All hail Awesomestow! Whereas twenty years ago E17 made us think of heartfelt Christmas No.1s from boy band morons who mistakenly ran themselves over with their own cars, now it’s a byword for trendy, pop-up chic. Walthamstow is fast becoming a stereotypically excellent, warm and friendly 21st century London community, with cat-friendly pubs, cheap and tasty tapas bars and inventive, accessible art galleries. Never mind visiting, this is a part of the world that’s worth moving into, and quick, before the secret gets out forever!
1. William Morris Gallery – The William Morris Gallery is the only public gallery devoted to the life and legacy of William Morris: designer, craftsman, socialist. In keeping with the spirit of the local area the gallery contains work by Morris and other like-minded creators whose art contains the spirit of campaigning and good humour throughout.
Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday 10am–5pm. Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PP
2. Vestry House Museum – A sweet little picture box of a museum, this contains themed displays capturing the unique heritage of the local area and includes the famous Bremer Car, a Victorian parlour, costume gallery and wonderful display of locally manufactured toys and games. A collection of 80,000 historic photographs from across the Borough is accessible to everyone by appointment. The beautiful volunteer-run garden is an oasis in which to relax and enjoy the arrival of spring. Opening Times: Wednesday- Sunday 10am – 5pm. Vestry Road, Walthamstow, E17 9NH
3. Gods Own Junkyard – One of the most unique, bizarre and wonderful places we’ve ever visited, GOJ is part art gallery, part museum, part thrift store, part antique show and entirely and excellently bonkers. Located next to the Wild Card Brewery, this massive warehouse holds neon signs, B-movie figurines, twisted and arcane decorations and a whole host of other wonders. Unless you’ve just picked Lord Sugar’s pocket you’re unlikely to be able to afford any of the pieces on show, so instead wander around open-mouthed at this garishly delightful collection. Opening Times: Friday/Saturday – 11am to 9pm; Sunday – 11am to 6pm. Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, Walthamstow, London E17 9HQ
4. Eat 17 – A picture perfect, award-winning eatery in the heart of Walthamstow Village, we’ve not found anywhere better to kickstart our day. The best value is at breakfast time with their “smash you in the chops” kippers and elegant smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. If you want to treat yourself, you can enjoy a starter, main and a glass of wine for £20 and then treat yourself to some ice cream provided by Gelupo – another Frugl favourite. Opening Times: Monday–Friday Midday–3pm / 6pm–10pm; Saturday 10am–10pm; Sunday 10am–4pm. 28-30 Orford Rd, Walthamstow, London E17 9NJ
5. Red Imp Comedy – Run by the hugely experienced, charming and funny Susan Murray, this regular comedy night is a hidden gem of the highest calibre. Murray has used her years on the circuit to build up a little black book that is the envy of promoters around the capital, meaning that audiences can see legends like Omid Djalili and Barry Cryer, as well as rising stars like Sara Pascoe. Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre Bar, 55 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London, E17 4SA
6. 56 St.James – This brand new coffee shop also has broader and brighter ambitions beyond its very tasty brews and cakes. As well as being the perfect work station for the self-employed and students, on Friday nights it slaps its special licence down on the table, waggles its eyebrows at you and then starts banging out cocktails with a gorgeous punch. Opening Times: Wednesday – Thursday 9am- 6pm; Friday 9am – 4:30am; Saturday / Sunday 10am – 6pm. 56, St James’ Street, E17 7PE
7. Wildcard Brewery – The next door neighbour of the equally excellent God’s Own Junkyard, the brewery has been pumping out delicious beers into London pubs (and beyond) since moving their micro-brewery to this site in January 2014. Backed by local supporters, the brewery is already doing its very best to liven the area with beery beach parties, open mic nights and mini-music festivals. Their tour and tasting is an absolute steal – £18 for the full Willy Wonka treatment plus 4 tasty half pints with food pairing. Opening Times: Friday – 5pm – Midnight; Saturday 11am – Midnight; Sunday 11am – 11pm. Unit 7, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, E17 9HQ
