At the northern end of the London Underground's Victoria Line lies the quaint and quirky Walthamstow. Wedged between the ancient Epping Forest (yeah, a real forest in London), the River Lea and some of East London's more 'authentic' (read edgy) areas, Walthamstow is an London-y as it gets in a lot of ways while still keeping its own charm and distinctive style.
Here's a list – which would have been next to impossible to compile if not for the knowledge and passion of Walthamstow resident, @DolceDini – featuring some of Walthamstow's best bits.
Taking place every day except Monday along the High Street (Saturday and Sunday are the busiest), Walthamstow Market's claim to fame is that it is the longest street market in Europe. From household items to artisan foods with all sorts of stuff in between, the market is a great place to take in London's cosmopolitan make up while shopping for bargains and treats.
L Manze Eel, Pie and Mash Shop
76 Walthamstow High Street, E17 7LD
While strolling the High Street, take a moment to check out L Manze Eel, Pie and Mash Shop. Something of a comfort food institution, this austere and Grade II listed eatery might seem an anachronism if it wasn't doing such booming business. Ever wondered what jellied eels taste like? Here's one of the last places in town where you can try them.
Waltham Forest Town Hall
Rectory Road, E17 4SU
Another local institution (this one of the official variety) is Waltham Forest Town Hall. Built by P D Hepworth and opened in 1942, the civic building is of Swedish “Inter-War” style and is coupled with an Art Deco assembly hall which is used for everything from weddings to concerts and other major events.
William Morris Gallery
Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP
At the southern entrance to Lloyd Park is the William Morris Gallery. Impeccably restored and only reopened to the public since late 2012, this world class destination and “international center of excellence” for the study of all things pertainining to Morris, the childhood home of this famed polymath designer is a fantastic gallery offering an unprecedented (and free!) opportunity to explore the life and work of one of the most important creative artists and original thinkers of the 19th century. More at wmgallery.org.uk.
God's Own Junkyard
Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, E17 9HQ
Got neon? They do at God's Own Junkyard! If one man's trash is a treasure to you, be sure to pay a pilgrimage to this shop/gallery to see “new and used neon fantasies, salvaged signs, vintage neons, old movie props and retro displays” – all collected or made by artist Chris Bracey. Details and images at godsownjunkyard.co.uk.
Wild Card Brewery
Unit 7, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Wathamstow, E179HQ
Across the car park from God's Own Junkyard is Wild Card Brewery. This microbrewery and bar is an ace place for a taste of proper ale made with East London flair alongside selected ciders, wines and spirits. Don't be surprised to find live music if you're there on the weekend or a food truck parked outside catering to the munchy needs of the indie imbibers. Find out more at wildcardbrewery.co.uk.
The “village” area of Walthamstow was designated in 1967.
For more about the history of the area, pay a visit to the Vestry House Museum (Vestry Road, E17 9NH). And for a taste of what's currently fashionable visit Eat 17 (28-30 Orford Road, E17 9NJ), arguably Walthamstow's most celebrated restaurant, for a delicious dining experience and the opportunity to try its infamous Bacon Jam. More at facebook.com/VestryHouse and at eat17.co.uk.
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