Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Loving Leytonstone.

Kind of blue – a shopfront in the 'hood
We moved to Leytonstone a month ago yesterday. And I have to say, I am really loving living around here! In part because it feels so central after having previously lived at the very end of the Northern Line – transport here is great with both the tube and Overground nearby – but I also love it because it is so quiet!  It is the quietest street I've ever lived on, and the friendliest. Having had nightmare neighbours several times before (ah, London!) I am absolutely cherishing the quiet and calm. The streets nearby are leafy and have a real family feel.
1953coronationstreetparty
Coronation party on my street, 1953
We became interested in moving here after visiting some friends who live in the area, and I'm already getting emails from other friends who are interested in moving here, so I thought I'd post about it.

Our terraced house feels huge to us after having dealt with the usual cramped London flats, and our last place, which was a tiny cottage. Property is still relatively affordable here (ah, London!) but that will probably change, as it is an area that is being regenerated as I type. There are lots of terraced Victorian homes, lots with original period features, some with unfortunate 1970s remodelling, some that have been done up and neutralised by developers.

Wanstead Flats

There is plenty of greenery. Wanstead Flats is five minutes walk from my house, a huge green space with a big pond and marked walking trails. Connected to it is Wanstead Park, the grounds of the long-gone Wanstead House, built to rival Versailles and complete with ornamental lakes and grottoes. Beyond that is Epping Forest. There's so much, we've not even made it beyond the Flats yet!
Wanstead Park


Nightlife-wise, there is a great jazz night in a pub, East Side Jazz. I saw Bobby Wellins play here a couple of weeks ago in a proper old Victorian tiled boozer. Good local pubs include The Red Lion (I love the burger there and the Hornsea Pottery coffee cups); The North Star, where friends run a monthly Sunday afternoon social, and The Birkbeck Tavern, which has a really nice beer garden and jazz in the garden on sundays.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is opening in a couple of weeks, promising a vibrant new park and venue for music and events. It's kicking off with the Barbican Open East Festival featuring Seun Kuti, DJs, lots of Malian music, the Art Car Boot Fair, plus a food festival.

Char siu pork bunnnnsss...


Food-wise, we had great dim-sum at the Dim-Sum Cafe in Leyton at the weekend; the chef stretched the noodles in front of us. There's a good Thai and a mediterranean meze type place, The Olive – the basics of what you need in your 'hood! And there are interesting local shops, from a polish bakery to a Viennese style coffee and cakes cafe,  plus an organic food stall by OrganicLea every saturday outside St John's church selling food grown locally in the Lea Valley. They also do a delivery box scheme. (My daydream to open a health food shop continues apace!) Theres also a branch of the Turkish Food Centre – a huge supermarket that stocks foods from all around the world including a huge selection of fresh breads.

Tasty bread at the TFC

For those who have children, like me, there are good schools and nurseries in the borough. (Our local school has a Good Ofsted rating). There's plenty of green space and lots of mum and baby groups. Plus the local leisure centre has a creche! On our street kids play outside their houses. My neighbour told me this and I though, ooooh, no. But it has such a neighbourhood feel – kids riding their bikes up and down, (polite kids!) and playing pat-a-cake. Old school. Like all London boroughs there are local crime and social problems but so far so good. (I'm on the lookout for something I can do to get involved in the local community – particularly something for the bored older kids.)

1919-peaceparty
Peace tea on my street, 1919
All of this and I haven't even mentioned that Westfield Stratford City is 20 minutes walk away! wahaca, Pinkberry, Franco Manca ... COS, Zara, Whistles ... not to mention John Lewis. I had a moment in the haberdashery section earlier this week when I realised how close it was to my house. The downside is that the shopping bug has bitten me. I may need to do a fashion post later in the week to get it out of my system... 

Photo of Wanstead Park by Brian Hopson.
Dim-sum photo by Mrs Lister

38 comments:

  1. Welcome to the 'hood. I'm sure you'll be very happy here, it's a great place and just starting to fulfil its potential after years and years in the doldrums.

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  2. Wahey!! ACE post Cazza. Who'd have thunk that lunch at mine one sunny afternoon would have resulted in you being our closest neighbours!

    Oh and can we book tickets to Barbican Open East ASAP please? I can't do Sat but Sunday = Seun Kuti so I'm happy! xx

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  3. It WAS London's best kept secret........ :-)

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  4. The first picture made me feel a little bit cooler, thank you! The area looks great and the shopping sounds amazing. All the kids in my street play outside riding bikes and chasing around, I feel very lucky to live in such a friendly neighbourhood but I am not sure how long it will take me to let Freddie join the gang!

