Olympics 2012

(Mostly) not the Olympics

Hollow pondsIf the Olympics is not your thing and you’ve chosen to stay in Leytonstone rather than risk sunburn and heat fatigue from somewhere abroad, here are a  few suggestions to keep yourself occupied.

Hire a boat on Hollow Ponds, pop into a Leytonstone pub or restaurant for a meal or …

Wandering Rocks exhibition

Stone Space

Check the Stone Space website for opening days and times. There’s also a new display in the Slate gallery window next door.

Now until 12 August

International Peace Quilts

The Stone Space Projects Gallery (outside Leytonstone tube)

The International Peace Quilt project will be on display in The Stone Space Projects Gallery, Station Forecourt, Leytonstone from July 28th to August 12th with a special viewing on August 3rd at 3.pm. Gary Hall jr winner of 10 Olympic Swimming medals and recently joining the U.S. hall of fame is to view the project during his time in London for the Games.

More information on Facebook

Thursday 2 August

Sunset Tours from the Tower

St John’s Church

The forecast for this Thursday is looking good at the moment, so if you’ve not yet seen the wonderful views from the top of St John’s Church Tower, this week must be a hot favourite for your diary while the Olympics is still on. You’re asked to book in advance: see St John’s Church website for details.

Thursday 2 August

William Morris Gallery reopening

It’s not in Leytonstone, but as it serves the whole borough including Leytonstone they deserve a mention. After a period of closure for refurbishment, the William Morris Gallery is reopening on Thursday 2 August.

When the gallery reopens there will be more of this unique collection on display, including new interactive displays.

The gallery will now be fully accessible and there will be a new special exhibition gallery, an improved shop and a tea room with wi-fi where you can admire the views over the newly-refurbished Lloyd Park.

3 August deadline

Voting for the Forest Film Fest

The final event in the Council’s Big 6 programme, is now open and residents are being asked to vote for the films they want to see on the big screen.

There are seven categories to vote in:

  1. Children’s Disney and Pixar
  2. Alfred Hitchcock and horror
  3. Sports related
  4. General and action
  5. Blockbuster
  6. Classics
  7. James Bond (probably not including any royalty …)

More information

Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August

The 2012 Festival of Sport

The fifth of the Council’s Big 6 events programme, takes place at Waltham Forest Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday. Watch the Olympic Games on the giant screen, master a sport of your choice, speak to professionals for advice.

More information

Sunday 5 August

‘Godiva Awakes’

A 10 metre high puppet of Godiva, powered by cyclists, will travel through the borough, starting at Ridgeway Park in Chingford, through the Crooked Billet roundabout and onto Waltham Forest Town Hall as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

More information

Friday 3 August

Raj against the machine

491 Gallery

491 Gallery
Blending the best in performance, music, live bands, art and dance… Raj Against the Machine will provide the audience with a spectacular experience.

More information: www.skiddle.com

Summer Daze schools summer fun

There are activities and events in over 50 schools across the borough this summer for children, young people and their families during the school summer holidays running from Monday 30 July to Friday 24 August. See the Council’s website for more information.

More information

Tuesday 14 August

Woodhouse Players: play choosing meeting

Looking ahead, The Woodhouse Players are meeting on the 14th to choose their Christmas Panto, if you want to take part, see their website for more details:

Are you travelling to the Olympic Park?

Olympic VillageIf you’re travelling to the Olympic Park, these maps will help your journey.

As well as the main entrance at Stratford, there are other gates at:

  • Greenway on Stratford High Street
  • Victoria Gate in Hackney Wick
  • Eton Manor Gate on Eastway (The W15 bus towards Hackney from Leytonstone Plaza, outside Leytonstone tube station, stops by Eton Manor Gate on Eastway)
  • Leytonstone bus map

Maps of the Olympic Park

  • Map of the Olympic Park (London2012 map in .pdf format you can print off and showing the main facilities)
  • Olympic Park on Google Maps (If you don’t know the area, beware, some people have tried to gain a marketing advantage by marking up the Olympic Stadium wrongly on Google Maps, the correct location is near to Stratford Station).

Get Ahead of the Games daily travel reminders

Download the Get Ahead of the Games calendar for daily travel reminders.

Other travel links

See the right hand column and the bottom of this page for other travel links and travel feeds from Transport for London and the Highways Agency.


