From cockney charm to parks and pubs, Bow’s got what you need
Why go there?
To visit east London’s friendliest street market – on Roman Road – which is the axis on which Bow turns.
What’s the vibe?
Extensive regeneration (new paving stones, civic landscaping) hasn’t dented the area’s cockney charm.
Am I really still in Zone 2?
Yep. And despite feeling like a tucked-away enclave, Bow is flanked on all sides by plenty to see and do, with Victoria Park and the Regent’s Canal to the north, Bow Creek Ecology Park and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the east, Shoreditch to the west and Canary Wharf to the south.
Okay, now I’m getting hungry.
There are lots of new food stalls in the market including patisserie masters Saint Sugar of London and occasional appearances by The Big Dripper offering roastmeat-and-gravy sandwiches. Also on Roman Road, Fiesta Café does a generous English breakfast, and there’s La Table des Saveurs for brunch or pastries. Look past the fried chicken shops to explore the Indian fare at Tasty Bites. For a swish food pub, try The Morgan Arms (Morgan Street) which does a top Sunday roast. But best of all is G Kelly (Roman Road) where they’ve been dishing up delicious pie and mash since 1937.
And where’s good for a tipple?
The delightful Vinarius wine shop-bar on Roman Road specialises in small producers. If it’s pints you’re after, The Eleanor Arms has local charm while the Lord Morpeth offers a more modern-day vibe (both on Old Ford Road). If caffeine is your poison, try The Coffee Room or Zealand Road Coffee on Roman Road.
Now I’m tipsy and shaky. Let’s go shopping!
There are dozens of small shops along Roman Road. Not just pawnbrokers and discount shoe stores, but boutiques like independent designer Baruch and Anchor + Hope which has locally made homewares as well as clothes. For affordable vintage furniture, try 353 Vintage. And retro sales are held at The Bow Bells pub on Bow Road. I wouldn’t mind a little stroll. You’re moments from Victoria Park. But there’s also the Georgian loveliness of Tredegar Square and the fantastically gothic Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park nearby.
And if I only do one thing?
Take in an exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery (Chisenhale Road), one of London’s best contemporary art galleries. And it’s free!
By Ananda Pellerin, who has never followed the word ‘Bow’ with the word ‘selecta’. Ever.
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