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Watch a greyhound whizz by in London's leafy Gidea Park

Gidea Park is in the east London area of Romford, just a few miles from the M25. With its green leafy parks, shopping centres and quiet residential streets, it feels a world away from the capital but you can still easily get to the city centre thanks a fast train service from your doorstep. For a spot of shopping, you'll find lots of choice at The Brewery and Liberty shopping centres, or for something more traditional, Romford Market has more than 150 traders and operates on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. While here, a visit to Romford Greyhound Stadium is an experience not to be missed. Or for a breath of fresh air, Raphael Park and Lodge Farm Park are both lovely for a wander.

Old Macdonald had a farm �

Families will love a visit to Old Macdonald's Farm and Fun Park just ten minutes' drive away on the M25. With lots of animals to look at, plus rides and indoor play fun, there's plenty to help kids burn off some energy. For more greenery head to Hainault Forest Park, also close, which has a free zoo plus boating lake and cafe.

Head to the city centre

The bright lights of central London are only half an hour away by train from Gidea Park station. Alight at Liverpool Street and you're within walking distance from The Barbican Centre and St Paul's, plus great shopping and restaurants. Looking for a cheap hotel Near Gidea Park? Travelodge London Romford The Quadrant Hotel's a good bet or try Travelodge London Ilford Hotel.