Emerging Neighbourhood Guide: Walthamstow
It might be right at the end of the Victoria Line, but Walthamstow has a buzz and liveliness to it that can match any other place in London. With trendy new restaurants and curious little bars, steeped-in-history galleries and community-driven workshops. Not to mention the vast green oases of Lea Valley, Walthamstow Marshes and Epping Forest within easy reach. Walthamstow (or, as artist Grayson Perry and other locals refer to it, ‘Awesomestow’) is an unassuming, unpretentious enclave in north-east London. An area that combines culture, nature, community and an all-round vibe of pleasantness and loveliness, and holds a special place in the heart of anyone who visits it. And, with Waltham Forest having been named the London Borough of Culture 2019, there’s never been a livelier time to take a trip. Who cares if it’s zone four.
For a few years now, Walthamstow has had the ‘up and coming’ tag attached to it – which, quite often, is a sure-fire indicator of an area being about to lose all the qualities that made it up and coming in the first place. Thankfully that hasn’t been the case with Walthamstow. Sure, there’s been an influx of bars and restaurants, and it’s definitely more trendy than ever before – but it’s charming, roguish community spirit hasn’t diluted one bit, and its fierce independent attitude remains very much intact. Perhaps that’s why artists and creators are so drawn to the area: as mentioned, Grayson Perry once called it their home, as did Damon Albarn, acclaimed director Ken Russell, grime pioneer Lethal Bizzle, arts and crafts progressive William Morris and of course – most important of all – the boyband East 17. Below, we take you through some of the best things to see and do in Walthamstow 
Where to Eat
When it comes to good food in Walthamstow, your options are boundless. From pie and mash to Indian, Caribbean food to contemporary twists on British classics, the area’s foodie scene has benefited from a richness in diversity and open-minded approach to eating. You could tuck into some classic, honest British fare – ethically sourced, of course – at the renowned Eat 17 (don’t forget to check out the supermarket attached), or take a visit to Spice Box, the newly opened vegan curry house that’s already capturing attention. Coffee, cocktails and tasty bites to eat can be found at 56 St James, and tasting some of the items on Buhler & Co’s globetrotting menu is a must. 
What to See 
No visit to Walthamstow would be complete without a visit to the William Morris Gallery, where you can go on a journey through the history of the arts and crafts movement and the life of Morris, its leading figure, followed by a walk through the ethereal greenery of Lloyd Park, which the gallery is situated in. Throughout 2019, the gallery and other locations across the borough will be hosting special events for the London Borough of Culture 2019. Jazz festivals, light installations, craft workshops: it’s all happening.

Where to Play
God’s Own Junkyard, Chris Bracey’s neon workshop situated in the Ravenswood Industrial Estate is essential viewing – not just because the bright, colourful electric loveliness makes for Instagram gold. While you’re there, stop off for a cheeky tipple at the nearby Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace. If you’re feeling creative, you can take a trip to the Blackhorse Workshop, which holds courses on everything from basic DIY skills to the art of welding. Or, if you’re in the mood for a few more drinks, you can forego the hard labour and head instead to Mirth, Marvel and Maud for a beer or two inside the grandiose Grade II listed building, which, in a past life, was known as the Granada Cinema Walthamstow. 

Words by Oliver Impey


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