From abbeys and artists’ quarters to Ford factories and film studios, Barking and Dagenham’s history has shaped the country’s economic past and sign posts its future.

To celebrate this, Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering urban regeneration company, has launched a unique free bus tour of the borough to give an insight to why it’s London’s hottest investment opportunity.

Managing Director of Be First, Pat Hayes, said: “Be First’s mission is to accelerate growth in the borough so that we can provide homes and jobs for local people. It’s a huge task – we’re expecting to deliver 50,000 new homes and 20,000 new jobs within the next 20 years.

“But to appreciate the scale and the opportunity, it’s not enough to read about it – you have to see it with your own eyes.  That’s why it’s imperative to book yourself a place on the most important bus tour in town.”

Qualified guide, Charlie Forman, leads the tour and provides a friendly and entertaining insight into the past, present and fast-evolving future of the borough.

The tour starts and finishes from Barking Town Hall and does a circuit of the borough, including the Ice House Quarter, Barking Riverside and the industrial and residential areas of dynamic Dagenham, including the soon-to-be film studio site.

The monthly tours are free to the public and can be booked on a first come, first served basis here.