Things to See and Do in Barking

Barking offers much to explore, with river walks, National Trust buildings and historical landmarks. There’s also the thriving market stalls breathing life into the town centre and Barking Abbey, with ruins dating back to the 12th century.

Figure out what makes your dog bark and work to remove the triggers. Distract them with treats and exciting toys on their walks and train them to ring a bell hanging at the door to go outside instead of barking.

1. Visit the Boathouse Cafe

The Boathouse Cafe is a bar and restaurant situated next to the River Roding in Barking. It serves a selection of craft beer, fine spirits and spectacular mixologist cocktails.

The ruins of Barking Abbey, built in the 7th Century, still stand in the grounds of what’s now called Abbey Green and host an open-air classical concert each May. The grounds also house Grade-I listed St Margaret’s Church and the partially restored Grade II Listed Curfew Tower.

For a magical morning walk, beautiful afternoon stroll or to meet friends outside, this is a must-see park. Explore the wildlife, play areas, a lake and much more.

2. Walk along the River Roding

The River Roding runs through the heart of the borough and is a place where nature meets creativity. It starts its life in the countryside but soon meets intensively farmed Essex, the M11 and North Circular, which pump toxins into the water. Then it crosses the tidal section of Ilford, where it picks up the foul scent of the local garbage tip and riverside heavy industry.

Thankfully, a sprite-like barrister named Powlesland has been appointed a local “nature guardian”. He is cleaning up this shunned and abused river and putting it back into the hearts of the people that live beside it. It’s a tall order, but he hasn’t been afraid to take it on. He’s fought in high court, devised imaginative environmental campaigns and taken hands-on direct action.

3. Take a tour of St Margaret’s Church

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is a thriving borough with a town centre full of independent local businesses, as well as great transport links to central London. Our Pocket homes are located in the heart of this exciting borough and there is so much to see and do here!

St Margaret’s Church is a Grade I listed building and was once part of Barking Abbey. The present church lies within the former Abbey grounds, now known as Abbey Green. The oldest part of the church is its chancel which dates from c1300.

There are some beautiful features in the church including poppyhead pews and a classical style font. The church also houses statues of notable people associated with the parish, including Captain Cook who married here in 1762.

4. Visit the Valence House Museum

Located in Valence Park off Becontree Avenue, the only surviving one of the five manor houses of Dagenham, the Valence House Museum is an historic timber-framed building partially surrounded by a moat. Exciting galleries tell the story of Barking and Dagenham over the ages. Highlights include a reconstruction of the Council 1945 living room and kitchen, Victorian Servants Parlour and the Fanshawe collection of portraits.

In addition to the exciting gallery displays, visitors can also visit the borough archives and local studies library. This is where you can explore minute books, departmental records and plans relating to organisations, businesses, schools, non-conformist churches and families with connections to Barking. A possible medieval secular wall painting has been uncovered during recent renovations at the museum. The painting is believed to depict a hunt scene.

5. Visit Barking Abbey

The ruins of Barking Abbey offer a fascinating insight into the former royal monastery which once stood here. Visitors can admire the ruins while taking part in annual classical concerts and events held at the site.

The borough is full of local museums and heritage centres where children can learn about the area’s past. The borough also has many fun activities for kids, including bowling and indoor winter sports. For details on these and more visit Families Barking and Dagenham for a comprehensive list of things to do in the area.

Whether you’re looking for a scenic morning walk or somewhere to meet friends, the borough of Barking has it all. From riverside walks to national trust buildings, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

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