Churchill is often quoted as saying that golf is the best way to ruin a good walk* but that’s not to say that the stoic war-winning curmudgeon thought that a good old stroll couldn't be improved upon. Any walk punctuated by frequent stopping off in pubs is the best kind; be it coming home from work, going for a summer stroll or popping out for a pint of milk.
As we’re heading into that time of the year where we’d barbecue a Pret sandwich given half the chance, it seems appropriate to help improve the ever popular park visit. Victoria Park is not only one of the biggest in London it’s also surrounded by these five great pubs that are worth a crawl (and you might want to use this map to find them):
The Approach Tavern
Assuming you hop off the tube at Bethnal Green, by the time you’ve got to the edge of the park you’re probably going to be thirsty from the Central Line (which is hotter than the surface of Venus). This is a good spot to enjoy a cold lager from our German cousins and to fortify you for the walk ahead. Winston might not have approved but you certainly will. Get there early-ish and it’s usually nice and quiet, allowing you to relax before you head into the park properly to dodge untethered toddlers and lycra clad jogging people. 47 Approach Rd, London E2 9LY.
Plod past the boating lake with its easily riled geese and just off to the right is your next call. It's not the best outside spot but it has a luxuriously comfy interior with a cheeky little menu of bar snacks, making this an excellent pit stop for the weary wanderer. However it’s the unique balcony terraces which are the jewel, giving you a chance to survey the park (and some dubious driving on the roundabout) from a vantage point. 223 Grove Rd, London E3 5SN.
People's Park Tavern
The People's Park Tavern boasts one of the few beer gardens you can genuinely enjoy and has heated demi-sheds for those chillier days. You can also get good beer, decently priced food and a photobooth which uses some sort of witchcraft to turn drunken pictures into gifs. 360 Victoria Park Rd, E9 7BT.
Royal Inn on the Park
Wander across the width of the park and you’ll hit the edge of effortlessly trendy Hackney Village. Weave around the pushchairs and beards and stop into this gargantuan establishment with outdoor seating pretty much on the park itself. This is one for the ale aficionados with more than a few interesting tipples on offer. 111 Lauriston Rd, London E9 7HJ.
Over to the far side of the park, you can hop over the footbridge to the final venue. Congratulations, your ‘arduous’ trek is finally over, so park yourself next to the canal and enjoy some posh and inexplicably rectangular pizza. And what better way to wash it down than with something brewed right next door in a pub which doubles as its brewery? 7 The White Building, Queen's Yard, London E9 5EN
*In actual fact it was most likely Mark Twain who said this about golf though Churchill certainly wasn’t a fan either, having slagged it off in other droll and witty ways.