East London Food & Culture

Barking Riverside: Summer Sessions pop-up bar and events guide

Visit the scenic 2km stretch of River Thames for pop-up bars, streetfood and more all summer

This summer, if you fancy a spontaneous day-trip to one of the most scenic sections of the Thames, why not hop on the Overground to Barking Riverside?

Not only is it East London’s most undiscovered stretch of river, it’s also the sole bit of Thames you can access on the Gospel Oak-Barking Riverside line. And, as it’s just 15 mins’ train ride away from Leyton Midland or Leytonstone High Road stations, there’s no excuse, really.

Barking Riverside
Barking Riverside Foreshore © Jimmy Lee Photography

As you can see, the towpath here is surprisingly wild and gorgeous, with its epic views across the creek at one of the river’s widest sections.

In fact, on our visit yesterday (see below pic), it was hard to believe this is still London: ferns, long grasses and wild flowers line the banks, and you might even glimpse a seal – or at least a plover – at low-tide. If you’re partial to a waterside stroll, it’s also well worth walking the whole 2km to the far jetty.


Barking Riverside
Ferns and big skies at Barking Riverside. Photo: Stephen Emms

But there’s an added incentive at weekends: the return of Summer Sessions, organised by Barking Riverside Limited, an action-packed seasonal programme of events, pop-ups and activities.

It all takes place in a lavender-strewn oasis right on the Thames riverfront, dotted with picnic tables, giant chess sets, sun-shades and sandpit for the kids (don’t worry there’s tented rain-cover, too).

Barking Riverside
The sandy oasis on the riverfront. Photo: J.Lee

Highlights of the ten-week Summer Sessions include a residency from Barking favourite the Boathouse Bar and Café, tasty pop-up streetfood, bespoke cocktail bar Meetini (pictured above, a regular at Broadway Market), family rave Big Fish Little Fish and the return of the Emerge East festival.

As well as the Overground, Barking Riverside is also connected by Uber Boat on the Thames Clippers, so you can even continue your adventure by water.


Emerge East
DJs at Emerge East. Photo: PR

Emerge East

One of the major events of Barking Riverside’s summer is the return of Emerge East, a community festival first held in December 2022. Delivered in partnership with the acclaimed Hemingway Design, Emerge East is set to return on 5th & 6th August and again on 16th September.

At Emerge East, residents and visitors can enjoy a range of activities, from DJs to dog shows, as well as the return of the outdoor sauna experience and the “home cooks” food offering, which features residents who have been supported to become food entrepreneurs.

The final Emerge East weekend will be the culmination of the Summer Sessions programme, bringing residents and visitors together for a season-closer on the riverside. And it’s free. Full details here.

Meetini cocktails. Photo: Ben Pipe

Big Fish Little Fish

As part of a weekend designed for families, on Saturday 2nd September Barking Riverside hosts Big Fish Little Fish, an independent, grassroots music and events crew to deliver a family rave (pre-booking required, £0-£8 here).

Events, pop-ups and workshops guide

Mobile cocktail bar Meetini – Thursday to Sunday, 27th – 30th July, 10th – 13th August, 24th – 27th August, 31st August – 3rd September
Summer Sessions x the Boat House – Saturday & Sunday 22th – 23rd July, 19th – 20th August, 7th – 10th September

Barking Riverside
Get fit at Barking Riverside. Photo: PR

Riverside fitness classes including yoga and HIIT – every weekend: Saturday 11.20am – 12noon – HIIT and Legs, Bums and Tums; Sunday 11am- 12pm – Yoga (Tickets just £5 here).
• Pop-up from NUGS, London’s first-ever chicken nugget shop – Saturday 2nd + Sunday 3rd September.

Summer Sessions are taking place at Barking Riverside’s riverfront until 17th September. Full address: Barking Riverside Project Office, Project Road, Barking, IG11 0YP.  For more information about the Summer Sessions programme at Barking Riverside and full timings, please head here.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Barking Riverside Limited. If you wish to speak to thousands of north and east London readers, email info@leytonstoner.london

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