Orford Road’s eateries, drinkeries, friendly locals and pretty buildings make it one of east London’s nicest streets. But it’s not all suburban peace and quiet: Orford road is a hub of incredible neon art and car park beer parties. It’s also got enough community spirit to make you sick, and so much artisanal booze, food and bric-a-brac that you’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming back to whatever polluted hellhole you’re visiting from.
There’s also a cracking number of top-notch restaurants and pubs, alongside a bunch of furniture stores and what must be the fanciest Spar supermarket on earth. This one has a gourmet pizzeria and enough organic veg to make Prince Charles wet. Apart from the beer parties, this part of Walthamstow is calm, quiet and totally suburban. So, a totally awesome place to escape the rest of London for an afternoon or evening. Apparently even the police have described Walthamstow Village (of which Orford Road is the quaint beating heart) as ‘a notably affluent area of the ward’.
So yeah, it’s posh and full of mums and babies. It’s also got lots of lovely old buildings. One of them is even called the Ancient House, so you know it’s old. If you want Elizabethan architecture, pubs, grub and artisanal everything, all without having to leave London, Orford Road is for you. Fair warning: you might not want to leave.
Craft beer straight from the tanks at Wildcard Brewery. The village’s local brewers open up every weekend with street food, gigs and awesome local beer. Yes, it’s in a car park, but it’s a nice car park. Honest.
Gin and tonic straight from the tanks at Mother’s Ruin. Yeah, Walthamstow has a gin distillery, right next to its brewery. Think about how drunk you could get.
Wine at In Vino Veritas, a brand new wine shop that does charcuterie and cheese boards alongside relaxed drinking every evening and weekend.
Al fresco ale in The Nag’s Head’s huge beer garden. Its kitchen hosts various pop-ups too and has an awesomely kitsch upstairs cocktail bar.
Lager at The Village, the local-est of local pubs. It has a fridge full of craft ales, the best beer garden in the area and a top-quality quiz.
Chicken burgers at Eat17, doused in award-winning Eat17 bacon jam. This place looks like it should be in Clapham, but get beyond the decor and you’re left with great Sunday roasts and the best burgers in Walthamstow.
Cheese toasties at Froth & Rind, Orford Road’s best café, which doubles up as its only cheesemonger. F&R stays open late for craft beers and wine too.
A bowl of pasta at La Ruga, a fancy-looking Italian place with food just like Mamma makes.
Pizza from Spar. Yes, really. This not-so-budget supermarket has its own bakery and pizzeria in the back.
Catch a film at Orford Social Club, a grand old building and clubhouse which is also home to the Stow Film Lounge and its regular screenings of relatively new films.
Vintage modern furniture from Finamore, a treasure trove of ’60s and ’70s goodness.
Homewares from Debbie Bliss Home – possibly the most irritatingly named shop in London, but still a great place for minimalist knick-knacks and Polish slippers.
If you only do one thing…
Bathe in the light of God’s Own Junkyard, a massive warehouse filled with amazingly gaudy and bawdy neon sculptures. It’s seriously one of the best things in all of London. Trust us.
Fancy a change of scene? Take a look at the best bits of Hackney Central.