Guide to living in
This is area of East London has recently become synonymous with the London Olympics, most notably because it is the location of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The place to be during the 2012 Games, Stratford is now widely considered as a place to stay, due to the benefits of large-scale regeneration and redevelopment everywhere you look.
Stratford is most definitely the busiest commercial shopping district in the East End. The Stratford Centre was joined in 2010 by Westfield Stratford City, why isn’t it called Eastfield? Anyway, this sprawling shopper’s heaven has over 300 stores and is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe.
The district now boasts a Cultural Quarter home to a multitude of large and small cinemas, theatres and creative spaces. Theatre Royal Stratford East has been home to the Theatre Workshop Company for many years, whilst Stratford East Picturehouse is a wonderfully attractive cinema showing all the latest films and offering a selection of clubs including ‘Kids’ Club’ and ‘Big Scream’.
“Value for money is still possible in the area, with new-build flats specifically aimed at young professionals alongside small Victorian terraces offering a wide choice of property type for residents.”
Stratford has an increasing proportion of young families living in the area and it is no wonder why with places like the Discover Children’s Story Centre. Discover is London’s only children’s museum and a great place for young ones to learn, with plenty of hands-on interactive exhibitions and events.
Due to the presence of the Olympics most of the property in the area has experienced at least a reinvigoration. East Village, a piece of Olympic history (the ex-Olympic Village), now offers 3,500 homes many of which have been made affordable. Value for money is still possible elsewhere in the area, with new-build flats specifically aimed at young professionals alongside small Victorian terraces offering a wide choice of property type for residents.
Caribbean Scene serves everything from exotic fish to spicy vegetables and jerk chicken. The authentic Caribbean experience may require the loosening of a few belt buckles as a prerequisite! King Edward VII is almost a polar opposite; the quintessentially British gastropub has undergone modern renovations but maintained its legendary character.
It is easy to get caught up in the sporting and cultural renaissance of Stratford and to counter this we recommend a walk along the River Lee. This somewhat under-appreciated part of the area offers some beautiful scenery and is a peaceful retreat from the urban explosion that awaits in the heart of Stratford.
Although always considered a bit of a transport hub, Stratford’s public transport links have been dramatically improved in recent years, again down to the Olympics. DLR, National Rail, Overground and Underground services (Jubilee and Northern Lines) are all available here.