Finally, the day has come to write about a destination close to my heart, in my hometown of Walthamstow.
A classic piece of East End London, I always loved the real and authentic Londoner atmosphere you’d get in the pubs and markets here.
There’s a lot of natural beauty to be found in the marshes around Walthamstow, and the Walthamstow Wetlands is a huge new opportunity to experience nature in East London.
Walthamstow has become a very up-and-coming place in recent years, and with the opening of London’s newest and biggest public park, the Walthamstow Wetlands has put some lovely icing on the forever expanding cake that is Walthamstow.
With big reservoir bodies of water glinting in the sunshine, many species of birdlife to observe, and hundreds of hectares to explore, the Walthamstow Wetlands is full of things to explore over a nice quiet weekend.
The site was closed to the public for decades, but now all of the eight islands, ten reservoirs, and London’s largest heronry can be experienced by tourists and Londoners hoping to see some natural beauty in East London.
Birdlife in the Wetlands includes kingfishers, waterfowl, cormorants, swifts, herons, peregrine falcons, and so much more.
The site has been kept as close to the feeling of wildness as possible for the Wildlife Trust, and their mission to open this beautiful natural reserve to the public. It has certainly been successful.
You can experience the Wetlands easily on a day out. Let me tell you about some of the easier ways to get to Walthamstow from Central London, it’s pretty easy.
Getting to Walthamstow Wetlands
Whether you want to cycle, grab the tube, drive, or even walk from Central London, it’s easy to get to London’s biggest new natural park in the heart of East London.
Considering how easy it is to head from Central London to Walthamstow for the weekend, there is no reason why tourists and locals can’t enjoy a wonderful weekend walk around Walthamstow Wetlands.
To get to the Walthamstow Wetlands, simply take the tube (Victoria Line) to Tottenham Hale or Blackhorse road. The Wetlands are located just between the two stations, so either one works fine.
You can easily spend half a day or longer walking around the north or south water reserves with a nice break in between.
It might be nice to hire a bike and cycle up the River Lea if you want to get to the Wetlands by bike. The canal joins right up with the Wetlands, and Google Maps is great for cycle routes in London. Just make sure you wear a helmet.
Alternatively, take the River Lea from Hackney up to Walthamstow to enjoy some natural water life before you get to the Wetlands.
Wildlife and things to do
Explore a huge array of wildlife all around you on your walk through the Wetlands. Some are rare and newcomers to the UK environment, while some are resident species.
Take a stroll through the huge 211-hectare site and meander around the reserve watching the birdlife in its natural habitat. Or, if you fancy having a bit more purpose to your visit, enjoy various activities such as walking, cycling, fishing and birdwatching.
Please ensure you pick up a permit from the fisheries office if you intend on doing any fishing in the waters and get some advice from locals on the regulations for fishing in the reservoirs to protect the natural wildlife.
Engine House Cafe and Coppermill Tower
The onsite cafe is located in the Engine House where you can take in gorgeous views of the nature around you whilst enjoying a pot of tea and cake.
From the Coppermill Tower you can find a viewing platform to give you some high up views of this cosy part of the Walthamstow Wetlands. The Coppermill Tower is a great central meeting spot to explore the large areas of the wetlands.
If you fancy even more East London natural beauty on your way back, you can walk along the River Lea to enjoy the cosy docks and canal views.
When is the Walthamstow Wetlands open?
Walthamstow Wetlands is open seven days a week between 9.30am to 4pm.
The visitor centre and café inside the Engine House are open daily 9.30am to 4pm.
The car park is open daily between 9.30am to 4.30pm, but the car park gets busy sometimes, so I would recommend taking the tube or cycling.
To read more about what to do around Walthamstow on the weekend, please check out my local guide to Walthamstow on visitlondon.com for more ideas for things to do in the area.
Have a wonderful time around Walthamstow and its beautiful Wetlands over a nice London weekend, thank you for reading and have a great time.