Walthamstow, also known as 'awesomestow', is exactly that.
Walthamstow is home to a number of great attractions including numerous galleries and the very famous; God’s Own Junkyard. Yes, it may be the birth place of the nineties bad boy group who penned “Stay Now” East 17 (the postcode is E17), but Walthamstow has been making it up to us since then, and we forgive you Walthamstow….but we’ll never forget!
Diversity has always existed in E17 and with Shoreditch’s alternative culture moving further and further east, Walthamstow has become a hive of alternative activities and attractions for a number of years now. It’s a suburban district in east London in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, forming part of Greater London.
When it comes to affordability, Walthamstow offers it in abundance. In regards to the London Underground zones, it falls into Zone 3 and is the final stop on the Victoria Line, which means it comes a little cheaper than areas in Zones 1 and 2 that are closer to the centre of the capital.
As well as offering affordability, the area has three great schools, really nice areas (particularly near the pricier Walthamstow Village) but still has that hearty London feel that other places may be lacking.
On a Map
Walthamstow is within Waltham Forest.
An earlier spelling of Walthamstow was ‘Wilcumstowe’ meaning ‘place of welcome.’ AEC was located in Walthamstow and was responsible for the mass production of London’s famous buses. The “mile long” Walthamstow Market began trading in 1885 and is one of the most iconic markets in the city. However, the legend of it being a mile long is a slight overestimation as in reality it measures in at 100 metres.
Despite starting life as a rural area, it’s now largely a suburban, built up area. Head to Walthamstow Village for a little taster of what the area was originally like.
Walthamstow Village, to the east of Hoe Street is great to visit and even lovelier to live in but not so easy to find property, when you do, it may cost you an arm and a leg. Surrounding areas like the aforementioned Hoe Street are a better bet for renting.
The majority of Walthamstow’s property was built during the 20th century, mainly down to bombing raids during the war. Property is modern but dates back to the Edwardian era. Despite a boom in popularity in recent years, living in Walthamstow is still very affordable, perhaps down to the reasons mentioned earlier.
£1,000 pcm appears to be the starting rate for two bedroom properties with top-end properties coming in at between £2,500 and £3,000.
Walthamstow is very well served by Underground and Overground stations with stations for both at Walthamstow Central and Blackhorse Road. Full bus services operate from Walthamstow Central. The buses also provide a hopper service making all journeys simple and quick.
Restaurants, pubs, cafes and eateries
Eat 17 is based in the heart of Walthamstow Village and deliver innovative inventions as well as producing good old British food with a hearty feel. They’re convicted to sourcing ingredients ethically and use quality, local produce where they can.
They’re famous for their ‘Bacon Jam’ but you’d be a fool for thinking that’s where it all stops. All bread is baked in-house rather than out-sourced. Their ingredients come from very nearby, over the road in some cases as all meat comes from the East London Sausage Company and fruit and veg comes from Spitafields Market. Fish is caught and delivered in the most sustainable ways possible and to top it all off, they do a traditional Sunday roast with all the trimmings – a true British institution!
Address: 28-30 Orford Road, E17
Phone: 020 8521 5 279
56 St James, at the Queen's Road end of Walthamstow on St James’s Street, sources its coffee from the currently popular Nude Espresso. One of the great things about it is the sourdough bread they make, lauded in numerous places all over the Internet.
With soft friendly lighting and modern vintage décor, 56 St James is a very welcoming café with smiley staff and skilled baristas!
Expect a menu with a small but perfectly formed selection sandwiches (with the previously mentioned sourdough), salads and cakes.
Address: 56 St James’s Street, E17
Mother’s Ruin, as some of you may know is another name for gin. London has a long illustrious history of gin-drinking and that is celebrated here. In my case, I'm not a mother, nor am I even a female but gin has definitely left me positively ruined on a number of occasions (I recommend the Withnail and I drinking game for a true gin-ruin experience). I digress!