There are still some tickets available, but you have to order them online, you can’t just turn up at the park and buy them on the spot. Beware of people trying to resell tickets or selling tickets through unauthorised sources: you almost certainly won’t get in with a ticket you’ve bought through an unauthorised source and may be committing a criminal offence!

The London 2012 website has details on:

Leyton Food Stalls

Waltham Forest Council has created a special international food market on Marshall Road, near to Leyton tube station and the Olympic Park.

The market runs from 27 July to 9 September and is offering 30 hot and cold food hall stalls, run mainly by local restaurants and café owners. The market has been established in partnership with North London Business and Skateco UK.

The old Leyton Town Hall has also opened as a pop-up pub Leyton Technical , run by the Antic Group, which runs the Red Lion in Leytonstone and other pubs around London.

Marshall Road/Leyton Mills


Olympic Games 27 July to 12 August 2012

Paralympic Games 29 August to 9 September 2012

Olympics Rhymathon 26 July Leytonstone Library

Waltham Forest Council is organising a free Olympics Rhymathon for 6-12 year olds at Leytonstone Library on Thursday 26 July, 2.30pm-3.30pm with top comedy poet, Neal Zetter.

More details: London Borough of Waltham Forest website

Confused by the Olympic travel changes?

Olympic Games Lane signA lot of people are coming to this site searching for information about temporary travel during the Olympics, especially on roads.

The Get Ahead of the Games website has an area where you can put in your postcode and check the impact for driving, cycling, pedestrians and public transport:

The main road impact for Leytonstone is that the A12 (M11 link road) has a Games Lane right down to and including the Blackwall Tunnel and A13, the roads around Stratford town centre, the new road north of the Olympic village, Temple Mills Lane, Ruckholt Road, and parts of High Road Leyton are all affected. As well as Games Lanes, some roads will be subject to closure. For example, there’s no entry to the A12 from the Green Man Roundabout from 23 July, operating from 0600-1100 each day until 14 August, then again for the Paralympic Games between 27 August until 11 September.

Get Ahead of the Games signIf you are leaving the M11, the Wanstead/Redbridge roundabout exit is affected but the London NE/Walthamstow exit does not appear to be.

The Games Lanes are sometimes on the left, sometimes in the middle, sometimes dedicated lanes, and sometimes shared with bus lanes.

Some restrictions are only temporary, so if you find you can drive freely one day, that may not apply at another time: do beware as the fine for using a Games Lane is £130!

There are also lots of other useful links about the Olympics and how they affect Leytonstone on the Olympics 2012 page.

See the bottom of each page on this website for other useful transport links including live feeds from eg the Highways Agency.

More information

Please share this information, not everybody appears to know where to find it!

If you’ve had particular problems, or found ways of avoiding disruption, please share in the comment box below.

Leytonstone Festival, Arts Trail and the Olympic Torch

Leytonstone Arts Trail 2012Festival and Arts Trail

It’s the last weekend of Leytonstone Festival and Leytonstone Arts Trail and there’s still a packed programme of Festival events and art appearing all over the area, not just in the 16 venues taking part but also in people’s windows and gardens.

With the sun reckoned to make a much delayed appearance it promises to be a perfect weekend to enjoy these events.

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Some of the pictures at Norlington Road Studios — it’s worth a visit as there are many more to see. Entry is free.

Do look at the official programmes on the Leytonstone Festival and Leytonstone Arts Trail websites/Facebook pages, however, to check for any last minute updates to the programmes, in case I have missed anything or where you may have to book in advance or numbers may be limited. If you spot an error, please let me know.

The Stone Space is the headquarters for Leytonstone Arts Trail 2012 and is showing samples from over 70 artists. You can collect a Trail Guide from The Stone Space and find out about the venues taking part in this year’s Arts Trail.

London 2012 bannerOlympic torch

The Olympic torch arrives in Waltham Forest this Saturday. It’s not coming to Leytonstone, but will be going along parts of Leyton High Road.

Independent Retailer Month: support your local shops and businesses

Independent Retailer Month poster
July is also Independent Retailer Month, so while you’re out and about in Leytonstone, take the opportunity to support your local shops, cafés and restaurants!

