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Located at the end of London’s Victoria Tube line and possibly best known previously for the band East 17 and it’s greyhound racing stadium (both now defunct!), Walthamstow has undergone a lot of regeneration and has now become one of London’s most vibrant places to visit and live. From the copious amount of craft breweries to the foodie delights of Walthamstow Village, here is our list of top things to do and why you should be visiting ‘awesomestow’ soon…
Things to do in Walthamstow
It is rare to say in London that a place is ‘…like no other’, but in this instance, I think it’s fair to say God’s Own Junkyard is rather a unique place. An explosion of neon, like a Bladerunner outpost, this is a warehouse packed to the rafters with all manner of neon signs, vintage signs and general retro goodness. From religious statues holding guns to the faux red lights of Soho, this must be seen with your own eyes – our photos don’t do it justice.
Europe’s oldest sign makers, God’s Own Junkyard was the brainchild of Chris Bracey who started out making signs for Soho’s strip joints, before starting to fashion props and neon signs for the movies (such as all the New York neon signs in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, actually filmed in London at Pinewood Studios).
God’s Own Junkyard is open to the public at the weekends and one of the best free attractions in London (donations are requested, especially if you are taking photographs). There is also a café inside (grab a noisette with ya neon!) and many of the items on display are up for sale.
Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street E17 9HQ
Opening hours: Friday: 11am-9pm; Saturday: 11am-9pm; Sunday: 11am-6pm.
Walking around Walthamstow Village feels like you’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of London with its cute houses and some of the best pubs and restaurants you’ll find in the local area. We’ve been visiting for almost a decade and have definitely seen some changes over the years (‘gentrification’ isn’t a bad word).
Try visiting on a Sunday to have an incredible Sunday roast at renowned restaurant Eat 17 (see what they did there), followed by Sunday jazz at the Nag’s Head pub (not the one from Only Fools and Horses either). As an aside, the Spar in Walthamstow Village is one of the best supermarkets ever, chock full of local produce including Eat 17 goodies and cans of craft beer from all the local breweries.
Orford Road, E17 9NJ
Unbelievably, Europe’s largest urban wetlands is just a stone’s throw from the Tube station (actually situated closer to Tottenham Hale tube station than Walthamstow). Situated over an immense 211-hectare site, it comprises of ten interlinking reservoirs that are still used to provide much of London’s drinking water. It is also the largest fishery in London – no wonder the migrating birds and wildfowl flock there!
There is a visitor centre situated in the old Victorian Engine House building, which doubles as a function room for local events or weddings. They also offer lots of activities including nature walks for children (it is hard to get a bicycle or parking space during the school holidays). You’ll easily recognise it by its huge chimney (which now is home to swifts and bat colonies).
And if wildlife or walks aren’t your thing, visit the Walthamstow Wetlands Larder café (one of several branches that the Larder chain run) which offers drinks, light meals and snacks and an outdoor area overlooking the boardwalks.
2 Forest Road, N17 9NH
Opening hours: Everyday 9.30am-4pm
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William Morris was an English arts and crafts designer and early socialist, and a museum dedicated to his life and works is located inside his family home – a Grade II* listed building in Lloyd Park (he lived here from 1848 to 1856). There are two floors of free exhibitions to explore plus a lovely cafe, gardens, ponds and gift shop.
Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4PP
Opening hours: Tues-Sun: 10am-5pm. Free entry
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Lloyd Park market is a weekly outdoor food market located just outside the William Morris Gallery. You’ll find over 30 stalls selling local produce as well as a handful of street food options from popular vendors such as Crosstown Doughnuts, Mother Flipper (burgers), Little Leaf (vegan pizza), Carcass Fire (steak), Gyoza Guys (Japanese dumplings) and many more.
Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4PP
Opening hours: Every Saturday 10am-4pm
Red Imp Comedy Club at the Ye Olde Rose and Crown pub host regular comedy nights in their upstairs theatre. Famous TV names who have performed there in the past doing ‘work in progress’ and tour warm up shows include Alan Carr, Richard Herring and Micky Flanagan. Tickets for all shows go out to their mailing list first then on general sale 24 hours later.
53 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 4SA
Rose and Crown opening hours: Mon-Thurs: 10am-11pm; Fri-Sat: 10am-1am; Sun: 12pm-11pm (alcohol is served from 12pm everyday)
Walthamstow’s answer to BoxPark, Crate St James Street is a small retail village and street-food pop-up rolled into one, comprising of lots of shipping containers and a deck for eating and drinking. Family (and dog) friendly with lots of board games to play and a big screen for football and rugby, the deck at Walthamstow Crate can be enjoyed both in the summer and winter, when a large tarpaulin roof covers it coupled with copious indoor heaters.
With over 30 crates / containers all with different businesses, this is a great place to meet with friends if you all want to eat different things, accompanied with beers from the onsite Untraditional Pub (ably run by local favourite Pillars Brewery). From Vietnamese Hanoi Ca Phe to the Green Grill’s vegan delights, there should be something to suit everyone’s palette
CRATE Building, 35 St James Street, E17 7FY
Opening hours: Mon -Sat: 8am-11pm; Sun: 8am-10pm
Walthamstow breweries and taprooms
London has no shortage of craft breweries and Walthamstow is fast emerging as one of the best beer and brewery places to visit. Dubbed as the ‘Walthamstow Beer Mile‘, there are several to explore within a close proximity of each other, from the grungy laid-back surroundings of Wild Card and Exale breweries (both hidden gems amongst the urban decay of rambling random industrial estates) through to the shiny new surroundings of The Collab bar from Signature Brewery, smack bang in the centre of the ‘stow.
With more to come, hit up this bevy of breweries before the hipster masses descend:
- Wildcard Brewery – The Barrel Store
- Wild Card Brewery Lockwood
- Truman’s Social Club
- Pillars Brewery
- The Brewer’s Bar at Signature Brew
- Exale Brewing
- The Real Al Company and Trap Taproom
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A short walk from Wood Street overground station, Wood Street Indoor Market is an eclectic mix of bric a brac, bohemian stores selling all manner of vintage garments and assorted items from Moroccan tea-pots to vinyl LPs. It is also one of the best places in London to seek out retro toys (there are 3 or 4 toy stores selling the likes of original Star Wars figures, 80s Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars).
There are a couple of food and drink places inside but the main draw card is Homies on Donkeys – a small but cosy venue making fresh Mexican tacos to orders. We visited early one Saturday afternoon and the queue was out the door, with every seat inside and out taken. Most tacos start from about the £3.50 range and there are combo offers too.
98-100 Wood Street, Walthamstow, E17 3HX
Opening hours: Tues-Sat: 10am-5.30pm
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