If you’re looking for local spirit then you’ll find it aplenty in this gin factory on Maynard Road. In Mother’s Ruin you can choose from a variety of gins made with locally foraged berries. Food is provided by Aura Rosa in the Gin and Pudding Palace where you can find wonderfully tasty cakes, patisseries and more. Run by Jason and Geo (a professional pastry chef who has worked under Marco Pierre White amongst others!) the afternoon tea served every Sunday between 14:00 and 18:00 with clotted cream, scones "decedant pastries" and hot toasted finger sandwiches sounds especially good.
Address: Unit 18 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernall Street, E17 9HQ
All you read is love was a pop-up café/coffee shop with a twist that has just found a permanent spot in Leytonstone (next to Walthamstow). The twist is that it is a book café run by Danish siblings on the beautiful Hoe Street. Serving up sandwiches, cakes, coffee and craft beers along with DJs and writing workshops at certain times.
Ye Old Rose and Crown offer everything that is great about Walthamstow in 2014 – variety! As well as being a very traditional pub, it’s also a theatre and an art gallery. They’ve won East London pub of the year down to its fantastic selection, and care they take of ales and also gained recognition from real ale bodies CAMRA and Cask Marque.
Out on the pub frontage, you can enjoy pizzas from Peppe’s mobile kitchen that the pub claims are the best pizzas you’ll find in Walthamstow.
The theatre often welcomes stand-up comedians including household names and also hosts plays.
Address: 53 Hoe Street Walthamstow London E17 4SA
Founded from a youth of enjoying brewing and drinking beer in Nottingham, Andrew and William turned their hobby into an enterprise. They took their interest to London to set up something a little more serious.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday they open the doors and sell a variety of bottled and cask beers. From their very own playing cards-themed bottled beers to beers sourced from microbreweries around London, if you want to support London’s local breweries then this is the place to do it in Walthamstow.
Address: Unit 7, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Wathamstow, E17 9HQ
Things to see and do
For 37 years, this cult yard/shop has been a massive hit in both London and Los Angeles. It’s everything that’s current; retro, made using up-cycled materials, old movie props and neon lights.
Owner Chris Bracey made signs that everybody would’ve seen in Hollywood’s biggest films. Taking neon lights discarded when movies rap, circuses close down and shops and towns discard them, he up-cycles them to make the most amazing signage. Sadly Chris passed away late last year but his family are keeping the iconic Walthamstow gem alive - including opening the Rolling Scones cafe which opens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with some hot food, cakes and cream teas! They also have a licence if you fancied something stronger!
The place has become an institution is Walthamstow and is a tourist hotspot. Why not visit here before having a drink at the Wildcard Brewery?
Address: Gods Own Junkyard , Unit 12 , Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, London, E17 9HQ
The William Morris Gallery is an award-winning gallery based solely on the life and legacy of designer, craftsman and socialist William Morris.
It underwent a £5 million refurbishment and the trip is worth it for the tearoom, which overlooks beautiful Lloyd Park.
Address: Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17, 020 8496 4390
Cuttlefish Studios are a printmakers that hold regular art workshops who also showcase work from local residents in its gallery.
Address: 5 Blackhorse Lane, E17, 07753 686331
Shopping in Walthamstow
This historic market has been trading for well over a hundred years. It has a variety of stalls selling food, clothes, furniture, and antique goods while there are also cafes and restaurants selling anything from Caribbean food to jellied eels.
It hosts a popular farmer’s market every Sunday between 10am and 2pm.
Address: Walthamstow Market can be found on Walthamstow High Street.
In the popular shopping area of Orford Road, Penny Fielding sells collectables, contemporary art, gifts and also has gallery space.
In the gallery space they host new exhibitions every two months showcasing artists from E17 with a stand-out style and innovative artists from further afield.
Address: 34 Orford Road, E17
Phone: 020 8509 0039
‘The Mall’ have a number of shopping centres all over the UK and are one of the leaders in this market.
As well as hosting a number of events throughout the year, including craft markets on Sundays and children’s events this Halloween, the Mall has hundreds of shops under its roof. From household names to eateries, it’s well worth a visit for all the shopaholics out there!
Address: The Mall Walthamstow, 45 Selborne Walk, Walthamstow
If you think we've missed something essential about Walthamstow then let us know! Likewise if you're a business and think you should be included, let us know and we'll come check you out :)