1. BEST FOR COFFEE AND CAKE
For any East Londoner worth their salt, good coffee is key — and it’s in abundance at The Larder. With a positive cornucopia of homemade cake on display too, it’s the perfect place to while away the day.The café and deli shop also serves the type of exotic goods that make us want to do grown-up cooking (truffle oil, anyone?), as well as a wide selection of fine wines and local craft beers. In the evenings, the relaxed atmosphere comes into its own with regular wine-tasting events, worth the ticket price for the free cheese and canapés alone.
The Larder, 39 High Street, Wanstead, London, UK, +44 20 8989 7178
2. BEST FOR SHOPPING
Wanstead Vintage Fashion and Brocante Fair, held four times a year, is the vintage lover’s dream. Tucked into an old church just off the high street, it’s a paradise virtually overflowing with jewellery, clothes, vinyl and general bric-a-brac. It’s only £2.50 to get in, so make sure you go along if only to browse. Our personal favourite is the vintage perfume bottle stall, where a very rare Andy Warhol designed Chanel No5 bottle could be yours for only £250. We can dream.
Wanstead United Reformed Church, Nightingale Lane, London, UK, +44 78 6021 4009
3. BEST FOR CULTURE
Technically, this one is just (just!) inside Zone 3 but only a short walk from Wanstead. Too good to leave off the list, All You Read Is Love popped up in E11 last year as the brainchild of Danish siblings Anders and Karen. Sharing its premises with the not-for-profit station East London Radio, All You Read is Love is a bookshop/bar and just about everything in between. Bookshelves at AYRIL are brimming with everything from Victorian classics to graphic novels, a range of choice only matched by the cocktails and traditional Scandi-themed snacks on the blackboard. Evening events are many and varied too, including regular literary quizzes, talks, poetry readings and music nights, as well as ‘Bob for Beginners,’ a free introduction to mastering Dylan’s classics on acoustic guitar.
All You Read Is Love, 877 High Road, Leytonstone, London, UK, +44 77 1910 2092
4. BEST FOR PLAYING
For fans of messing about in boats, try Hollow Ponds Boating Lake on Whipps Cross Road. Used as a location in various film and TV shoots, the very picturesque ponds make a great date location, and a lovely way to see the ancient woodland and wildlife of Epping Forest. Boat hire costs around £15 per hour and each boat can accommodate up to five people — it’s closed during the winter months. Happily, Hollow Ponds is almost exactly opposite the A&E at Whipps Cross Hospital too, so if, like us, you’re not exactly expert oarsmen, you’re never far from help.
Hollow Ponds Boating Lake, Whipps Cross Road, London, UK, +44 79 7312 8375
5. BEST FOR FOOD
If you thought London’s love of fine food ended at Zone 3, think again, as Provender Bistro proves otherwise. In fact, a friend of The Culture Trip travels all the way from the relative metropolis of Mile End to eat at the French Brasserie. Provender offers an affordable prix fixe menu, but the real star here is brunch. We recommend the croque madame and a bloody mary if you’re feeling indulgent, but the demi-baguette with real French butter and preserves is just as good. If French food doesn’t take your fancy, Wanstead High Street also has a wealth of Indian restaurants, a great pizzeria, an American diner and even a traditional East End pie and mash shop serving jellied eels — we haven’t been brave enough to try yet.
Provender Bistro, 17 High Street, Wanstead, London, UK, +44 20 8530 3050
6. BEST FOR DRINKING
With a range of 27 different beers and ciders — we like the Cornish Pilsner — and an impressive array of gins and whiskies on offer, The Manor House is undoubtedly Wanstead’s premier watering hole. The Manor has a super chilled beer garden in the front, which is a rare gem in London’s sweaty, overcrowded, inner-city pubs, and live music nights every Thursday and Sunday. We won’t even get you started on the brunch and dinner menus, but suffice to say, it’s pretty special.
The Manor House, 129 High Street, Wanstead, London, UK, +44 20 8530 2998
By Niamh Cassidy