8. E17 Art House – A brief stroll from the underground station, this is the sort of art gallery we love. You can keep your Caravaggios and Kahlos, instead the art house has a broad and entertaining selection of prints, paintings, cards and photographs by local artists and illustrators, most of which have a charming sense of humour and affordable enough that they could end up on your living room wall. Opening Times: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm. 54-56 Hoe St, London E17 4PG
9. Orford Saloon – Orford Street is at the heart of everything good that’s happening in the burgeoning Walthamstow Village, providing some Iberian sunshine on the border with Essex! There’s a cornucopia of dishes available, none of which will test your wallet to the tune of more than £7, plus a rotating carousel of sumptuous special dishes. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10:30pm; Friday/Saturday Midday – 3pm / 6pm – 10:30pm; Sunday Midday – 9:30pm. 32 Orford Road, London E17 9NJ
10. Village Kitchen – A mainstay of Walthamstow for twenty years, the Kitchen offers delicious modern cookery at the highest standard. It can be unsurprisingly pricey at peak times, so make use of their 2 courses for £16.50 offer on certain dishes from Monday to Thursday. Opening Times: Monday – Friday 6pm -10pm; Saturday 10am – 4pm / 6pm – 10pm; Sunday 9am – 11:30am / Midday – 9pm. 41 Orford Rd, London E17 9NJ
11. Stow Film Lounge – A celluloid willow-the-wisp, the Stow Film Lounge is a pop-up cinematic venue that inhabits a variety of venues around E17. Taking in every genre from John Woo shoot-em-ups to Disney cartoons, the Lounge gives you the chance to watch cinematic classics and unlikely gems in unusual surroundings.
12. Auro Rose Cakes – Every self-respecting up and coming part of London needs to have an indulgent cake shop if it wants to be taken seriously and Auro Rose hits all the right, sugary notes. Nothing on the menu costs more than £6 and you can start with savoury treats like quiche and the inventive bocaditos on offer – Spanish style empanadas with fillings such as pulled pork, sugar cane and pineapple or manchego, basil and olives, before getting started on their delicious array of cakes. Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm. 84 Hoe St, Walthamstow, Greater London E17 4QS
13. Le Delice in the Park – Located in the middle of the delightful Lloyd Park – which itself is packed full of sports courts, outdoor gyms, art exhibition spaces and a skate park – Le Delice is the perfect location for a mid-afternoon coffee or a quick tasty lunch, all at old-fashioned prices. Big breakfasts come in at just a fiver and there’s also some wonderful invention on display with dishes such as a breakfast tagine or roast baby chicken with raspberry gravy! Opening Times: Monday – Sunday 9am – 5pm. Winns Terrace, Walthamstow, E17 5EQ
14. Peppe’s Pizza – In East London some of the best deals you’ll get come out of the back of a van and Peppe’s is the best example of that… Peppe has a mighty 28 years of pizza making to his name and will rustle up pizzas to order in his wood-fired oven. Opening Times: Wednesday – Saturday from 6:30pm. Outside Ye Olde Rose and Crown.
15. Bygga bo cafe – Walthamstow is such a proudly multicultural part of London that it’s sometimes easy to overlook the more understated contributors to that. Bygga Bo brings a little slice of Stockholm to E17, providing efficiently made coffee with a thumping kick and also playing host to an array of Swedish food sellers, toy makers and lifestyle enhancers. Opening Times: Wednesday – Friday 10am – 5pm; Saturday/Sunday 10am – 6pm. 8 Chingford Road, London E17 4PJ
16. Nag’s Head – This pub is the perfect example of the exciting and quirky changes happening within Walthamstow. There’s the usual array of craft beers and ales on sale, selections of board games and a delicious menu of homespun Italian cookery compiled by current resident chef Nino. Added to that is the fact that the Nag’s Head is a feline friendly pub, with a resident jazz band – The Stowaways – playing every Sunday evening. We presume that ‘Everybody Wants to be a Cat’ is permanently on the set list. Opening Times: Monday – Saturday Midday – 11pm; Sunday Midday – 10:30pm. 9 Orford Rd, London E17 9LP
17. Manzes – A trip to Walthamstow wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this classic old-fashioned pie and mash shop. It’s a joyous slice of an almost bygone London, complete with Victorian décor and the ever-present threat/delight (depending on taste…) of jellied eels! Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm. 76 High St, London E17 7LD