With the brand new Olympic park to the east and retro Shoreditch to the west, Bow has thrown itself between the best of both worlds. This is a chilled, inexpensive and largely residential area thanks to its great connections with central London (access to Hammersmith and District Lines from Bow Road lands you in Bank in under 15 minutes). That gives you life among suburban gems like the Bow Locks and Victoria Park with the urban bustle just a matter of minutes away. Any spare Sunday afternoon should be spent in London’s oldest public park which is just 15 minutes from Bow: Victoria Park is the largest and arguably most beautiful in the area. It is home to sports facilities, events and music festivals but is most attractive simply for its refreshing greenery which transports you away from the commotion of a city to an expansive natural haven. The Regent’s Canal is one of London’s best-kept secrets – a peaceful haven often hidden by the surrounding buildings. Today it is well-loved by boaters, walkers and cyclists all looking to escape the capital’s busy streets, but this gem of a canal was all too nearly converted into a railway.
Anyone in search of some London culture is spoiled for choice in Bow. Within a 15 minute radius is The Theatre Royal in Stratford which puts on affordable fringe plays and musicals as well as hosting free Comedy Nights and DJ sessions in the Theatre Bar. Other local new arts centres include Annex East (Stratford) The Yard (Hackney) and Stour Space (Roach Road). Usually these spaces also double up as bars, restaurants or cafés making indulging in East End culture never just a feast for the eyes. The peoples theatre, Royal Drury Lane, is the grande dame of London theatres and stages blockbuster musicals for the masses, with Sam Mendes’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ the most recent long-term occupant to follow in the likes of ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Miss Saigon’.
Bow is not short of tube stations with Mile End station (Central, District and Hammersmith & City lines), Bow Road station (District and Hammersmith & City lines), Bromley-by-Bow station (District and Hammersmith & City lines) and Bow Church station (DLR line) all located down the spine of the district. Bow is also conveniently intersected by both the A11 and A12 which is ideal if you prefer to travel by car. In terms of bus routes you have the option of six different buses including the 277, 339, 425, D6, 25 and 205.
To start with the local giants, you need to know about the shopping: Westfield Stratford City is one of the biggest shopping malls in Europe and houses over 300 stores for everything you could ever want to buy: clothing, electronics, furniture, food, banking, books, hairdressing, the opticians… this is shopping on steroids and from Bow Road station you can be there in little over 10 minutes by bus. If however you have a soft spot for bargain hunting, Bow also runs the Roman Road Market a few times a week, and a Farmers Market once a month. The Stalls sell groceries as well as clothing, books and arts/crafts and gets you hooked on that traditional English style market place.