Laindon is a commuter town in the Essex borough of Basildon, 22 miles east of London Fenchurch Street. When rail reached it in 1888, the timing couldn't have been better - the agricultural depression of the 1870s had damaged the area's economy, and the new station gave it a shot in the arm. Today Laindon station takes locals into London in around 35 minutes, and has a great piece of film trivia too: it was the childhood home of British actress Joan Sims, whose father was the stationmaster. There's a plaque dedicated to the Carry On star by the entrance.
One of the main draws of Laindon is green space, with the surrounding woodland offering a peaceful escape from the buzz of the capital. For shopping, the Eastgate and Westgate shopping centres are only a short bus ride away, as is the Festival Leisure Park, with a bowling alley, cinema and late bars.