Tourism in Basildon

Well, it's interesting the kinds of people that read my blog. I know a fair few read it but don't comment, and every now and then I will get a mail out of the blue from someone that has obviously been reading. Kinda like this mail that I woke up to this morning:

Dear Dan,
I started reading your journal a few weeks back and have to say I love how down to earth you are about all matters. I live in Basildon not far from you (judging by yout your map). I read your post about your wedding with interest as you touched on tourism in Basildon. You would be surprised how wrong you are about what there is to do and why people would travel here. Take a look at the tourism page on the Council website; lots of interesting things.
All the best,
So, firstly, hi Lousia. Nice to see a Basildonian reading - I figured the hits from this area were just me updating it. Anyway, I am really really going to have to disagree with you on the tourism front. I checked that page this morning, and really cannot see why people would come to Basildon, rent a hotel room, and come here to see these.

For those of you interested, the Tourism/Places of Interest page at the Basildon Council site can be found here, but to save you clicking away, I will sum them up for you. Bear in mind I've lived here since I was a tiddler, so am fully qualified...

St Martins Bell Tower, St Martins Square
OK, this is a tower plonked in the middle of the town center. It took forever to build, and someone ran off with the cash - which went on and on. More often than not, it's closed and I don't think I've ever heard it ring.

Mother and Child Statue, Basildon Town Square
OK, this has been around for years, used to be the symbol for Basildon, and is a fountain. A fountain I swam through one freezing New Years Eve while drunk, and ended up very sick. However, this is *just* a fountain in the middle of the shopping town center.

Cats Cradle Pussiwillow III Clock, Eastgate Shopping Center
Granted, this is a pretty impressive sized clock, fully animated. The chimes of it have always filled Eastgate, and all the money people throw in there goes to charity. BUT - worthy of a "place of interest"? I don't think so - also - it's in the middle of a shopping center, just like the previous entries. I spy a plot to get tourists shopping.

Basildon Bus Station
OK, seriously, can you list a steel-and-glass-lean-too as a tourist attraction? What they fail to mention is that the bloody great butchers INSIDE the bus station makes it stink - plus the drunks using it as a toilet in the night. It's a bus station - which occasionally suffers from bus drivers unable to stop. Three bays are currently being rebuilt. And should I mention this is in the town center as well... Of course, they are refering to the huge mosaic timeline of Basildon ABOVE the station. To view it, you either have to stand at the taxi rank, or across the main road by the railway line.

Plotlands Museum, Laindon
OK, history finally. However, this is a mock up of bungalows that Londoners used to use to escape the city. It's used for school trips - Jaysen was there earlier this year, and was only out for three hours. I used to live near here, and the countryside IS very nice, but tourist attraction?

Barleylands Farm, Billericay
"A unique farm-based attraction". Hey, that's what it says. It's a farm, with craft center, miniature reailway, Farm Center and bi-monthly farmers market. What they fail to mention is that part of the farm is also used as a dump.

The Cater Museum, Billericay
Can't comment as I've never been there - but it's on the High Street (ie, shopping center of Billericay!), and is a Victorian jobbie, apparently.

Motorboat Museum, Pitsea
OK, something that could attract enthusiasts, but I have to say, it's not a very bit museum. A barn or so of displays. Of course, it's in:

Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea
Now this place I actually love. But I love being out in the middle of nowhere. If you're a bird-spotter apparently this is a good place to come. There are a few things to do here as well, but it's nice to just walk. However - depending on the heat and the wind - you're next door to one of the largest rubbish dumps in Essex.

Norsey Wood Nature Reserve, Billericay
I've not been here for years, but it's lovely - woods and fields, plus some history going on too. What can I say, it's a forest.

Mill Meadows Nature Reserve, Billericay
Never been, but it's description is one line: "Mill Meadows is a series of rolling old meadows covering 90 acres." Wild flowers and insects.

Noak Bridge Nature Reserve, Basildon
hehe this used to be a building site - I should know, this is the site of many a broken bone, cut-needing-stitches and concussion. Me and Gemma used to catch slow-worms here too. But again, it's a nature reserve.

Battlesbridge Antique Center, Battlesbridge
This place is miles from Basildon - really not sure how it can be classed as Basildon at all! But, if you're into old stuff, here you go.

And that is IT. Now, I really cannot see anything here that would attract tourists from far and wide - maybe a few hours drive away if it's something you're keenly interested in (like the boat museum), but honestly, nothing here would last an entire day. Unless you took a picnic to one of the nature reserves. But is that a tourist thing? I'd be very interested to hear the view of people further away in the UK and Abroad - would you visit Basildon for these things? Ignore the fact you could visit us, don't add me to the equation.

Would you visit Basildon to see the things listed on the tourism webpage?

[Edit: I should add, considering the things they've put on here, I am surprised they've not included other places. Gloucester Park and it's Pool, Langdon Hills Nature Reserve, St. Nicholas Church (and a few other churches)... If they can list a Bus Station, why not include the oldest church in the area - one that can be seen from miles around?]

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4 Responses to “Tourism in Basildon”

Minge said...

Perhaps Alison Moyet or Depeche Mode fans come in tribute? Like some kind of pilgrimage.

Why would anyone want to visit the frikkin' bus station?

Dan said...

To buy stuff - there are shops in there too, believe it or not. Including the stinky butchers.

Anonymous said...

ya know dan, I am thinking that bus station sounds like the PERFECT location for YOUR wedding. I dont know where Jo will hold hers.....

Dan said...

I can honestly say A) I have standards, and B) Jo used to work in said stinky butchers. She has intimate knowledge of the stink.