Thurrock is a unitary authority in south Essex, with over 18 miles of river frontage. The borough has a strong Industrial heritage, and has seen a strong growth in culture and leisure.
The borough is home to Intu Lakeside, one of the country’s leading shopping malls, and with its connected retail park, it is already among the largest retail areas in Europe.
Thurrock has a rich heritage. Tilbury Fort protected London from seaward invaders from the 16th century to the second world war and Queen Elizabeth I famously came here and rallied her nearby army to face the threat of the Spanish Armada. Nowadays a Thames Path connects Tilbury Fort with nearby 19th century Coalhouse Fort - 300 years of great British history, side by side in Thurrock. Coalhouse Fort is set within several acres of Green Flag parkland next to the River Thames and is currently undergoing refurbishment. The Fort served as a coastal defence battery during WW1 and WW2.
Other open green space includes the Thurrock Thameside Nature Reserve, a stunning and innovative visitor centre built on a former landfill site, with superb views over Mucking Flats SSSI and the Thames Estuary (SPA). Footpaths and cycle ways in 120 acres of nature park, which will expand to 845 acres, plus great birdwatching and ship watching. The RSPB Rainham Marshes site is placed right next to the River Thames, and the area was closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range. After acquiring the site in 2000, the RSPB transformed it into an important place for nature, and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter. Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.
Thameside Theatre in Grays is part of the Thameside Complex, a multi-purpose arts venue including the Theatre, Thurrock Museum, Grays Library and an exhibition area.
There are various community events in the borough throughout the year, including the Village Beach Festival, at Grays Beach Riverside Park.
Horndon-on-the-Hill is a village and church of England Parish in the unitary authority of Thurrock.
Phillip Vincent, inventor of the legendary Vincent motorbike was born and buried in the Village of Horndon-on-the-Hill. The Vincent HRD was one of the fastest road bikes manufactured through the 1930-1950 period in Britain. A Thurrock Museum Heritage Plaque is on display in the village commemorating this fact.
At Horndon a mint was established, known only from a single example of a penny dated between 1056 - 1059 during the reign of Henry the Confessor. Horndon appears on the reverse as "Hornidune".
Scenes from 4 Weddings and a Funeral were filmed at St Clements Church in Horndon. The church holds open days throughout the year and volunteers are on hand to show visitors around the historical building .http://stclementwthurrock.co.uk/
The Horndon Woolmarket dates back to the early 16th Century. The market was restored in 1970. Its focal point was the open arcade, which acted as a gathering place for the village, but it also had three meeting rooms and a small kitchen.
During the period following its opening, the building was open for coffee every morning, and was also the venue for many evening events and activities. Coffee is no longer served (since 2003), but the Woolmarket continues to act as a cultural centre for Horndon, with a busy schedule of artistic and musical events.