CK Travels

20 Things to do in Wanstead, East London (2023)

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Wanstead in east London is regularly listed as ‘one of the top places to live in London’ and we can easily see why. 

A nice neighbourhood with a village vibe, Wanstead has oodles of green spaces, a cavalcade of cafes and coffee shops plus some of the best beer gardens in London.

Read on for our best things to do in Wanstead, east London

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

Things to do in Wanstead

1. Wanstead Park

We start our ‘best things to do in Wanstead’ list with Wanstead Park, one of our favourite parks in the whole of London. This is a gorgeous green gem comprising 140 acres of parkland to peruse and potter around, with several ponds and ornamental waterways to explore.

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

Wanstead Park is grade II listed also has waterways and lakes including the Heronry Pond, the Shoulder of Mutton and the most beautiful of them all, the Perch Pond (mirror-like on calm days).

Popular with fishermen, there are lots of wildfowl and birds who reside here; be careful of the swans – they can be vicious!

Address: Wanstead Park, Warren Road, London, E11 2LS

2. Wanstead Grotto

One our Wanstead Park highlights is the (slightly) magical and mystical Grotto, an 18th century ruin that currently has some restoration work underway.

Wanstead Park Grotto was constructed in the 1760s and used by a former Earl as a boathouse until it fell into disrepair before being rebuilt over the years.

The Wanstead Grotto’s lookout changes over the seasons – visit in the winter and you’ll see its mirror reflections on a lake but visit in the summer and you’ll see a glade of purple petals all springing up with no water in sight.

Address: Wanstead Grotto, Warren Road, London, E11 2LT

3. Wanstead Temple

The Wanstead Park Temple is open most weekends, manned by volunteers with information and interpretation panels inside detailing the park’s history. 

Inside, there is a history of the Park’s Roman Villa detailed via intricate mosaics, historic statues that have been brought in from the park to protect them plus a forest themed gifts hop.

In April, the ‘secret’ Chalet Wood next to Wanstead Temple (and also in Wanstead Park) becomes awash with a field of beautiful bluebells.

Address: Wanstead Temple, Warren Road, London, E11 2LS

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4. Wanstead Village

You could be forgiven for thinking you’d left London when you step off the Tube station at Wanstead Village – a charming, neighbourhood strip of shops, bars and restaurants, many of which are independent and artisan.

On a warm summer’s day, the village high street is thronging with people eating or drinking outside the various cafes and bars.

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

Wanstead Pubs and Bars

Wanstead’s pub scene is a good one. Wanstead has a wide variety of pubs and inns, most of which are located within the village.

Our favourite Wanstead pubs are listed below as these all feature Wanstead’s best beer gardens and outdoor areas:

5. The Bull

Formerly the Manor House, Wanstead’s newest pub, The Bull, also appears to be its most popular.

When we last visited The Bull one warm summer’s afternoon, the big beer garden outside was heaving – definitely one for a summer session and a nice spot for a Pimms or pint in the sun.

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

Regular events at the Bull Wanstead include live sports, comedy evenings and Sunday night quizzes.

Address: The Bull, 129 High Street, London E11 2RL

7. The Cuckfield Wanstead

With a large beer garden out the back and seating overlooking the high street on the pub, The Cuckfield has been doing it right for years – it was once a 19th century coaching inn so you can feel the history with your hops.

Loved by the locals (particularly for their Sunday roasts), the Cuckfield is an iconic and much cherished community boozer and one of our top things to do in Wanstead.

Address: The Cuckfield 31 High Street, London E11 2AA

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

8. The George

Located across from the George Green (hence the pub name), the outdoor area here is a shaded spot with a view of the Wanstead Village sign (how Hollywood!) and lots of beer and food menu offers available during the week.

The George is a Wetherspoons pub meaning there are various cheap ales on tap too or inexpensive English breakfasts.

