LivingTravelWalthamstow Wetlands: The Complete Guide

Walthamstow Wetlands: The Complete Guide

Opened in October 2017, Walthamstow Wetlands is the largest urban wetland center in Europe. The vast site covers an area of 211 hectares and has 10 reservoirs, eight islands, and 13 miles of walking and biking trails. It is owned by Thames Water and supplies water to 3.5 million homes in London, but it is also a prime location for nature lovers. The reserve attracts migratory birds and migratory wagtails, as well as cormorants, goldfinches, warblers and Cetti swans. Located in Tottenham, North London, just a few miles from the Olympic Stadium, it’s hard to believe that this quiet spot is only a 15-minute tube ride from Oxford Circus.

What to do there

Explore the area on foot or on two wheels. There are concrete roads around the main reservoirs and dirt tracks elsewhere. Head to the grassy banks to get closer to the water and keep an eye out for wildlife, including kingfishers, gray herons, kestrels, and peregrine falcons. The area is part of the Lee Valley Flyway and is protected as an internationally important site for wetland birds. There are log cabins dotted around the site for bird watching, and you’ll see colorful wildflowers lining the trails in the summer months.


You can fish in designated reservoirs between 7 am and 7:30 pm, but you will need to obtain a permit from the fisheries office. Carp fishing is especially popular in the area.

There is a visitor center and cafe in the renovated Engine House at the reserve’s main entrance. It was originally built in 1894 as a steam engine to pump water into London houses, but now houses a permanent exhibit of the area’s wildlife and heritage, as well as a café with an outdoor eating area, a shop selling gifts like local honey and an observation deck overlooking the nature reserve.

The Engine House Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and a snack. You can refuel with hand-roasted coffee and cakes from artisan bakers and much of the food comes from local producers. Step out onto the deck in nice weather or enjoy the double height ceilings and exposed brick inside. There is a retro coffee van near the main entrance for take out drinks. Right across from the main entrance on Ferry Lane is the Ferry Boat, a traditional pub serving real ales and classic pub food such as sausage, mash, shrimp, and chips.


how to visit

Walthamstow Wetlands is completely free to visit. It is open seven days a week between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. (October to March) and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (April to September).

The Engine House visitor center and cafeteria is equipped with a ramp and elevator and is fully accessible for people with mobility problems. While the site features a main concrete road, many of the other roads are dirt roads, so they can be muddy and uneven in places (something to keep in mind when visiting wheelchairs and carts). Dogs (other than assistance dogs) are not allowed to protect wildlife.

How to get there

The main entrance to Walthamstow Wetlands is on Forest Road in Tottenham. The nearest tube station is Tottenham Hale (on the Victoria line), a seven-minute walk away. It is a 10 minute walk from Blackhorse Road Station (also on the Victoria Line). Tottenham Hale is 15 minutes from Oxford Circus.

What to do nearby

Beavertown Brewery is one of London’s coolest craft breweries and is a 15-minute walk from Walthamstow Wetlands. Their tavern is open every Saturday between 2 PM and 8 PM for beer tastings and snacks from a variety of street food vendors. In Walthamstow, you can visit God’s own junkyard, a warehouse full of neon signs and vintage artwork, stroll through its town center lined with cute boutiques and bars, and visit the William Morris Gallery to see some of the best tapestries, furniture and artist wallpaper. .

Near the entrance to Blackhorse Road, the Blackhorse Workshop is home to studios where architects, furniture makers, carpenters and artists create, design and produce work. It is open every Saturday for tours and there is a cafe on site for specialty coffees and homemade cakes.

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