1. You can avoid the mud (just)
The Flats are swamp-like right now, aren’t they: hands up who found themselves stranded in silly trainers at least once over Christmas? And that quagmire as you enter Wanstead Park from Bushwood? Yikes. Thankfully, mud-free routes do still exist for the essential #dailywalk, especially if you avoid the key thoroughfares and stay in the springy grassy central sections of the Flats or Wanstead Heath. Failing that, we reckon Jubilee Park, the Olympic Park and canal towpaths are the best bet, but it’s a shame they’re so busy – the latter is especially hellish at peak o’clock. As for Hollow Pond? That’s dryish, but those partial to delicate footwear should avoid the boggy northern wooded paths. If you have any secret dry walk tips, email email@example.com.
2. Take a holiday in Walthamstow Village
Missing your little winter mini-break in a picturesque English country town? Then stroll the half hour or so up to E17’s cutest corner. We can never get enough of this house, above, in particular: a former hall converted into four dwellings, it dates back to the 15th century, with delicious timber frame and enviable weatherboarding. In fact, it’s only been restored to current splendour twice – firstly in 1934 and most recently in 2001. Close your eyes and pretend you’re in somewhere as exotic as – ooooh – the Cotswolds, especially with the rambling churchyard and narrow lanes surrounding it.
3. Hike to see the wildlife
Need your ‘swan’ hit? A mid-length amble away, Alexandra Lake in Aldersbrook is a worthy excursion on foot across the Flats. Besides its pleasingly twisty paths, shingly beaches and epic vistas – like a smaller but no less attractive Hollow Pond – its wildfowl population is surely unchallenged anywhere in the locale (although Jubilee Pond comes close). Swans hiss, geese flap – we have a particular penchant for the distinctive Egyptian species – and, naturally, toddlers scream: a lively symphony for a grey morning. At its southern tip, cross over the road and reboot your #lockdownperspective with a roam around the enchanting City of London Cemetery, too.
4. Anatolia does a mean ‘bab
And now, food. Sure, the takeaway scene across E10 and E11 is thriving with the continuing lockdowns, and there’s more choice than the laziest home chef could ever wish for. So today let’s give a shout out to long-running Leyton High Road Turkish joint Anatolia, whose very generous portions, fresh flatbreads and tender chargrilled shish mean – on the three occasions we enjoyed it over the past month – there’s always enough for leftovers for the next day: surely an essential aspect of the lockdown takeaway, in fact.
5. Uncovered! The best bread in East London
Like most Londoners, we’re a bit too obsessed with sourdough. Our two local faves are Walthamstow’s Today Bread, which sells out daily at Yardarm of course, and Wild Goose Bakery, with its Leytonstone, Forest Gate and Marmelo outlets. But we reckon the tastiest in east London might just be Dalston’s finest Dusty Knuckle, who also do pop-ups in Leyton sporadically (find out more on Insta). The crust is so addictive you end up tearing it off, and the bread itself the perfect balance between texture and flavour. Well worth queuing for – walk there in about an hour and a bit from E10 or E11.
6. An awesome depiction of E10’s best street
And finally, Continuous Line Studio is a London-based illustration company created by Leyton dweller Emily Hinckley. She makes work “inspired by her city – iconic store fronts, characteristic architecture and East London interiors.” Our main image, above, of Francis Road is, she says, “an illustration of my favourite delis, coffee shop and plant shops. A celebration of all the local businesses out there that need supporting more than ever.” Too true: you can buy the print via her website here.