We’re not ready to call it Awesomestow yet, but there are some real gems up in Walthamstow that are worth checking out!
Hidden up at the end of the Victoria line is a place that many have spoken of, but few have ever seen. Ok, so that might be a little dramatic. But despite being the hometown of Lethal Bizzle, East 17, and Harry Kane, Walthamstow is surprisingly underappreciated. In fact, it has real crackers stowed away – see what we did there? – that the people need to know about. With that in mind, Secret London have decided to shine a light on some of the most interesting places in E17. So, without further ado, here are ten reasons to head to The ‘Stow (as it shall be affectionately nicknamed).
Sod off Hyde Park, because there’s a new kid on the block. And it’s bigger and wetter, too. Innuendos aside, Walthamstow Wetlands is a spectacular green area with thirteen miles of paths and several picturesque reservoirs. You can go fishing and birdwatching, or simply wander around Europe’s largest urban wetlands, all for free. The only downside is that dogs are verboten here, so you’ll need to go elsewhere for your daily dose of floofs and puppers.
2 Forest Road, N17 9NH
2. Grab a slice from Yard Sale Pizza
Whilst it may not be indigenous to The ‘Stow, Yard Sale Pizza has a cult following. How cult? Well, Macaulay Culkin’s pizza-lovin’ band, The Pizza Underground, played the grand opening of their Clapton store in 2014. Seriously. Their Walthamstow joint is the flagship, and whilst the regular pies are top-notch, the frequent “love-ins” they host with other eateries are also worth checking out. Previous efforts have seen them team with Monty’s Deli, White Men Can’t Jerk, and best of all, this pizza burger hybrid with Patty & Bun.
Find them at 15 Hoe Street, E17 4SD. Their other locations can be found here.
3. Check out the designs at the William Morris Gallery
Wallpaper king, devoted socialist, and proud beard owner – list a more impressive resume, we’ll wait. A proud son of Walthamstow, the William Morris Gallery is housed inside his old home. Stuffed full of furniture, ceramics, wallpaper, and textiles designed by the man himself, the gallery won the UK Museum of the Year award in 2013, and also happens to be one-of-a-kind. Literally, it’s the only public William Morris museum on Earth.
Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP
4. Achieve ginception at Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace
To be fair, gin is our ruin too, so you’ll hear no judgement from us. Inside a former WW1 munitions factory sits Mother’s Ruin, a boutique gin palace that distils and sells over seventy gins. All the botanicals and ingredients they use are either taken from their orchards, or else foraged from the wilds of Walthamstow. Best of all, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the place turns into a cosy cocktail bar, making this place a veritable Walthamstow ginstitution.
Unit 18, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernall Street, E17 9QH
5. See top comics at Red Imp Comedy
If some of the UK’s top comedians routinely make the pilgrimage to Walthamstow, then you definitely should too. Counting Alan Carr, Omid Djalili, Gina Yashere, and Stewart Lee as guests, Red Imp Comedy is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. Run by irrepressible MC Susan Murray, expect to see a mix of old hands and up-and-comers on the first Thursday of every month. Regardless of who’s performing, you can be confident of leaving with a grin on your face.
Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre Bar, 55 Hoe St, E17 4SA
6. Wander Europe’s longest outdoor market
They like having Europe’s biggest stuff here, don’t they? Walthamstow Market is a kilometre-long paradise of food, homeware, clothes and more, perfect for a Saturday morning stroll. Having started in 1885, nowadays over five hundred stalls line the High Street. It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday, and you can easily lose hours wandering from vendor to vendor.
High Street, between Cleveland Park Avenue and Pretoria Avenue, E17.
7. Enter a neon wonderland at God’s Own Junkyard
Many things in London claim to be unique, but very few actually are. God’s Own Junkyard is one place that is undeniably, certifiably unique. It is, quite simply, a neon-lit paradise of salvaged signs, film props, and illuminated art. If you can dream it, they’ve got it in neon – a quick scan of their gallery reveals flags, skeletons, and even one that simply reads ‘James Blunt’. One of these bad boys will brighten up your flat, but even if you aren’t in the market, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, E17 9HQ
Underground in that it’s still a nice little secret, but also because the restaurant is a 1967 Victoria line carriage. Supper club maestros Basement Galley are, much like Ross and Rachel, “on a break” until July 2018, but they are sneakily returning to the capital for a winter pop-up. Chef Alex Cooper is bringing produce from his home in Norfolk to deliver a five-course Christmas feast like no other. Tickets are selling fast, but there are still dates available in late November and early December – all aboard!
10 South Access Road, E17 8AX
9. Get the pints in at Wild Card Brewery
Described as “a hobby that got way out of hand”, Wild Card Brewery is the product of three plucky Midlanders who set up in The ‘Stow. Now, they offer amazing craft beers such as The Joker and The Queen of Diamonds in both bottles and kegs. They run tours, tasting, and even brewing experiences, in addition to operating two bars on weekends. The cherry on top of this sundae? They play host to Walthamstow Vegan Market on certain Sundays, attracting some of the best vegan pop-ups in London. With all that, it’s not hard to see why they’re beloved local favourites.
They have two locations in Walthamstow. The Ravenswood brewery and bar is at Unit 7, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, E17 7LG. Just across town, you’ll find their Lockwood brewery and bar at Unit 2, Lockwood Way, E17 5RB.
10. Epping Forest is right next door
The southern fringes of ‘The People’s Forest’ run alongside Walthamstow, earning it a spot on our list. With 50,000 trees and one hundred ponds (one of which has a penchant for murder), Epping Forest has drawn visitors as famous as Alfred, Lord Tennyson himself. Nowadays, you’re more likely to encounter mountain bikers than melancholy poets, but it’s a great spot to walk off the pizza and gin that Walthamstow has been spoiling you with!
Featured image: @jlevans2520