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Local area guide

Our insider guide to the best things to eat, see and do in E20.

East London packs in some of the city’s most exciting attractions, and our postcode is home to some great bars, restaurants and family-focused activities. Plus there are more than a few cultural London institutions on our doorstep. So whatever your tastes, here’s our edit of the most enticing amusements.

Best for culture

Theatre Royal Stratford

Built in 1884, Stratford’s elegant dramatic heart is so beautifully restored you’d think you’re in the West End. Big shows this autumn include Anthony Neilson’s cult play The Wonderful World of Dissocia (15 Sept–15 Oct), a raucous new version of Much Ado About Nothing (1–5 Nov) and a festive twist on Cinderella (19 Nov–7 Jan).

Gerry Raffles Square E15 1BN

East Bank

The new £1.1billion Stratford Waterfront will house East Bank, one of the world’s largest new cultural quarters. Visit the info wall on Endeavour Square and learn about the arrivals of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a 550-seater Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the London College of Fashion and the V&A East Museum.

Endeavour Square E20 1JN

The Baths, Hackney Wick

On the ground floor of this characterful former 1930 bathing house is a licensed café-bar, and a hall that hosts regular film festivals, art shows and music, fashion and theatre performances, as well as workshops and well-being events.

80 Eastway E9 5JH

Community Sauna Baths

Intrigued by the current vogue for hot-and-cold bathing? Just behind the Baths building is the Hackney Wick Community Sauna Baths. There’s a 12-person wood-fired sauna, two smaller six-person saunas, and converted whisky barrels filled with icy water to plunge into when the heat gets too much.

80 Eastway E9 5JH</>

Hackney Wick Street Art

Start at Hackney bridge on the edge of the Olympic Park to see a huge mural by street artist Busk referencing the area’s industrial past, then cross the bridge to view Thierry Noir’s vast cartoon figures. Follow Wallis Road round to the Lord Napier Star pub; its exterior is riotously adorned with street art from the last 30 years.

25 White Post Lane E9 5JH

Best for brunch


In some of the city’s most exciting attractions, and our postcode is home to some great bars, restaurants and family-focused activities. Plus there are more than a few cultural London institutions on our doorstep. So whatever your tastes, here’s our edit of the most enticing amusements. The Soho original may be a London institution, but Balans East is equally gorgeous, with its wooden floors, cosy banquettes and subtle lighting. Sip a smooth espresso as you peruse the all-day brunch menu, which ranges from a breakfast burrito to Full English and even lobster benedict. Famished? Try the toweringly delicious Big Breakfast Burger.

Outside on The Street


This colourful Turkish grill is already famed locally for its succulent chicken shish kebab. But did you know about the bottomless brunch? It runs from midday to 3pm at weekends and offers two hot or cold meze, or one main (shish included) plus bottomless prosecco for £30 a person (for unlimited cocktails and wine it’s £40; a two-hour time limit applies).

Outside on The Street

The Hungry Bedouin

Hidden away within the Great Eastern Market is this cosy licensed café serving organic Moroccan street food. As well as hearty tagines (try the signature goat and prune), there’s brunch classic shakshuka and – our fave – richly spicy grilled Merguez sausage wraps with hummus, minted yoghurt and chilli. They boast a range of super-healthy smoothies, too.

Lower Ground Floor, Westfield Stratford City

Kitchen E20

On the ground floor of The Stratford Hotel is this airy atrium dining room with a triple-height ceiling, trailing foliage and chic interior design. Go for fresh takes on classics like ham and eggs, waffles, or avocado on sourdough, as well as an aged rump cap brisket burger.

20 International Way E20 1FD


A stalwart of this leafy East Village thoroughfare, low-key Greek café-deli Hand, with its pared-back interior, is a unique find. Order a macchiato and hangover-busting hot toastie: our top tips are leek and feta or chorizo and cheddar.

11 Victory Parade E20 1FS

Best for a tipple

Tap East

The award-winning Tap East opened its doors back in 2011, years before the current explosion of craft breweries. Perch at a barrel on the bar’s pavement terrace overlooking Stratford International. Our recommendation? The Session IPA, an easy- drinking golden beer with just a hint of juiciness.

