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Africa Express at London Borough of Culture
Photograph: John Sturrock

Welcome to the London Borough of Culture

Huge street festivals, big-name local heroes, art trails and mysterious outdoor installations will take over Waltham Forest in 2019 to celebrate the first ever London Borough of Culture

Time Out in association with Transport for London

If you’re yet to fully discover the thriving arts and culture scene that makes this north-east borough so special, now’s your chance. London Borough of Culture award is a major new initiative launched by the Mayor of London. Its mission is to put culture at the heart of local communities, and to shine a light on the character and diversity of London’s boroughs. We’ve picked our highlights of this year-long series of events (many of which are free). Remember: Transport for London is there for you to get out and about in Waltham Forest. All these events can be reached on its network, and most take place during off-peak hours, making your trip even more affordable. Happy exploring!

Remember to check TfL Journey Planner before you travel and always touch in and out with the same card or device to pay the right fare. 


London Borough of Culture highlights

Experimental electronic music and lighting installations meet industrial and brutalist architecture in this intriguing multi-venue event. Various locations across London including Walthamstow Assembly Hall, Mar 28-31. From £15.

Did you know that Blur frontman Damon Albarn grew up in Leytonstone? He’s also a founding member of Africa Express: a collective of artists from across Africa, Europe and Britain. Together, they’ll perform a five-hour show. Leytonstone, Fri Mar 29. Price TBC.


Immerse yourself in Waltham Forest’s history of metalwork at Atomic 50: a ‘ghost factory’ in a disused school building. Leyton Sports Ground, Apr 1-30. Price TBC.

Getting there Overground to Leyton Midland Road.
Local bus routes 97, 69, W16.

Here’s a fun piece of pub trivia: the modern bicycle was invented by someone born and raised in – you guessed it – Waltham Forest! Hop on your bike and join a procession to Chingford Plain. Chingford Plain, Mon May 6. Free.

Getting there Overground to Chingford.
Local bus routes 97, 179, 212, 313, 379, 385, 397, 444, N26.



Sixteen days, 7,500 artists, makers and performers. You’ll want to set aside at least a day to explore this biennial art festival. Then, on June 22, Art Night will come to the borough with an all-night festival at Walthamstow High Street, featuring new commissions by local artists. Walthamstow, June 1-16. Price TBC.

Getting there Victoria line or Overground to Walthamstow Central.
Local bus routes 20, 34, 48, 69, 97, 212, 215, 230, 257, 275, 357, 675.

LGBT+ party purveyors Duckie are honouring Leytonstone’s own ’60s icon Fanny Cradock the only way they know how: a celebration featuring drag performances, DJs, market stalls and a massive dance spectacle. Secret location. Summer. Price TBC.

Want more?

Look out for these year-round events
Photograph: Robert Piwko

Look out for these year-round events

Waltham Forest Tours
For an even deeper dive into the borough, sign up to a tour that could range from a sailing holiday to an overnight stay in an unusual location.  

One Hoe Street
Just ten minutes’ walk from Walthamstow Central station is a space that's the hub of the London Borough of Culture. Expect workshops, art installations, talks, children's events and more.

The People’s Forest
You’ve never experienced Epping Forest like this. This year-long programme of events will see everything from children’s choirs to performance art against a backdrop of towering oak trees.

Explore the full programme at

Get there for £1.50!
© Transport for London

Get there for £1.50!

Not only are many of these Waltham Forest adventures free – they also take place during TfL’s wonderful world of off-peak. You’ll pay just £1.50 when you travel off-peak within Zones 2-6 (not going via Zone 1) on Tube, DLR and most London Overground services. Off-peak fares apply every weekday before 6.30am, between 9.30am and 3.59pm, and after 7pm – plus all day at weekends and bank holidays. To check your fare, visit  TfL Single Fare Finder.

Catch the bus in Waltham Forest!
TfL’s Hopper fare lets you take unlimited bus and tram journeys anytime, anywhere within one hour of first touching in for just £1.50.

With a valid Zip Oyster photocard, kids aged 5-10 travel free on all Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail services. All kids aged 5-10 travel free on buses and trams. Apply for a Zip Oyster photocard today at

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