Stratford area guide

Explore London's newest hospitality hotspot, and discover things to do, restaurants and bars in E20

© Westfield
Westfield Stratford City

East London's newest revamped postcode has become a bustling center of activity following the glory days of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. With newly built restaurants and bars amongst the traditional Stratford haunts, Westfield Stratford City, one of Europe's biggest shopping centres, and the former Olympic venues now open to the public, the area provides a fantastic range of shopping, drinking, dining and fitness activities. Stratford is becoming a new go-to destination in the capital.

What are your favourite Stratford hangout? Let us know.

Things to do in Stratford

Theatre Royal Stratford East

A community theatre with many shows written, directed and performed by black or Asian artists, Theatre Royal is a great cultural hit in ethnically diverse Stratford. Musicals are big here – whether about hip hop or the Windrush generation. Kinks frontman Ray Davies penned the hit ‘Come Dancing’ for Theatre Royal Stratford East, while homegrown success ‘The Harder They Come’ made a West End transfer.

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Stratford

Westfield Stratford City

The 'city within a city', Westfield's £1.45 billion retail behemoth snakes through the Olympic site, with 300 retail units – the cornerstones of which are gigantic versions of High Street brands John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose – 70 restaurants, bars and cafés, and a 17-screen digital cinema. So far, mega-mall, but Westfield Stratford City has attempted to be lead a little by its east London neighbours.

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Stratford

ArcelorMittal Orbit

The curly-wurly red scaffolding tower lords it over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from its position right alongside the Olympic Stadium. Designed by the artist Anish Kapoor and structural engineer Cecil Balmond, it stands 114.5m (376ft) tall – with lifts (and a 455-step staircase) up to two platforms from which you take in the interesting, if not entirely spectacular, view ­– The Shard, St Paul’s and the Wembley arches are all very much on the skyline. 

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Olympic Park
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Things to do in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

So what did we get for our £8.77bn? Now officially known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the last of E20's green acres are opening to the public. Check out all of the upcoming events and activites in our Olympic Park event calendar.

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Olympic Park
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Where to go next

Shoreditch

Discover the best of Shoreditch, from indie shops to tasty cheap food What's on in Shoreditch this week? The Alternative London Tour East London's 'alternative' side is revealed on this leftfield tour. Expect to be introduced to the history and culture of the Brick Lane 'Banglatown' and Shoreditch areas as well as current issues and street art. Booking essential via www.alternativeldn.co.uk Urban Food Fest A revolving cast of dozens of food stalls and trucks serve a frankly intimidating variety of global cuisine at the Euro Car Parks in Shoreditch. Jerk chicken, wood-fired oven pizza, pad thai, halloumi souvlaki, sushi, schwarma, fried chicken, burritos – we could go on. And we will, quickly, to make special mention of the deep-fried frogs' legs at Geaux Cajun. Those things are amazing. Visitors will also find plenty to drink, along with a 'V Corner' for vegans and their day-walker counterparts, vegetarians. Up-and-coming bands and entertainers round out the experience, while the family-run fest’s ever-evolving lineup ensures second and third visits are well worth the effort. Entry is free. The food, of course, is not. 2014s launch night on Saturday April 12 will be Where's Wally themed so visitors who want to be in with the chance of winning a free cocktail should don red and white striped tops, bobble-hats and glasses. Secret 7" Anyone who's familiar with the RCA's Secret Postcard exhibition and sale will be familiar with this concept, but this time round it's record sleev

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Dalston

Where to eat in Dalston Tina, We Salute You Tina’s puts you instantly at ease: the large communal table in the middle (sofas and a handful of pavement tables also available for early arrivers) – populated with help-yourself jars of Marmite and jam, and locals helping each other with the Guardian crossword – feel like your best friend’s kitchen table. Regulars work their way towards a lifetime discount by getting a star on the wall every time they buy a coffee; by the looks of things, Duncan, Andy M and Emma have a serious Tina habit. The café’s namesake is a glamorous ‘60s model who graces the wall, alongside an anything-goes mix of artwork and flyers for local events. Owners Danny and Steve make all the cakes at home, just as they have done since they first started running a cupcake stall off Brick Lane. A comforting breakfast menu (poached eggs, pancakes with berries, porridge) eases itself into lunch (toasted sandwiches, bagels, ploughman’s). The beans with chorizo had sold out by the time we arrived, but fluffy American pancakes showed attention to detail with a buttery maple sauce, tart berries, and a dusting of icing sugar and oats. The ‘breakfast trifle’ is a triumph of granola, fruit and a dash of lemon curd. Tina’s also serves consistently good coffee; expand your tastes beyond the usual latte with a Gibraltar (between a mini latte and a large macchiato). Cash only. Mangal Ocakbasi Some things have changed round here since Mangal Ocakbasi opened over 20 years ago. A

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