The general rule of thumb is the further outside of London you go the more picturesque and green surroundings become. But Walthamstow is an area of London disproving the theory that a suburban community cannot bring a bit of vibrancy to the capital.
#VillageLondon traveled to Walthamstow, on what we think is the most efficient of tube lines that is the Victoria Line, to see what Walthamstow is all about.
Emerging from the station, blinking like a mole, into the dazzling sunlight of Walthamstow there is no question as to the area’s appeal: it’s stunning.
It’s a vibrant community but it is one in a state of change.Edna Kim - Petals In Bloom
Award Winning Community
A short venture away from the hub of Walthamstow Central leads you to Walthamstow Village and, appropriately enough for #VillageLondon, an area that feels both part of and perfectly removed from the city.
In September of this year Walthamstow Village was, for the sixth time no less, awarded the Gold Award for Best London Village by London In Bloom. As if that was not enough for the area to brag about, Walthamstow Village also took home London In Bloom’s 2015 Greener Streets Award which goes to wherever is able to “greener the grey” of London.
So, to paraphrase Lloyd Grossman: who would live in a place like this? Speaking to Edna Kim, who runs Petals In Bloom on Orford Road for the past ten years, it becomes clear that Walthamstow is a place very much on the rise: “It’s a vibrant community but it is one in a state of change. There are a lot of yummy mummies moving into the area. At least that is the term I’ve been introduced to.”
You can see a real mix of people living here: the old, the young, families, singles.Edna Kim - Petals In Bloom
Edna points out that it isn’t just the “yummy mummies” who live in Walthamstow though. “You can see a real mix of people living here: the old, the young, families, singles. There used to be a lot of families but some of them have sold up due to the property boom. I miss some of them as they were always loyal customers.”
Where Everyone Knows Your Name
Part of the draw of a community like Walthamstow Village is its warm friendly nature. Next door to Edna’s Petals In Bloom is the stunning new wine shop In Vino Veritas. Co-founder Eleanor Scarlett speaks of how she has been living in the area for three years and already feels at home. “It’s a lovely vibe here. I walk down the street and know so many people’s names. That’s rare in London, you know everyone.” Busy making In Vino Veritas even more warm to visit is John Lerner, whose wife Helen was instrumental in the area winning the London In Bloom Awards, who points out that “If you want to be somewhere on time you have to leave ten minutes early because you’re going to stop and chat to so many people along the way.”
It’s a lovely vibe here. I walk down the street and know so many people’s names. That’s rare in London, you know everyone.Eleanor Scarlett - In Vino Veritas
Recent evidence supports the theory that the nicer looking the area the lower the crime rate becomes. Walthamstow Village has a reputation for being hugely safe. Scarlett tells a story that perfectly captures this: “I had my phone stolen in Leytonstone and the police drove me home and told me when they dropped me back that there was never any issues here, it was one of the safest streets in London.”
There was never any issues here, it was one of the safest streets in London.Eleanor Scarlett - In Vino Veritas
So what are the issues that might detract from Walthamstow? For one thing Edna highlights that Orford Road is now closed to cars so she doesn’t get the drop-in customers she used to. Good for residents, bad for the floral business and it is fast becoming something of a nappy valley for all those young mothers flocking to this safe haven. When asked if things get a little too busy Scarlet points out, “there are a lot of buggies here but I can’t complain because I’m normally pushing one of them.”
Throw in the fact it’s in zone 3 and thus has ample bus routes on top of the Victoria line, an overground that goes straight to Liverpool Street and an award-winning neighbourhood, what more could you want from London living? Walthamstow, as the locals like to call it, really is Awesomestow.
Average property price in Walthamstow in May 2015: £386,000
Average property price in Walthamstow in June 2014: £327,000
Properties in Walthamstow saw a rise of 15.3% over a one year period.
Property highlights in Walthamstow: click HERE