Address: The George Wetherspoon pub, 155-159 High Street, London E11 2RL

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Eating and Drinking in Wanstead Village

Wanstead High Street and Village is an eclectic mix of independent and locally run stores, along with a few of the usual chain delis and stops. Some of the more popular eating and dining establishments include:

9. Harveys Deli

A proper greengrocer, with all the staples and finest produce (much of it organic) you’ll ever need.

Address: 6 Clock House Parade, London E11 2AG

10. Ginger Pig

We highlight this upmarket butchery (one of several in London) based on the fact that when we visit, there is always a huge queue of locals outside and if it is anything like Ginger Pig in Askew Road, West London, their bangers will be brilliant.

Address: 3 Clock House Parade, London E11 2AG

11. Robins Pie & Mash

A traditional, family run pie and mash shop established in the 1920s (one of five), serving pie, mash and liquor. Veggie and vegan pies are now also available.

Address: 14 High Street, London E11 2AJ

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

12. Provender Cafe Bistro

French fare with a flair, Wanstead Provender ‘bourgeoise’ bistrot has proven hugely popular since opening five years ago, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Memorial Park.

Address: 17 High Street, London E11 2AA

13. Gail’s Bakery

Sweet treats and savoury pies, Gail’s for us is all about the spinach and feta roll!

Address: 55-57 High Street, London E11 2AD

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

14. Bare Brew Coffee Shop

Serving Square Mile Coffee and Wanstead’s ‘best brunch’, this is an award winning coffee shop and full of beans (sorry).

Address: 7 High Street, London E11 2AA

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

Wanstead Greens 

When we say Wanstead is green and verdant, we mean it as there are several actual greens located within two or three minutes walk of each other, all very popular with picnickers and exercise enthusiasts.

15. Memorial Green

Of the three, Memorial Green is the quietest and most shaded with a bronze war memorial that was installed in 1930 , dedicated to people from Wanstead who died fighting in WWI.

Address: Memorial Green, High Street, E11 2SS

Wanstead and Wanstead Park guide, east London

16. Christchurch Green

Wandstead’s Christchurch Green is the most popular of the three, a much loved and cherished community space with ample shade and park benches for all.

Address: Woodbine Place, London E11 2RH

17. George Green

On George Green, you can see Wanstead’s drinking fountain, which was installed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, which has been moved around Wanstead several times to accommodate road layout changes.

18. The Church of St Mary the Virgin

If you’re walking to Wanstead Park from Wanstead town, you’ll likely make the 10 minute walk via St Mary the Virgin Church, described by many as one of the finest Georgian churches in England.

There has been a place of worship on this site since the 1200s and the current church was consecrated in 1790 – it said that the interior has hardly changed at all over the last 230 years.

As you’d expect, the graveyard at the Church of St Mary the Virgin is a very peaceful and serene setting with lots of trees and foliage.

Address: 1 Langley Drive, London E11 2LN

19. Wanstead Tube Station

Wanstead tube station is easy to access from central London, located in zone 4 on the Hainault loop of the Central line.

The station is rather unremarkable other than the fact it took almost ten years to complete due to work stopping due to the war (it finally opened in 1947).

Address: Wanstead Tube Station, London E11 2RJ

20. Snaresbrook, Snaresbrook Pond and Hollow Pond

Our final ‘things to do in Wanstead’ are a few minutes walk from Wanstead Village.

We actually arrived to explore Wanstead via Snaresbrook station. It is only a few minutes walk between the two and it is a nice welcome to the area, as Snaresbrook High Street and Wanstead High Street blend into one; a pleasant tree lined avenue of shops and cafes.

If you have time, make the five minute walk to Snaresbrook Pond, a little, peaceful pond with gorgeous waterside reflections on calm days and plenty of wildlife.

We’d also recommend visiting nearby Hollow Pond if you have time, which feels like ‘London On Sea’ with its sandy embankments and rowing boats for hire.

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