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  5. Lovely, so happy for you! The pictures make the post come alive.

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  6. Hi There,

    We are thinking of moving to Leytonstone and wondered if you can recommend any good primary schools? and best streets to look at? Thanks Mel

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  7. Hi,

    Im thinking of moving to Leytonstone and wonderded if you can suggest any good primary schools and best streets to look at? I found your blog on google and like the look of your photos

    Thanks,

    Mel

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  8. Just moved to Chichester Road in September 2013 and can't get over how quiet the area is. Solid little houses and there appears to be a nice community around here too. Busy getting the house sorted and unearthing some great original features under old carpets and layers of 1960's hardboard.

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  9. Hey Anon - you are very VERY near to me! I'm going to keep a spy out for you. :)

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    1. My name's Matt so say hello if you see me about I live at the Cary Road end of the street. We can compare houses and progress with sorting them out!!

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  10. And ps: yes, it's SO QUIET. I love it, I have a real problem with noise, but fingers crossed, it's like a silent tranquil idyll! With the odd police 'copter, every so often. ;p

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  11. Will do Matt! I have a feeling I know which house is yours - I nearly stuck my head in the other day as you're doing floors and we're thinking of doing our floors -- I will busy body over at some point! x

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    1. The floors look fantastic so do come and have a look. I can also highly recommend my floor sanders if you decide to get yours done.

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  12. I'd be interested to know that floor sander recommendation, and any other tradesman/decorators in the area who are good. Just exchanged contracts on a house in Leytonstone and will be moving there very shortly with my wife and baby (we're refugees from renting in Hackney!). Was lovely to read such a positive post about the area, I can't wait to get in.

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    1. Can recommend a great floor sander, electrician, roofer and plumber I have used recently.

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    2. Would you prefer to pm them? Otherwise just pop them on here, I will check back. Thanks.

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  13. Hiya and congratulations other Matt! We have a baby too; happy to pass on baby group / playgroup tips etc if they're needed! Lots of other friends in the area have babies too. It has been great and quiet; I went to Dalston the other week and was like, WHAT THE! Seemed liked the crazy jungle compared to where we are in Leyts. :)

    Would love your recs too Matt - how have you found these great tradespeople?! We've used a plumber who lives opposite (son of one of the neighbours) which was handy and had some roof work done but it was kind of £££. Desperately need an electrician. I've been away this week but will drop in over the next few days. :)



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    1. Currently having the house re-wired and have used the electrician several times before. He's great and really reliable have recommended him to several friends. Happy to pass on his contact details

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  14. Oh and PS Matt - the pictures above are both Chichester Road. :) The sign says - Chichester Road Peace Tea 1919.

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  15. We've just had an offer accepted on a house very close to you – it's so lovely to read such a positive post about the area. We can't wait to have a whole house!

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  16. Hi Matt, if you check back would you mind emailing through electrician and floor sanding recommendations. We completed today and think a re-wire is on the cards!

    another_matt_e11@yahoo.co.uk

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    1. Hi both,
      The electrician is Rob Prior on 07920810342 and Daniel Chalk at Stripped Floors on 07708625195 both are highly recommended


      Matt

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  17. Congrats other Matt! And please cc me on 'lectrician's details! hello@carolineno.com - altho I will hopefully bump into you soon!

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  20. Some great photos, although you make it look trendier that is really is I think! I bought here 2 years ago, not sure I could afford to any more. Since I''ve been here it's been on the up. I think there's a fair few people priced out of Hackney who are looking round here now. The Sainsbury's and Costa have opened since I've been here. There's a new Boot's opening next to the station and a nice crepe place opened on the highroad a week ago...

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  21. Hi, glad you like it round here! We've lived in the Bushwood area for more than 20 years, brought up three kids and wouldn't move. Friendly community feel, decent transport links, open space, good pubs at last!, and only one stop from the mighty Leyton Orient...

