Experience the real London in Stratford

The London 2012 Olympic Games may have long gone, but there are still plenty of reasons to pop along to Stratford in East London.

Stratford has great tube, train and DLR links. It takes just 10 minutes to reach Liverpool Street by tube. Even though the games themselves are now finished the Olympic park remains a big draw. Instead of doing a guided tour of the Olympic site, take the DLR one stop from Stratford to Pudding Mill Lane and walk five minutes to the groovy-looking green container called the View Tube.

This community-run venue houses a café (locals rave about the Italian lemon doughnuts) and free art exhibitions by talented locals. If you head to the top floor, you’ll enjoy a great view of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

If shopping is your sport of choice you’ll also find yourself well catered for in Stratford. The Westfield shopping centre is a vast 1.9 million square foot mall and you’ll find all your favourites and more amongst the many shops there.

And if all that shopping gives you an appetite, Westfield also has a great choice of eateries amongst its many galleries. However, for a taste of the delicious food that locals enjoy, head to the nearby budget Polish restaurant Londek Café. Fill up on hearty goulash and creamy red cabbage for around £5-7 per person.

After sorting out your hunger you might start to think about quenching your thirst and enjoying some of Stratford’s cultural highlights. Film buffs should make a beeline for Picturehouse Stratford East. Along with blockbusters and arty films, the cinema also shows live screenings of operas and ballets. Sup a pint of London-brewed Meantime Pale Ale in the bar before you head in.

Fancy a tipple in an East End boozer? Stratford’s King Edward VII pub serves local favourite Eddie’s Best ale. Meanwhile, for a distinctly modern spin on great British beer, head to the Tap East. Located in the shopping centre, this modern pub is anything but your usual retail outlet chain boozer. With a great range of bottled and draught beers available, including some from the pub itself, it’s easy to see why the place is so beloved of ale drinkers.

After a few drinks in the stylish pub you won’t want to have to go too far to get back to your hotel. Fortunately there are plenty of accommodation options in this area of London, and there are affordable hotels near Stratford’s best attractions, and is reasonably priced to boot.

If you prefer your drama in the flesh then the Theatre Royal Stratford East could be for you. The vibrant community theatre is not far from the Picturehouse and has a programme with a strong emphasis on developing new local talent and bringing diversity to the stage.

But if you want a night out in Stratford with a difference, head to neighbouring Stratford Circus. Choose from dance performances, musical concerts or even trapeze shows at the tremendously fun venue.  Regardless of choice, with such a diverse array of activities on offer you can be sure to find something in Stratford to suit your tastes.

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