The past decade has witnessed profound and permanent transformation in the East End neighbourhood of Stratford. London’s Olympic legacy and the opening of the Westfield Shopping Centre have jointly revitalised the area into an exciting cultural, commercial, and residential hub rivalling the likes of the City and Canary Wharf.
Few places in the city have benefited as much from the Olympic legacy, with the site of the games converted into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and facilities opened up for public use to provide numerous additional amenities for local residents. Similarly, the arrival of Westfield Stratford in 2011 brought with it an influx of new retail outlets, restaurants, and entertainment facilities, making Stratford home to the single largest shopping centre in Europe.
Property development in Stratford is booming, with thousands of new homes built or in the pipeline. Chief among these emerging residential districts is the stunning development in East Village, which has been continually growning. Residential operator Get Living has created a thriving community of beautiful homes and independent businesses on the former site of the Olympic Athletes' Village. While Get Living first injected the area with new life, other developements have been quick to pop up and only enhanced the location and all it's communities. This newly formed suburb provides a blueprint for the future of urban living, with spacious modern properties, more green space to explore, and an environment in which quirky local businesses can thrive.
Read our Stratford area guide below to discover more about life in this exciting, well-connected East London neighbourhood.
Located in Zone 2 and 3, Stratford offers excellent transport links to both inner and outer London.
Stratford sits on both the Central and Jubilee lines and benefits from super fast connections to the City and Central London and most recently with the introduction of the Elizabeth Line, it has an even greater option of travel. There is direct service to Oxford Circus in just 20 minutes and to Liverpool Street or Canary Wharf in just under 10 minutes.
Overground services running to Highbury & Islington and DLR services connecting Stratford to South East London are also available.
Stratford International station provides high-speed travel links to King’s Cross St Pancras and connects the neighbourhood to the rest of the UK.
For international travellers, National Express buses offer a direct service to Stansted Airport in just 50 minutes, and it has access to City Airport in just 19mins by train. Hard to beat for the summer holidays.
Food & Drink
Signorelli is an artisan bakery, pasticceria, and coffee shop with three locations in East Village and Queen Elizabeth Park. Its flagship store in East Village was opened in 2015 and local residents have been flocking there ever since to enjoy its wide selection of breads, pastries, and cakes (all handmade from scratch on a daily basis). Diners can watch the store baker at work during a leisurely breakfast or pick up a toasted focaccia to go for an indulgent lunch. As a bonus for locals, E20 office workers receive 10% off of their lunch and catering orders from Monday to Friday!
This stylish, upmarket eatery in East Village specialises in modern British fusion fare using local seasonal produce. Lauded as a ‘hidden gem’ by the Evening Standard, the restaurant’s sleek modern interior is the perfect complement to its menu of rich, indulgent cuisine. The weekend lunch menu is a revelation, with the roast ribeye of beef and duck fat roasted potatoes among the best Sunday roasts available anywhere in London (as personally verified by me - your author and professional roast dinner enthusiast). Celebrate a special occasion or simply indulge in an intimate meal with a loved one at Darkhorse and you won’t be disappointed.
Located a 15-minute walk away from East Village is Barge East, a floating bar and restaurant set within a lovingly restored Dutch narrowboat. The 114-year-old barge, described by the proprietors as ‘full of charm and rustic decor’, is moored at the edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and includes a stunning outdoor decking area with spectacular views of the London Skyline. On chillier evenings, guests can enjoy the cosy main indoor dining space, complete with log burning fire. The globetrotting menu combines seasonal small plate dishes and larger mains inspired by the owner’s years spent cooking on yachts across the world.
The largest park opened in Europe for 150 years, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park provides its many visitors the opportunity to enjoy London’s Olympic legacy in all its glory. It’s award winning parklands, waterways, and playgrounds are free to visit and offer locals access to plenty of tranquil beauty spots. The grounds are also home to former Olympic venues including London Stadium, the Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley VeloPark, and the London Aquatics Centre. These venues have since been repurposed for public use and visitors can avail themselves of facilities that were once graced by their Olympic sporting heroes.
Designed in 2012 by renowned architect Sir Anish Kapoor and artist Cecil Balmond, ArcelorMittal Orbit offers a unique combination of contemporary art and stunning panoramic city views. The weird and wonderful tower stands at 114.5m tall and allows visitors to experience London’s skyline from either the floor-to-ceiling windows in the observation deck or the outside observation walkway (suspended 80m above the ground). The complex also includes the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide and the UK’s highest freefall abseil. For £16.75 for an adult ticket, you can zoom down London’s tallest public artwork while reaching speeds of 15mph as you traverse the twelve twists and turns of the slide. It’s an experience not to be missed, but book early as tickets sell out fast during the summer months!
Formerly an empty rooftop parking, Roof East is an open air cinema, bar, and community space. Located opposite Stratford Station and Westfield shopping centre, Roof East hosts a programme of rooftop cinema classics for visitors to enjoy every Spring and Summer. The venue also organises a number of events throughout the year, and plays permanent host to a retro video games arcade, street food pop up stalls, a rooftop bar, crazy golf, and its incomparable House of Foos VR experience. The House of Foos combines VR traditional football and foosball for an exciting new gaming experience. It’s only £5 per person for a session of up to four people, so we recommend grabbing three of your most competitive friends and trying it out yourself.
Is It For You?
Stratford is the perfect place for working professionals and young families looking to experience a newer, greener way of living without venturing outside of the city. A bustling economic centre in its own right, Stratford also offers excellent transport links to all of London’s major commercial hubs. Exceptional local amenities exist as a consequence of the area’s Olympic legacy and new shopping centre, and East Village is soon to overtake nearby Shoreditch as the coolest East London neighbourhood. It’s time to consider making the move!