Saturday 21 July

Carlton House Open Day

Aylmer Road

Saturday 21 July

I am Cann Hall, 1948-2012 photography exhibition

The Holly Tree

Saturday 21 July

A leisurely walk around Leytonstone Arts Trail

Meet at Leytonstone Underground (Church Lane side), 11.00am

Saturday 21 July

Leytonstone Calling, live music at The Red Lion

Hip-hop and street art and the London food and ale festival.

Saturday 21 July

The Hot House Quintet

The North Star

Saturday 21 July

Woodhouse Players

The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Welsh Church Hall

Saturday 21 July

Blackhorse and Standard Women’s Morris Dance

St John’s Churchyard

Saturday 21 July

Shaolin Gong Fu City Kung Fu and Tai Chi performances and workshops

The Salvation Army Hall

Sunday 22 July

A celebration of Irish culture, featuring the Jones Boys

The Plough and Harrow

Sunday 22 July

Oh So Funny Comedy Night, starring Mr Alan Davies

The Sheepwalk (ticketed event by email: ohsofunnycomedy@yahoo.co.uk, say how many tickets you want, if tickets are still available)

Sunday 22 July

Woodhouse Players

The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Welsh Church Hall

Sunday 22 July

I am Cann Hall, 1948-2012 photography exhibition

The Holly Tree

Sunday 22 July

What’s Cookin’ Fifth Annual Summer Picnic

The Birkbeck Tavern

Sunday 22 July

The Choice Standards Trio and Marnie

The North Star

Sunday 22 July

Songs of Praise

Cann Hall and Harrow Green Baptist Church

Further afield

The British Film Institute has a Hitchcock Season this summer

Hitchcock Gallery Leytonstone Tube 1

Check these pages for more information:

More photos from the church tower

Leytonstone Wanstead Flats and Canary Wharf from St John's TowerI’ve added some more photos from the tower of St John’s Church and arranged them in an approximately 360 degree order here: St John’s Church Panoramas from the Tower.

The church has an open day today and is running its Sunset over London tours every Thursday evening (which include music and a free drink). Read my review for more information.

Leytonstone Festival 2012The church’s open day is part of the Leytonstone Festival which this year runs alongside the Leytonstone Arts Trail. Get a taster of the many events running this weekend on Leytonstone Festival and Arts Trail.

Monday 16 July sees the start of the Olympic Controlled Parking Zones in Leytonstone. Are you ready for the Olympics. I created a page a few weeks ago with lots of useful links about the Olympics for Leytonstone residents, businesses and visitors — take a look it should save you time hunting down all the various sources of information: Olympics 2012 page.

Independent Retailer Month logoIf you’re out shopping today don’t forget it’s Independent Retailer Month. Support your local shops (and cafés and retaurants)! Today is also the Lion Heart Festival Market outside the Red Lion.

Enjoy the Festival and Arts Trail, and please share with your family and friends!

Towering high over Leytonstone

Panorama from St John's Church towards Stratford

I was delighted to be given the opportunity last night to be in the first party to try the new Sunset over London tour of St John’s Church in the centre of Leytonstone.

Church Lane, the Library and High Road Leytonstone towards StratfordI have been up the tower once before, many years ago, when it was so cloudy you could hardly see as far as Leytonstone Overground station and I was hoping that wasn’t going to happen again after this awful summer. I was not disappointed.

There was cloud in the sky but still some sun breaking through and as the sun went down there was a distinctly red glow from the West.

Leytonstone Overground stationThe tour starts with half an hour of musical entertainment. Last night it was a delightful performance by Rachel Smith who played flute, alto flute and piccolo with works by Bach, Ibert, Piazolla, Debussy and a composer, Paul Lewis, who had written a piece especially for her. Rachel is a professional flautist who has played throughout the world and on BBC radio and television and has recently released a CD Aquarelles. Different musicians will play at each tour.

Hard hats are provided for the tour and you are advised to wear trainers — certainly not high heels — and clothes that won’t mind a bit of dust. It is good advice as the winding stairs to the top are narrow for most of the way and very narrow at the top. It’s probably best to visit one of Leytonstone’s restaurants after the tour, rather than have a hearty meal beforehand, though none of us got stuck!

Looking towards Hackney and Haringey and the sunsetThe views from the top are really spectacular. Although a church steeple may not seem very high compared with the London Eye or the new ArcelorMittal OrbitTower in the Olympic Park, when it opens, St John’s has the distinct advantage that Leytonstone is already one of the highest points in London so the top of the tower really does have unparalled views.