Lower Ground Floor, Westfield Stratford City

The Cow

With its huge terrace, as well as two floors kitted out in bohemian- rustic furnishings, this corner spot is a prime place to linger with a post-shopping pint. As its name suggests, The Cow’s menu majors on juicy steaks, but as a Young’s Pub there’s a well-curated selection of wines, craft beers and cask ales.

4 Chestnut Plaza E20 1GL

Bat & Ball

This wildly popular venue has moved a couple of doors down to a much bigger space over two floors. Now home to five championship-sized ping pong tables, it’s perfect for parties. Get competitive over beer pong, pool, karaoke and darts.

Ground Floor, Westfield Stratford City

Tina We Salute You

This LGBTQ-friendly bar is on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, its west-facing terrace perfectly positioned for sunset views. Meanwhile, inside there are drag bingo and live jazz nights to accompany the local pale ales, wine and classic cocktails.

2 Olympic Park Avenue E20 1FA


As well as a casino, Aspers has a couple of enviably-located bars. On the top floor is the Terrace Bar: check out the views from its plant-filled roof terrace. Meanwhile, every Friday and Saturday night is Aspers Live in the Tanzibar, with musical performances from upcoming east London acts. Free entry.

Third Floor, Westfield Stratford City

Best for families

Vue Cinema

Want to catch that new blockbuster movie you’ve read about? Westfield is the ideal option for an impromptu cinema visit as Vue Stratford City has 20 screens with more than 2,600 seats. Digital Dolby 6.1 Surround Sound makes it an exceptional big-screen experience – a winner for all the family.

Third Floor, Westfield Stratford City

Kids' Spaces

Have you explored the biodiversity playground, located outside the Great Eastern Market? It’s the perfect link between natural and urban. Three other Playworld areas to try are: on the Lower Ground Floor adjacent to Waitrose, in the World Food Court on the First Floor, and on the First Floor by John Lewis.

Lower Ground Floor and First Floor, Westfield Stratford City

Discover Children's Story

This four-storey building houses the UK’s first story centre for children (aged up to 11) with two floors of magical landscapes, a garden and a bookshop. Interactive exhibitions immerse youngsters in the worlds of iconic authors such as Michael Rosen and Dr Seuss with storytelling and other events.

383–387 High Street E15 4QZ

Victory Park

Only five minutes’ stroll from Westfield Stratford City, why not pick up a few picnic items from Waitrose and relax on the grass at the park’s sloping heart. Don’t miss wandering through Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s surreal Mirror Labyrinth sculpture.

Victory Parade E15 2ER

London Acquatics Centre

A legacy of the 2012 Olympics, the London Aquatics Centre is the most hi-tech swimming facility in the world. Designed by Zaha Hadid, its shape is inspired by the movement of water. Enjoy three swimming pools, a gym and a dry diving facility.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E20 2QA

Best outdoor spaces

Lee Valley Velopark

Love cycling? Try the road circuit or the mountain bike trails that snake across the Olympic Park; or maybe you’re more into jumping on the berms of the BMX track. There’s also an indoor track in the velodrome, along with a fitness and training studio.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E20 3AB

Great British Gardens

Tucked away alongside the canal, the tranquil Great British Garden was designed by two amateur competition winners, one of them only 11 years old. Its use of colour is inspired by the Olympic medals and there’s even a human-sized sundial.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E20 2AA

London Blossom Garden

This stunning living memorial commemorates the capital’s shared experience of Coronavirus. Thirty-three blossom trees, each representing a London borough, are arranged in three close circles, while the path contains 33 pieces of recycled concrete and reclaimed timber to echo the number of trees.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E20 1DY

Towpath Walk

Start at the Stadium then head up along the waterfront towards Barge East, with its picturesque gardens and floating bars. Continue past the canal boats up to Here East where Gebroeders, a distinctive Victorian sailing boat built in 1879, is moored.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E20 2ST

The Waterglades

This wetland bowl is a scenic corner of the park carved out of the path of the river – and just a few minutes’ walk from Westfield. Explore the ponds with their native rushes, reeds and grasses, all of which create a habitat for different wildlife.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E20 2ST

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