The latest London Living feature on East Village’s neighbouring towns and boroughs has our eye firmly focused on the north-east London town affectionately known as ‘Awesomestow‘.
Originally recorded c.1075 as Wilcumestowe, meaning ‘The Place of Welcome’, Walthamstow has grown from an amalgamation of five small villages into a modern-day east London urban centre, comprising a blend of cockney allure with a hint of Essex charm.
The birthplace of the world’s first motor vehicle, pop boy band East 17 and Europe’s longest street market, the town is steeped in history and culture.
The first stop for anyone feeling peckish in Walthamstow is the Village Kitchen. Boasting a varied menu with exotic delights such as kangaroo steak and more traditional options like pork belly, this bustling brasserie is a rightly popular choice for a Sunday lunch or midweek meal. Thanks to the generous portions, cosy setting and welcoming customer service, this restaurant is a jewel in Walthamstow’s culinary crown. Slightly pricier than local alternatives, the constant influx of customers and respectable reviews by TripAdvisor and Time Out London, among others, prove it’s great value for money.
Last year’s winner of ‘East London Pub of the Year’ the Ye Olde Rose and Crown theatre pub acts as a drinking den and a performing arts venue, both with equal aplomb. Considered by many to be the heartbeat of Hoe Street, Walthamstow’s main road, this is a hugely popular place to sup an ale, watch some seriously good comedy or even catch a local musical in the upstairs studio.
For those who enjoy the great outdoors, the Green Flag Award-winning Walthamstow Marshes is an extremely popular spot with cyclists, joggers and dog walkers, providing one of the loveliest scenic rural spaces in London. A protected nature reserve, there are many paths to explore by bike or on foot with a range of rare plant life for the botanists out there, including the internationally rare Creeping Marshwort and Brookweed. Bird lovers will also enjoy the Marshes, with the inviting sounds of buzzards and peregrine falcons always within ear shot. Not only that, the site is steeped in history and was the scene of the first all-British powered flight by Alliott Verdon Roe in 1909, as well as being used as trench land during the Second World War to stop enemy planes from landing.
If it’s art you’re in the mood for, head to the only public gallery devoted to Walthamstow’s favourite son, William Morris. A world class cultural destination dedicated to celebrating the arts and crafts movement pioneer, the William Morris Gallery is set in his eighteenth century house, where up to 600 objects, including previously unseen personal letters and early works, are on display to all visitors.
Situated upon the grounds of local recreational space Lloyd Park, the Grade II-listed Georgian villa has a bright and breezy atmosphere where kids and grown-ups alike can revere in Morris’s life achievements and legacy.