East London’s top five green spaces

{ Posted on by }
Categories : Travel news

East London's top five green spaces

Two miles north-west of the Olympic Park, tranquil Springfield Park runs up the steep bank from the River Lee, affording expansive views over Walthamstow Marshes to the Lee Valley. Its 16 hectares (40 acres) are a lovely mix of manicured gardens and conservation areas, and in the White House is relaxed Springfield Park Cafe (springfieldparkcafe.co.uk), serving homemade treats and fresh juices. Walthamstow Marshes (visitleevalley.org.uk) are a less cultivated alternative and a haven for urban wildlife. There are cattle, rare plants and butterflies, kingfishers and kestrels. Just along the river is the Anchor & Hope (15 High Hill Ferry, E5, anchor-and-hope-clapton.co.uk), a tiny Fuller's pub right on the water.

For some real respite a stone's throw from the Olympic Park, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is a shady retreat for an atmospheric meander. Just south-east of Mile End tube station, it was one of London's "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries (along with more famous Highgate). Now a 13-hectare (32-acre) woodland park and nature reserve rich in bird and butterfly life, it originally opened in 1841 and, after some 300,000 interments, was closed to burials in 1966. You can catch guided nature tours on Thursdays at 4pm, and history walks at 2pm on Sundays 29 July, 12, 19 August, and 19, 16 September.
• Southern Grove, E3, 07904 186981, towerhamletscemetery.org, free. Open 8am-9pm/dusk, whichever is earlier

At the tip of the Isle of Dogs, Mudchute Park & Farm (mudchute.org) is London's largest city farm. On entering through the canopy of trees from East Ferry Road, you're greeted by the delightful sight of cows and sheep roaming freely on the grassy 13-hectare (32-acre) site. It's a world away from the city, though you can see the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. The farm has an array of animals in well-kept, spacious surroundings; kids will love it, especially the llamas. There's also a great cafe serving locally sourced dishes.
• Pier Street, E14, 020-7515 5901, mudchute.org, free. Open Tues-Sun 9am-5pm

East London street du jour and less crowded than hyper-hip Broadway Market next to London Fields park, the practical outlets on Chatsworth Road (chatsworthroade5.co.uk) have, in the last few years, been joined by trendy cake shops, restaurants and delis, tempting a steady stream of locals. The road's long-running market died out in the 1990s, but has now been resurrected on a Sunday, selling artisan food, retro knick-knacks, vintage clothing, jewellery and homemade produce. Wood-panelled Venetia's (venetias.co.uk) brews great coffee, and Shane's on Chatsworth (shanesonchatsworth.com) is a romantic spot serving well-executed seasonal fare. Branch off down Blurton Road for lovely backstreet local The Elderfield (57 Elderfield Road).

On the south side of Stratford High Street, close to the Greenway footpath and cycleway, a riverbank path leads away from the traffic to tidy Three Mills Green. At its southern end sits the 18th-century House Mill (housemill.org.uk), the world's largest tidal mill, hosting a varied summer programme of talks, exhibitions and guided tours of the building's mechanisms. From here, you can pick up the canal path and follow the water for a peaceful couple of miles before emerging on to Limehouse Basin, and just beyond it, the Thames. Seek out the Grapes (thegrapes.co.uk), a centuries-old boozer with a tiny terrace by the river.

Sally Schafer, co-author of the Lonely Planet London city guide (?14.99). For Lonely Planet's free downloadable guide to Stratford and East London, see lonelyplanet.com/campaigns/london/2012


Related posts

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.