Shopping and sport: Stratford’s got the lot (oh, and there’s culture too)
Why go there?
To bask in the glory of London’s Olympic legacy. Or to shop in the temple to retail that is Westfield Stratford City. Either way, bow, mortals!
What’s the vibe?
A mixture of folks who are purely in town to cut a swathe through Westfield, hardened locals who’ve seen their manor transformed by the games and newbies who are settling into the former Athletes’ Village. Nice new buildings are still springing up all the time, it’s quite exciting, really!
It’s a bit like Toytown, though, isn’t it?
You do get the feeling that you’ve just rolled off the coach at a very expensive holiday resort. But there’s plenty of culture beneath the sheen. Theatre Royal Stratford East (Gerry Raffles Square) consistently puts on new and challenging work as well as old favourites, while Stratford Circus (Theatre Square) always has an interesting exhibition or recital going on. And in the summertime you can sit out at Rooftop Film Club (above the Stratford Centre on the Broadway, book at www.rooftopfilmclub.com.)
Okay, now I’m getting hungry…
The best spots in Stratford itself are D’Gaf (Leytonstone Road) for delicious kebabs, and King Edward VII (Broadway), for proper pub food and a cracking roast dinner. Or, if you’re looking for a bit of novelty, there’s Cafe Football (in Westfield), a restaurant owned by Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, where you can tuck into ‘The Special One’ burger and a pizza named ‘Early Kick-Off’, God help you.
Where’s the best place for a pint?
If it’s craft beer you’re after then Tap East is the place to go. Yes, it’s in Westfield, but its selection of world beers is awesome. If you’re after something less shiny, then walk over to Broadway and grab a seat at traditional pub Ye Olde Black Bull. There’s also The Cart and Horses on The Grove, the pub where heavy metal titans Iron Maiden formed. If you’re just after a coffee then head to the Unity Kitchen Cafe (on Honour Lea Avenue), where you can sit in the heart of the Olympic Park.
I wouldn’t mind a little stroll…
Turn out of Westfield and into the Olympic Park to amble down past the Velodrome, the Aquatics Centre and all the other brilliant sporting venues. Keep going and you can walk down the River Lea and all the way back into town.
And if I only do one thing?
Grab a coffee and a delicious cake from Moka East on the Greenway, then enjoy its incredible views of the Olympic Stadium.
By Tom Goodwyn, who is not an Olympic athlete, but fancies his chances at dressage.
Fancy a change of scene? Here’s the best bits of Pimlico.