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  22. Hi, I moved to Cann Hall Road in March 2013 and definitely loved the place and the green spaces around. Wanstead Flats is amazing with the new picnic area and paths for a walk in Jubilee Pond. The neighborhood is so quiet and nice. Westfield Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the new Crossrail tube line (opening in 2015-17) gonna put Leytonstone on the map!
    The Red Lion (Sunday Roast to die for) is one of the best local pubs, but don't miss Leyton Technical in the old Town Hall with a unique interior with marble mosaic floors, definitely worths a visit!
    Leytonstone High Street is also plenty of surprises for foodies, like taking a delicious curry in one of best indians in east London "The Star of India" (875 High Road). Also tasty pie&mash in a real east end "Eel&Pie House" (481A High Road), nice and relaxed cafe in "La Finca" (182 High Road) or yummy jerk chicken takeaway from "Caribbean Flavour" (180 High Road)...
    Waltham Forest Council keep on improving the borough’s streets, following on from the success of the colorful shop fronts in Leyton High Street (the next Notting Hill heheh) and guess what? Leytonstone High Street gonna be totally refurbished in March 2014 as you can see here: http://www.jankattein.com/portfolio/leytonstone/
    Loving Leytonstone!

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  23. Hi, I moved to Cann Hall Road in March 2013 and definitely loved the place and the green spaces around. Wanstead Flats is amazing with the new picnic area and paths for a walk in Jubilee Pond. The neighborhood is so quiet and nice. Westfield Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the new Crossrail tube line (opening in 2015-17) gonna put Leytonstone on the map!
    The Red Lion (Sunday Roast to die for) is one of the best local pubs, but don't miss Leyton Technical in the old Town Hall with a unique interior with marble mosaic floors, definitely worths a visit!
    Leytonstone High Street is also plenty of surprises for foodies, like taking a delicious curry in one of best indians in east London "The Star of India" (875 High Road). Also tasty pie&mash in a real east end "Eel&Pie House" (481A High Road), nice and relaxed cafe in "La Finca" (182 High Road) or yummy jerk chicken takeaway from "Caribbean Flavour" (180 High Road)...
    Waltham Forest Council keep on improving the borough’s streets, following on from the success of the colorful shop fronts in Leyton High Street (the next Notting Hill heheh) and guess what? Leytonstone High Street gonna be totally refurbished in March 2014 as you can see here: http://www.jankattein.com/portfolio/leytonstone/
    Loving Leytonstone!

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  24. Matt of Chichester Road - do you know any good reliable builders? We need someone to look at our joists.... Ah, the joys of homeowning! Thanks - Caroline (email hello@carolineno.com if best.) Appreciate it. :)

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    1. Can I barge in on this thread?! have just had my survey back on flat in Chichester Road and it suggested I should get someone should check the joists so am looking for a recommendation for builder in the area..

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    2. Ask the estate agent to arrange it for you they will have numerous trades people who will give you an assessment and quote for free. Had numerous issues with my survey that needed checking out and the estate arranged things very quickly as they will want to push the sale through

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    3. thanks for tip- this is my first flat so I am always worried that I might be bugging the agents too much but I guess it is in their interests to get it all sorted..

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  25. Hi Caroline! Lovely blog! I am so glad that you are enjoying living in what has been my hometown for almost 15 years. Having lived in brooklyn NY for many years I immediately felt at home...and that being said, the area has been getting better year by year, because alot of us some time ago worked hard to get better council amenities like recycling (it rocks!) going and schools improved.... I am so glad that you have appreciated it and posted about it!! It makes all the hard work worth it! We have a group on facebook called Leytonstone Life if youd like to join!? I mysef moved my custom tattoo studio and art gallery to Leytonstone from London Fields two years ago now almost...to be closer to home...and pushed out to some degree by skyrocketing real estate....I hope really that this new found love of leytonstone by wonderful people like you does not come accompanied by the same crazy rise in prices that will mean alot of us long term locals may be priced out!lol! My art gallery and studio is next to the old police station on the high road towards Homebase just past the overground and TFC on the left, green edwardian building called Artefacto. We love showing local artists and have lots of projects coming up, so it would be awesome if youd like to take part! best wishes and hope to meet in person some day soon! Leticia

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  26. What are your thoughts on Leyton (As opposed to Leytonstone)? I'm looking to move near the football stadium / botanical gardens and i'm concerned that i'll be harping after Leytonstone....?

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    1. Personally I prefer Leytonstone to Leyton the housing stock is better and more varied, it's quieter and feels a bit more affluent and gentrified than Leyton. Leyton high road is a bit bleak and it's doesn't really have a centre to it. Historically Leytonstone was always considered a bit more upmarket but I'm going to be biased because I live here. The Abraham Flats in Leyton are very nice and the equivalent of the Warner properties in Walthamstow.

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  27. I was brought up in Leytonstone 75 to 2002 and now live in rural Somerset. Love Leytonstone and will always have fond memories, lived in Reynolds Court, Cobbold Road E11 and went to Cann Hall and Tom Hood schools, brother still lives in Leytonstone, hope you enjoy living there.

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