In this regular series, we shine a spotlight on a London neighborhood to uncover its highlights and hidden gems. This week, we travel northeast to Walthamstow to explore its best bits, from its cute village center to its dazzling neon art gallery.
You Can Enjoy Tea and Cake in a Warehouse Filled With Vintage Neon Artwork
In an unassuming warehouse on an industrial estate near Walthamstow Village, God's Own Junkyard showcases a staggering array of vintage neon signs and artwork from the private collection of artist, Chris Bracey. Many of the pieces have featured in films, ad campaigns, and fashion shoots, and they sit alongside fairground and circus lighting and salvaged signs. Refuel with tea, cake or a beer at the Rolling Scones cafe.
It Has a Cute Village Center Lined With Pubs, Shops and Cafes
Centered around Orford Road, Walthamstow Village is a cute enclave home to cafes, boutiques, pubs and restaurants. It sits in a conservation area and the streets are lined with ancient houses, almshouses and churches. Pick up award-winning sausages at the East London Sausage Company and stop for a drink at Eat 17, a restaurant that serves ethically sourced British fare.
You Can Tuck Into Traditional Grub in a 1920s Pie and Mash Shop
This historic pie and mash shop on Walthamstow High Street has been serving traditional dishes to Londoners since opening in 1929. The beautiful space features original tiles and wooden booths, and the building is protected by English Heritage. Order a meat pie served with liquor (parsley sauce), or try the stewed eels for a true taste of east London.
It's Home to Europe's Longest Street Market
Walthamstow Market is the longest daily outdoor market in Europe and is lined with stalls selling everything from fruit and veg to clothes and household goods. It stretches for just over half a mile on the High Street and dates back to 1885. Foodies flock to the farmers' market in the town square every Sunday.
You Can Sip Craft Beers at a Cool Microbrewery
Just next to God's Own Junkyard, the Wild Card Brewery has been producing acclaimed craft beers since 2014. During the week, they're busy brewing but at the weekend (Friday-Sunday) you can check out the Tap Bar and taste a selection of the brewery's best beers plus bottles from other microbreweries. Wood-fired pizza is often served from the DoughBro food truck in the car park, and small group tours and tastings are available to book in advance.
Its Historic Heart Is Beautifully Preserved
The conservation area around Church End features some delightful buildings and is a former winner of Time Out's 'Best London Village' award. The 'Ancient House' opposite the churchyard dates back to the 15th century, and the almshouses that line Vinegar Alley were founded in 1527. You can trace the neighborhood's history at the Vestry House Museum in a converted 18th-century police station. It's free to visit and features local artifacts from the Victorian era to the 20th century.
You Can Explore One of London's Lesser-Known Galleries
Opened in 1950, the William Morris Gallery is the only public museum that celebrates the life and work of the English Arts and Crafts designer, William Morris. The collection is housed in a charming Georgian building (once home to Morris, his widowed mother and eight siblings) and features some of the artist's finest tapestries, furniture, wallpaper, embroidery, and paintings. It's little known to most Londoners, but it scooped the ArtFund Museum of the Year title in 2013 following a major renovation. The shop stocks a great range of William Morris-inspired homeware, stationery, and gifts, and the cafe serves afternoon tea in an orangery-style room that overlooks Lloyd Park.
It Has a Stunning Art Deco Town Hall
This striking Art Deco-style building was built in 1941 following the launch of a design competition in 1929 to create a town hall for the borough. Clad in Portland stone, this architectural gem serves as Walthamstow's civic centre but often opens to the public as part of London's annual Open House event.