tents or campervans can pitch up on one of eight grass camping pitches, with their own fire pit, BBQ grill and picnic benches.
The Gruffalo Trail
Thorndon's deep dark wood is a great place to explore with the little ones by following a self-led trail in search of hand-crafted carvings of the Gruffalo characters.
Based on British children's picture book The Gruffalo, by writer and playwright Julia Donaldson, kids are invited to find Mouse, Snake, Fox and Owl.
Thorndon Country Park is just 25 minutes by car from Romford City Centre.
No booking is required, and paths are buggy-friendly.
For nature lovers, this marshy island is a must-see, just over an hour's drive from Romford.
The magical landscape of marshland, lagoons, ditches and sea was created using more than three million tonnes of earth, brought over by boat.
There are three walking trails to explore - Jubilee Marsh, Allfleets Marsh and Marsh Flat - on which you can spot a range of birds, butterflies and bees.