It’s official, Walthamstow is the new black. Or, at least the new Shoreditch. When I first moved to London you would not go to Walthamstow if someone paid you, let alone by choice. But now? Well, now it has gin. Quick warning though, historically Walthamstow is part of Essex BUT DON’T LET THIS PUT YOU OFF. It is more casual backyard drinking vibe instead of bad fake tan on a white bodycon dress throwing up in a bar vibe. Think an escape from central London and the chance to one up your hipster friends by saying ‘I discovered Walthamstow before it was cool’. My dears it’s time to get your Walthamstow on.
Read on my brave adventurers for my top things to do when you are accidentally verging on Essex.
Wood Street Coffee
Wood Street Coffee (annoyingly not on Wood Street, go figure) is about a 7 minute walk from Blackhorse Road Station and it is a very cool little brunch haunt. It is in the middle of an industrial complex and sits side by side with a ‘rent a bench’ wood work shop. This means that you can mainline flat whites, get the coffee shakes and then go and use industrial saws. It was actually a delightfully chilled out vibe since the clientele was more than antisocial millennials. My favourite moment however was all about my Dad. I had taken my parents to Wood Street Coffee to meet Angloyankophile (like a kid at show and tell) and within two minutes of arriving my father had somehow talked his way into the locked workshop. Jaime arrived and we had finished our first coffee before he appeared again.
Mothers Ruin Gin Palace
Oh so what if this is mostly about food I LIKE FOOD. Mothers Ruin is a few tables in a warehouse that spill out onto the footpath on a sunny day. I love Mothers Ruin for the unique gins that they distill, my top pick is the Damson Gin which tastes a bit like a plum wine and is an utter dream with tonic. Trust me when I say that Damson Gin is a great motivator for blog writing. It’s also worth going just for the pun-tastic cocktail names (Damson in Distress) and tasty sausage rolls for when you drank too many puns.
Gods Own Junkyard
OMG an attraction that is not food based! Gods Own Junkyard is something you will have to see to believe. A shop dedicated to an ever changing collection of neon signs, it is the joy of Disney and the sarcasm of Soho boiled down into one room. They don’t mind you wandering in just to stare or take pictures, and it looks damn fantastic on Instagram. #contributetothegentrification
Hillmans Tea Rooms
After that brief departure, back to the food. Hillmans Tea Rooms are a cute little tea shop tucked down an alleyway. Very friendly service and a damn good cup of tea, it is all the good bits of a central afternoon tea but without the price tag (or the judgmental waiters). When you are all tea’ed up you should check out the rest of the little alleyway which is full of antiques, vintage and craft stores.
There is a group called Wood Street Walls that brings artists together to make E17 beautitful, and they do an amazing job. There are so many interesting bits of street art dotted around Walthamstow that you never quite know what you are going to find, but each one is awesome enough to stop you in your tracks and make you look away from your smartphone for a second.