The Essex town of Benfleet is home to around 48,000 people. It lies on the north bank of the Thames estuary, close to Canvey Island and around 30 miles east of London. The town's main residential developments are collectively known as South Benfleet. A direct rail service into London Fenchurch Street makes the town popular with commuters.
A church was first built in the area following the Battle of Benfleet in 893 AD, when a Saxon army drove out marauding Vikings. The present church of St Mary stands on the spot.
The town offers a mix of small, independent traders and familiar high street names, as well as a cinema. Attractions include the ruined Hadleigh Castle and its 500-acre country park, Shipwright's Wood and two local golf courses. The Marsh Farm Country Park and RHS gardens at Hyde Hall are both a short drive away.