Walthamstow. Awesomestow. Whatever you call it, this London neighborhood is worth exploring. Which is funny, because I’ve lived in London for 10 years and haven’t. Until today, when my boyfriend and I take the Victoria line to the last stop to see what all the excitement is about. I’ve heard there are a lot of things to do in Walthamstow, and I can’t wait to find them.
Things to Do in Walthamstow
Up in northeast London, Walthamstow has gotten trendy faster than I can say gentrification. Everyone is moving here, visiting here, and setting up shop here these days. The result is a mix of classic London neighborhood and creative new energy.
Getting off the tube at Walthamstow Central, we find ourselves in the more traditional part of Walthamstow. Walthamstow Market, which lines the high street, is the longest of its kind in Europe. Its colorful fruits and vegetables brighten up a gray day and set the tone for our visit.
Down Hoe Street we find the newer bits of the area on Orford Road. The village here is home to stylish shops and restaurants patronized by yummy mummies and posh puppies. We join the crowd for lunch at Eat 17, where giant gnocchi and vegetable curry go down a treat.
From Orford Road it’s a quick hop to God’s Own Junkyard, the most famous shop in the area and certainly one of the most popular things to do in Walthamstow. It claims to be the oldest sign maker in London with the largest stock of vintage neon and signs in Europe. And it’s pretty much an electrified feast for the eyes.
On the more subtle end of the spectrum, we head around the corner to the Ancient House in Walthamstow. This 15th-century timber frame home is just the thing to make us appreciate the neighborhood’s history.
And there’s a lot of it around. Across the street is a graveyard with weathered stones, and down from there are pretty almshouses and a Vestry House museum.
Speaking of museums, Walthamstow is best known for being home to the William Morris Gallery.
Set in Lloyd Park, this Georgian house is full of the work of the Arts and Crafts designer and his family. From rich textiles and wallpapers to interactive exhibits, it’s an inspiring place to get in touch with one’s inner maker.
Which is good, because down the road Blackhorse Lane is the epicenter of Walthamstow’s creativity. In the midst of giant warehouses, small workshops and studios have popped up to bring Londoners everything from hand-made wood works to local honey.
We pop into a couple of them, watching enterprising individuals welding metal and exploring new flavors of food. We catch glimpses of pop-ups on the roadside and colorful murals sprucing up bland walls as we go.
And when the sun starts to set, the sky rises to the occasion and puts its best hues on display, too. We beat a path to the nearby wetlands, which along with Epping Forest are some of the neighborhood’s natural highlights.
As darkness settles in, we make our way back to the tube while marveling at how much ground we’ve covered in our short time in the area. I had no idea there were so many amazing things to do in Walthamstow, but now that I do I can see why everyone wants to be here. Including me.
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