I'm a student journalist at Brunel University. Visit my blog at www.connorwhelan.wordpress.com
My twitter is: @whelanconnor
Published July 9th 2012
Located just under an hour away from London by train, Harlow in Essex is one of the hidden gems where days away out from London are concerned. It's found just outside the whole "Only Way Is Essex" territory as well, so it already has a lot more going for it the some places in Essex!
But on a serious note, if you are looking for a day away from the hustle and bustle of London without the total remoteness that some places bring, then you could do a lot worse then take a visit to Harlow. There really is something for everyone this town.
If you're a sporty individual then you have the relatively new Harlow Leisurezone. Wimbledon may have just finished but if you have caught the tennis bug then you have three indoor tennis courts. If you have about as much chance of winning a tennis match as Murray did against Federer (sorry Andy), then you can go for a swim, play football or any number of sports inside the new sports hall, and if you wouldn't win any of these sports then you can just relax in the Health Spa. Cannons Brook golf club is worth a visit if you know your way around a set of golf clubs. You also have the chance to relax and watch some sport being played with the town having a rugby club, a cricket club and a football club (who play at a brand new stadium).
Also found inside the Leisurezone is the Science Alive facility. This charity is attempting to make science as interesting as it is at the Science Museum in London, but on a smaller scale. It's the perfect chance for parents and children to enjoy the afternoon whilst both learning something new.
With 1/3 of the town being open green spaces, there is an abundance of places for families to go and have a picnic on a sunny day (if you are lucky enough to find one). The most well known green space in Harlow is the Town Park. This is one of the largest urban parks in the country and with the small farm/ animal keeping facility "Pets Corner" on site, it's again the perfect place to take the children for the afternoon.
Shoppers can also get their fill with the newly regenerated "Water Gardens" shopping centre located in the middle of the town. There are restaurants and all of the shops you could wish for to fritter away a few hours.
To put everything into one final paragraph, for a town home to only 60,000 people there really is something for everyone who wishes to visit. Whether you do one of the activities in the town take a trip to the Gibbered Gardens or the near-by airfield at North Wield, you won't be bored in Harlow.