The City of LondonYou have a full half an hour to study the vista.

If you are a local you will see Leytonstone in a completely new light and the first thing that strikes you is just how much greenery you can see compared with many other parts of London.

Even if you have never been to Leytonstone before, you will find you have a good view of the Olympic Park and right over London. You can see the O2 in Greenwich, Canary Wharf, the City of London, the Shard, which was inaugurated yesterday, and even as far as the London Eye.

Looking East you can see to across Newham and Redbridge towards Havering and Barking & Dagenham.

To the West you can see Enfield on the other side of the Lea Valley, and Hackney and Haringey, which if my geography is correct is where the sun was setting.

You are provided with a four page guide to the many sights you can see and you can borrow binoculars.

Canary WharfAs a bonus we also got to see the fireworks display from one of Waltham Forest’s Urban Classic event, part of its Big6 events season.

After descending the tower there was a choice of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits (all Fairtrade and included in the ticket) and a chance to chat to others in the party.

Wanstead Flats and looking EastPart of the reason for introducing these tours is to raise money for the church to pay off the expenses it has incurred in its recent restoration,.

However, Rev Draper is also keen to stress that he sees the church very much as part of the community and wants to welcome everyone from the community. There’s no attempt to enrol you and anyone from any denomination, or no denomination, would feel just as comfortable visiting.

This is one part of the community opening up a facility to the whole community and it is one of Leytonstone’s hidden gems that everybody should take the opportunity to enjoy.

More information

St John’s Church has a regular programme of concerts open to the public, many of them free, and there is also the churchyard trail.

A stunning new view of London

St Johns Church Tower Tours advertisementFrom this week (5 July 2012) St John the Baptist Church in the centre of Leytonstone is offering sunset tours of the tower every Thursday evening.

From one of the highest points in London the tours combine the chance to enjoy the stunning panorama towards the Olympic Park, Greenwich, Canary Wharf, central London and Epping Forest.

Refreshments will be available and each tour will also be entertained by local professional musicians. Times will vary according to the season and to coincide with the sunset, so please check the church website for details of opening and how to book. Full price tickets are £12.50, concessions are also available.

The church which is just one minute’s walk from Leytonstone tube station on the Central Line (Zone 3) also has free weekly lunchtime concerts and a churchyard trail.

St Johns Church view from the tower4St Johns Church view from the tower3St Johns Church view from the tower2St Johns Church view from the tower

Leytonstone Olympic Links

2012 Olympic site August 2011 2012 Olympic site in August 2011

There are lost of organisations involved in delivering the Olympics and with only 38 days to go and more and more people searching on this site for Olympic related content I’ve completely updated the Olympics 2012 page to bring together many of the most important links that locals in Leytonstone and visitors alike might find most useful for the Olympic and Paralympic period.

So you’ll find links to local council information, London 2012, travel, car parking permits, information for business and a whole lot more.

Let me know if you find any links out of date or you think I’ve missed anything.

Don’t forget if you go to the Translation page, then click on one of the forty languages shown, the whole of this site will translate into that language (well, into Google Translate’s interpretation of that language, which isn’t always spot on, but it may help visitors and show we try to be welcoming here in the East End).

Please do share this page on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media sites and with anyone who would find it useful!

You can give a direct link to the page as www.leytonstonetoday.net/olympics-2012/ (more information about the name of this site coming shortly …)

New Look Leytonstone

Outside Leytonstone station towards Church Lane

Outside the station towards Church Lane

The last week or so has seen the finishing touches to the building work that has been going on the length of Leytonstone High Road, in the town centre and along Whipps Cross Road to give Leytonstone a new and brighter look ready for the Olympics.

I haven’t managed to get photos of everything, the weather has not been so kind, but I’ve added a collection of photos showing most of the work and I’ve summarised some of the other main changes that have happened in the last year or so on New Look Leytonstone.

A lot has happened, new pubs, a market, an art gallery and more and all against the backdrop of one of the most horrible recessions in living history.

So, if you know someone thinking of moving to Leytonstone, investing here, or who just has a view of the area which is second hand or out of date, please share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, by email or however you can and send them to this page, it might just help!