The east London suburb of Leyton is close to the Olympic Park regeneration zone, but there is still value to be found in this area that is smartening up its act.
South of Leyton lies Stratford, another happening neighbourhood. The open green spaces of the Lea Valley and Hackney Marshes lie west of Leyton, and you’ll go east for Leytonstone, Wanstead and Epping Forest. Meanwhile, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with entertainment programmes and fabulous facilities including the VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, is in walking distance.
The local council has done a good job in recent years of tidying up Leyton’s shopping areas. In High Road, around Leyton Tube station, along Francis Road and in the Bakers Arms area — where the High Road, Hoe Street and Lea Bridge Road meet — upper storeys have been painted in bright colours and shop owners have been persuaded to forgo brash neon for more subtle painted signs. Other councils up and down the country have followed suit, using this idea as a blueprint for improving their own high streets.
David Beckham, Jonathan Ross and Graham Gooch — the former England football skipper, the TV personality and the ex-England cricket captain — all came into the world at Whipps Cross University Hospital, which has one of Britain’s busiest A&E departments.
Local estate agent Paul Leonard, of Bairstow Eves, says nine out of 10 of his buyers are from outside the area — in particular people priced out of Hackney and Stoke Newington who are searching for a home they can afford — and many are first-time buyers.
Leyton has roads of Victorian terrace houses and purpose-built flats, as well as some Thirties houses and council estates. The Francis Road area is popular, as the local shops are improving and the nearby primary school, Newport, is rated “outstanding” by the Ofsted education watchdog. The Capworth Street area will benefit from the reopening of Lea Bridge station in the spring, while the Barclay estate, off Essex Road, is close to Whipps Cross University Hospital and Leyton Sixth Form College.
Lettings manager Luke Parkinson, from Bairstow Eves, says houses for sharers in the Francis Road area get snapped up in a heartbeat.
“Our renters are mainly young professional sharers and young families who appreciate the easy access to the West End and the City,” he says. “For example, I recently rented a three-bedroom house to three primary school teachers.”
The Exchange is a development of 148 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats, including 36 affordable homes, in Leyton High Road. Six two- and three-bedroom flats remain in Brennan Apartments, the final phase, with prices starting at £335,000. The development will be completed by September. Call Bellway Homes on 0845 257 6177.
Leyton Central is a Tudorvale development of 87 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats in Ruckholt Road, designed by architects Stockwool, which launched on Saturday. Prices for the one-bedroom flats start at £350,000 and the development will be ready this summer. Call 020 7087 5634.
Housing association ISHA will have 13 shared-ownership flats at The Exchange available later this year, for occupation in February next year. Register an interest at www.isha.co.uk.
Leyton is in the E10 postcode area, but the area merges with Leytonstone, the E11 postcode, to the east.
The roads off Francis Road closest to the highly rated Newport primary school in Newport Road.
Up and coming
The Clementina estate — in the roads between Lea Bridge Road and Clementina Road — has Victorian purpose-built flats built by the renowned builder Warner. They will benefit from the reopening of Lea Bridge station in the spring — trains will run between Stratford and Tottenham Hale, serving this previously isolated corner.
Paul Leonard, of Bairstow Eves, says that Leyton is still home to many long-term traditional East End families who wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else. However, some people who have bought over the past four or five years have taken advantage of big price rises to move further out to a less urban environment.
Leyton Tube station is on the Central line, with trains to Stratford in two minutes and to Oxford Circus in 21 minutes. Leyton Midland Road, above, is on the Overground line linking Gospel Oak and Barking. Both stations are in Zone 3 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 costs £1,520.
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Shops and restaurants
Leyton Mills Retail Park, close to Leyton Tube station, has a large Asda, Next, TK Maxx and Currys/PC World. There are also shops and restaurants along most of the length of the High Road and near the Bakers Arms, along Lea Bridge Road and Hoe Street. Most of the shops are independent stores, but there is also a preponderance of betting shops.
On High Road, the Leyton Technical in the former town hall is the best local pub. Sahara Grill is a grill restaurant using halal meat, Deeney’s is a Scottish café with haggis on the menu, Five Lads is a peri-peri restaurant and takeaway, and Uptown Burger is a modern burger joint. Gyms Kitchen describes itself as “the UK’s first protein-based restaurant”, and Masak is a Malaysian restaurant. The Hornbeam on Hoe Street is a long-standing vegetarian restaurant.
The shops and restaurants along Francis Road have more of a village feel. Albert & Francis is the local coffee shop, Marmelo Kitchen is a popular local restaurant which sells its own preserves, and Yardarm is a recently arrived wine shop and bar.
The Northcote Arms in Grove Green Road serves wood-fired pizzas from Muga on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and gourmet burgers from We Serve Humans on Tuesdays.
Leyton is close to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The open spaces of Hackney Marshes and the Lea Valley are to the west, and Epping Forest to the east.
Coronation Gardens is a formal Victorian park on the High Road with a bandstand, pond, fountain and maze. Leyton Jubilee Park on Seymour Road has a pirate ship-themed play area, outdoor gym and football pitches.
Leisure and the arts
Leyton Orient — known locally as the Os — is the local football team. Based in Brisbane Road, the team plays in League Two.
There are cinemas in nearby Stratford and Walthamstow, and the nearest theatre is the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
There are two council-owned swimming pools: the Leyton Leisure Centre in the High Road, and the Leytonstone Leisure Centre in Cathall Road.
What the locals say on Twitter
@EdwynUK @deeneys is the best thing to happen to Leyton in a long time, great little café with fabulous staff and great toasties.
@ForestGreat The lovely @Marmelo_ Kitchen for the best roast pork belly.
@Bobbiebee33 @LeytonVillage lots going on — Muga pizza at The Northcote, Marmelos, Yardarm, Deeney’s. All new and all great.
@SusieHQ @Marmelo_Kitchen has great meat-free dishes, too.
@DA _E10 Café Lolita for great Spanish tapas, @LeytonTechnical (one of London’s best pubs), @OceanoLeyton, Anatolia for great Turkish food.
Leyton has one state primary school — Newport in Newport Street — judged to be “outstanding” by Ofsted. The following are judged to be “good”: St Joseph’s Junior RC (ages seven to 11) in Vicarage Road; St Joseph’s Infants RC (ages three to seven) in Marsh Lane; Mayville in Lincoln Street; Sybourn in Sybourn Street; Gwyn Jones in Hainault Road; and Barclay in Canterbury Road.
The following state secondary schools are judged to be “good”: Connaught School for Girls (ages 11 to 16) in Connaught Road; Norlington School for Boys (ages 11 to 18) in Norlington Road; and Lammas School and Sixth Form (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Seymour Road. Leyton Sixth Form College in Essex Road is also rated “good”. Chobham Academy (co-ed, ages three to 18) in Cheering Lane is an all-through school in the Olympic Park in Stratford that is rated “outstanding”.
The nearby borough of Redbridge has two grammar schools: Ilford County High for boys and Woodford County High for girls.
There are two private Muslim schools: Noor Ul Islam (co-ed, ages four to 11) in Dawlish Road and Lantern of Knowledge (boys,ages 10 to 16) in Lindley Road.
Forest School (co-ed, ages four to 18) in nearby Snaresbrook is a private school that operates the “diamond system”, with children taught in single-sex classes between the ages of 11 and 16.