12 HOURS IN AND AROUND WALTHAMSTOW
Walthamstow lies conveniently at the end of the Victoria Line, giving easy access to Central London. It’s flanked by Epping Forest — the largest green space in London — to the East and the Walthamstow Wetlands to the West. Having gone through a transformation in recent years, “#awesomestow” (as it’s known by Twitterrati) certainly has a lot to offer.
Once you alight at Walthamstow Central station, you can either go straight into Walthamstow Village, the oldest part of present-day Walthamstow, or walk down Hoe Street, which divides the area smack down the centre between the Village and the slightly edgier part of Walthamstow (which also includes the acclaimed market).
Hoe Street has had a host of shops, restaurants, and yoga studios open up in the past few years. If you want to grab a quick coffee and toastie for breakfast, head to Today Bread, the local sourdough bakery and café. A five-minute walk from the station, the café is located in a historic post-war building that previously hosted a bank and council offices. They lay huge emphasis on shopping and eating local, and to that effect, the cheese for their famous cheese toastie is sourced from Buchanan’s, an artisan cheesemonger in Mayfair. And if you like their sourdough breads, you can even try your hand at their bread-making course.
If you fancy walking the length of Hoe Street for a hearty veggie or vegan breakfast, try Buhler and Co. They serve up classics like avocado on toast with poached egg or feta, a vegan fry up which includes fried corn and polenta cake, Portobello mushroom, smokey bean spread, and parathas. If you’re looking for a community vibe, try the vegan Hornbeam Café, which prioritises sustainable and low-cost living.
Today Bread, 6-10 Central Parade, 137 Hoe Street, London E17 4RT. Phone: 07957 158184
Buhler and Co, 8 Chingford Road, London E17 4PJ. Phone: 020 8527 3652
Hornbeam Community Cafe & Environment Centre, 458 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9AH. Phone: 020 8558 6880. Closed Mondays.
Make your way to one of Walthamstow’s greatest treasures, William Morris Gallery. A short walk from Hoe Street, the gallery explores the legacy of textile designer, craftsman, poet, novelist, and socialist William Morris. Explore his life through the rooms of the house or have a look at some of the collections on display. The house, called “Water House” when William Morris lived there, leads to Lloyds Park that hosts the annual Walthamstow Garden Party by the Barbican.
If you’re in the mood to shop instead, head to Walthamstow Market, the longest outdoor street market in Europe! From Monday to Saturday, you’ll fine fruit and veg and household goods on sale. But come Sunday, it transforms into a farmers’ market with the best local produce on sale like organic eggs, artisanal cheeses, cooked sausages, and more. Skip to the close by Wood Street Indoor Market, in the shape of a horseshoe, which is filled with antiques, second hand books, old magazines, and other knick knacks.
William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, London E17 4PP. Phone: 020 8496 4390
Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4PP. Phone: 020 8497 3000
Walthamstow Market, E17 7AH
Wood Street Indoor Market, 98-100 Wood Street, Walthamstow, London E17 3HX. Phone: 020 8521 0410
After a long, relaxing walk at Lloyds Park or an amble at the markets, you will probably want to sit down for a bite to eat. There are plenty of options in Walthamstow, especially if you’re craving some rustic sourdough pizzas. Hop to Sodo, which lies in a former warehouse, or the more popular Yard Sale Pizza, for a bite. If you’d like something more substantial, Walthamstow High Street has plenty of options. You can try Turtle Bay for Caribbean food or Yum Yum E17 if you’re in the mood for Thai, and finally finish off with pancakes from Creams for dessert.
Sodo, 21 Hatherley Mews, Walthamstow, London E17 4QP. Phone: 020 8520 1244
Yard Sale Pizza, 105 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0NP. Phone: 020 3602 9090
Turtle Bay, The Scene Cleveland Place, 269 High Street, London E17 7FD. Phone: 020 8520 7839
Yum Yum E17, 202 Hoe Street, E17 4BS London
What better way to digest that lunch than to wander around London’s largest green space? Epping Forest covers a large part of North East London and Essex, including Walthamstow, and you can take several walking trails to explore this beautiful, largely untouched area. Mill Plain, especially, offers fantastic views of the London skyline.
If you want to explore nature but not wander in to the deep thickets of a forest, you could make your way towards the Walthamstow Wetlands. Hailed as Europe’s biggest urban wetlands, this reserve is important for all sorts of wildlife and wintering and breeding birds. Whichever one you choose, you’ll be right in the lap of Mother Nature.
Epping Forest, North East London & Essex
Walthamstow Wetlands, 2 Forest Road, London N17 9NH. Phone: 020 8496 2115
As you make your way back from Epping Forest or the Wetlands, you have the choice of going to Walthamstow Village (to know a little bit more about the history and heritage of Waltham Forest in Vestry House Museum), or you could wander into the neon wonderland that is God’s Own Junkyard, an unassuming warehouse filled with old vintage movie signs. Situated in Ravenswood Industrial Estate, it’s probably the best place to be for evening drinks. There’s also a café inside the Junkyard if you’d like a pick-me-up while chilling on their sofas.
Vestry House Museum, Vestry Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9NH.
God’s Own Junkyard, Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9HQ. Phone: 020 8521 8066
Now is when Walthamstow well and truly comes alive. There’s been a surge in bars and breweries in the past few years in the area, and if you’re already at God’s Own Junkyard you just have to step out and enter Pillars Brewery that is best known for its lagers. You can also go around the corner to Wild Card Brewery, a microbrewery that as among the first watering holes to set up shop in Ravenswood Industrial Unit.
If beer isn’t your thing, head to Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace for a whole variety of hand-crafted flavoured gins. It’s a definite favourite among the Stow locals! For something fancier, Mirth, Marvel, Maud is one to check out. Set in a Grade II listed building that was once a famous cinema frequented by Alfred Hitchcock, it’s the perfect place to kick back with some lip-smacking cocktails.
Mirth, Marvel, Maud, 186 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 4QH. Phone: 020 8520 8636
Wild Card Brewery, Unit 7, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, E17 9HQ. Phone: 020 8935 5560
Pillars Brewery, Unit 2 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow E17 9HQ. Phone: 020 8521 5552
Mother’s Ruin, Unit 18, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, London E17 9HQ. Phone: 07905 484711
End your fantastic day with a truly delicious meal. Walthamstow has plenty to offer when it comes to dining, and it caters to a good range of budgets. If you’ve had one too many to drink and want something greasy and hearty to soak up all that alcohol, head to The Castle in Walthamstow Village where you’ll be served classic pub fare with a side of charming community vibe. Dogs and babies welcome. If meat is more your thing, go forth to Gokyuzu, a Turkish restaurant serving mixed grills and an array of mezze (for a large group, definitely get the mixed grills platter). For something more European, you will find Spanish tapas at Orford Saloon. But if you’re looking for some really good modern British food, go to the original Eat 17 in the Village that was started by two brothers from Walthamstow.
The Castle, 15 Grosvenor Rise E, Walthamstow, London E17 9LB. Phone: 020 8509 8095
Gokyuzu, 42D Selbourne Walk, Walthamstow, London, E17 7JR. Phone: 020 8520 2998
Orford Saloon Tapas Bar, 32 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 9NJ. Phone: 020 8503 6542
Eat 17, 28-30 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9NJ. Phone: 020 8521 5279