Once part of the county of Essex, today Walthamstow is included in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Over the last decade, Walthamstow’s excellent transport links, vicinity to Epping Forest and the beautiful Essex countryside and a strong sense of community have certainly put the area on the map when it comes to desirable places to live. Here are six reasons why Walthamstow has affectionately become known as #awesomestow.
Walthamstow Village is the most historic part of Walthamstow and is now a designated conservation area offering a little slice of country village life in urban London. Think charming artisanal shops and friendly cafés serving freshly baked bread. There are also a number of popular gastro pubs and restaurants offering cuisines and prices to suit all budgets and palates. History buffs will love St Mary’s Church and the adjacent Ancient House which are picture-postcard pretty and date back at least six hundred years. St Mary’s Church also regularly plays host to a range of events such as London’s annual jazz festival.
Wonderful green spaces
London is a city known for its beautiful parks and green spaces, and Walthamstow is incredibly blessed in this respect, with the highest concentration of green spaces in North London. Lloyd Park with its many arts and sporting facilities is right in the heart of Walthamstow, Epping Forest is on the doorstep and to the south you will find Walthamstow Marshes, also referred to as Walthamstow Wetlands. This is a world-famous wildlife reserve and a haven for many types of bird, animal and aquatic life. Residents of Walthamstow can enjoy birdwatching, walking, cycling or fishing here throughout the year.
Its streets are lined with books
Throughout Walthamstow, there are intriguing areas that have been repurposed as ‘little libraries’ to help make books more accessible to everyone, with new donations always welcome. There are so many of these miniature book collections dotted throughout Walthamstow that it has been referred to as the UK birthplace of the little library, a phenomenon first made popular in the US.
Lots to see and do
You are spoilt for choice for activities in Walthamstow as there is always something going on. There are breweries where you can try locally made ales and exotic and unusual eateries a plenty with a fantastic selection of bars, restaurants and cafés. And for something completely different, lose yourself in God’s Own Junkyard which features iconic neon signs designed by the artist Chris Bracey.
There are also many fascinating galleries and museums to explore. The William Morris Gallery is housed in his former home and you can admire original prints and patterns by this enormously influential designer. Those interested in Walthamstow’s history will enjoy a visit to Vestry House.
It’s also home to a surprising number of brilliant annual festivals loved by locals and visitors alike. Walthamstow Garden Party and the Stow Festival are the main events, but the Wildlife Festival, Art Trail, Folk Festival and Walthamstow Village Festival also draw in the crowds.
The friendly people and warm atmosphere
One of Walthamstow’s greatest strengths is its warm and friendly vibe and sense of community, with strangers greeting each other in shops and cafés or out walking the dog. It really does have a village-like feel with a London postcode.