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Can you believe that the Walthamstow Wetlands – Europe’s largest urban wetlands is only a five minute walk from a London Underground station?
Home to ten reservoirs and a huge variety of bird and wildlife species, here is our guide to Walthamstow Wetlands 2023.
Table of Contents
Walthamstow Wetlands Layout
Situated over a massive 211 hectare site (two distinct parks divided by the main road), the Walthamstow Wetlands are a blessed relief from the hustle and bustle that you’d normally associate with London life.
It is also a world away from the tourist tracks that sometimes spoil (and overcrowd) Hyde Park or Green Park.
The space comprises 10 interlinking reservoirs that are still used today to provide much of London’s drinking water – Walthamstow Wetlands is also the largest fishery in London (no wonder all the birds seem so keen to visit!).
Walthamstow Wetlands Admission & Entry
One of our best free things to do in London, Walthamstow Wetlands is totally free admission (although donations are gratefully appreciated).
Whilst it costs £15.50 for an adult to enter the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes, the fact that Walthamstow Wetlands are totally free to visit is amazing.
Suitable for walkers, bikers and joggers (and of course birdwatchers), some of the walkways are only open to walkers (and closed totally during other parts of the year), to ensure the natural habitats aren’t disturbed too much.
Birds at Walthamstow Wetlands
Throughout all the four seasons it is amazing to see how nature changes over the course of the year.
Our favourite time of year to visit Walthamstow Wetlands is during Spring (April / May time) when the ducklings and chicks are out, and the blossom (particularly around the Trout Fishery hut) is in full bloom.
As well as the common Canadian geese and swans, we’ve encountered Coots, Egyptian Geese and Peregrines plus heaps of herons.
If you are keen ‘twitcher’ (birdwatcher), the Walthamstow Wetlands has a regularly updated guide to what has been spotted in and around the reservoirs.
In terms other birds at Walthamstow Wetlands, look out for kingfishers, egrets, swifts and peregrine falcons.
There is also much pondlife including dragonflies, beetles and butterflies (plus bats roosting in the pump house).
Pump House and Tourist Information
If you are taking a trip to the Wetlands for the first time, start your visit at the old Victorian Engine House building which has an information centre in the foyer, full of helpful leaflets with knowledgeable staff on hand to assist with any enquiries.
There is also a small but well stocked gift shop and toilet facilities, plus you can explore the viewing gallery on the upper level (which has been known to house bat colonies).
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Food & Drink / Larder Cafe
Feeling peckish or as hungry as a hawk? If you want to make a day of it or fill up before your walk, grab a hot drink, breakfast or light lunch at the Larder Cafe, also situated in the Engine House. You can dine inside or on the outdoor dining deck with views of the wetlands.
Food at the Larder Cafe includes a full English breakfast, toasted sandwiches, sandwiches, cakes and brioche burgers.
The Larder Cafe is open for food and drink daily from 9:30am until 4pm (last kitchen orders 2.45pm, last coffee 3.45pm).
Events at Walthamstow Wetlands
During the summer months, Walthamstow Wetlands site hosts a popular events programme with lots of family activities (some free, some paid for).
Regular events at Walthamstow Wetlands include stargazing, nature tots and discover Walthamstow Wetlands walks.
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Our advice would be to wear sensible walking (or running) shoes that you don’t mind getting caped in bird poo and to take binoculars.
Plus, once you’ve finished wandering the Walthamstow Wetlands, why not explore Walthamstow itself (check out our Walthamstow guide) or totter off into Tottenham, using our things to do in Tottenham guide.
Walthamstow Wetlands address and opening hours
Address: 2 Forest Road, N17 9NH
Opening hours: Everyday 9.30am-4pm (as of March 2023)
The wetlands are just a short walk from Blackhorse Road station (Victoria line tube and London Overground) and Tottenham Hale station (Victoria line tube and Greater Anglia trains).
Other things to do near Walthamstow Wetlands
- Walthamstow Things to do guide
- Visit God’s Own Junkyard
- Blackhorse Road things to do guide
- Tottenham Hale things to do guide
- Explore Walthamstow Village
- Dine on an old Tube carriage in Walthamstow
- Drink at some of the best Tottenham pubs
- Drink craft beer at the Blackhorse Beer Mile
- Visit Lloyd Park Saturday Market
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