East Village Market, Stratford

On any weekend I stay clear of Stratford.  I associate it with Westfield and of course come the weekend the shopping centre is just heaving with people, and visiting becomes a tedious experience with children.  Even if it’s just for lunch.  If you’ve ever been yourself at a weekend you’ll know what I mean.

However a few minutes walk away from the shopping centre you’ll find East Village London, the former Olympic athletes village for the 2012 games.  

There are lots of pedestrian signs to help you navigate your way there.  Or you can park for free just off of Sunrise Close after 10.30am.

On a Sunday this little hidden gem in London is bustling with activity that’ll not only keep you entertained, but it’s also somewhere perfect to bring the kids.  It’s the perfect parent’s playground.  

That’s a win win situation.

In the mornings CBeebies (the holy grail of parenting) is played on a large big screen, making it the perfect time to grab a takeaway coffee from one of the independent cafes.  Chilling-out outdoors is by far a better Sunday morning ritual than the monotony of being at home… again.

With a DJ spinning tunes, wandering around the market brings a festival like familiarity.  You can relax back into one of the many large bean bags strewn across the bank just behind the market set up and watch as the traders start to display their wares.  Or make sure you’re first in line for some fresh Vietnamese street food.

In the distance you can see Stratford’s skyline slowly being built up, which is the reminder that you’re still in the city.  But in yourself you’ll feel a million miles away.

With costumed characters wandering around the kids will be excitedly looking out for what they’ll see next.

There are multiple ping-pong tables to be played on, and large floor games for any age to enjoy.

Yes these are all free things that are available for you and your kids every Sunday at East Village Market.

The most exciting part of our recent visit to the East Village was being able to absorb ourselves in the story of Hobgrumble Joe of the Waterglades.

We picked up a free family story map and set off on an adventure around the water glades trying to search for the swamp troll created by Anja Phoenix.

We were lucky that we had Anja with us to bring the story to life for the little adventurers, but the map itself is full of information, hand drawn illustrations and the story of Hobgrumble Joe, that any parent would be able to create the same excitement for their own children.

It’s the perfect way to get your children enjoying the outdoors whilst having fun and it not costing a penny.

Well that is unless you’re tempted into one of the many restaurants or cafes in the area… and I wouldn’t blame you.

Signorelli, which is where you can pick up the free story map serves the most beautiful nutritious baked goods and perfect coffees.

While the Fish House serve large portions of crispy battered fish and chips, and Ginger and Mint is perfect if you need something to kick-start your healthy eating regime (again).

Or to treat the kids and yourselves after doing the Hobgrumble Joe trail, head to award-winning LaGelatiera.  With gelato and sorbet flavours changing with the season you’ll have an excuse to frequent it… you must try their honey, rosemary and orange zest gelato.

The area is beautiful, and there’s so much to do and explore- much more than I’ve even managed to say or see myself.  If you find yourselves with a free Sunday I highly recommend taking a trip on the central or Jubilee line to visit for the day.  It’s certainly worth it and should be a highlight on the map of free things to do with your children in London.

 

thelondonmum

42 Comments

  1. ?Great post! I’m always looking for new and preferably free activities to do in London! ?Glad that they provide free parking on Sundays. Do you know if dogs are allowed?

    Fatima | http://www.blogsbyfa.com

    • Of course, other than the restaurants and cafes it’s all outdoors… saying that even the restaurants and cafes have outdoor seating so you’d have no problem at all. xx

  2. I never knew about this before, it is such a great place to visit when you have children. And it looks like you all had a great time x

  3. I never knew about this place! Stratford is pretty easy for us to get to on the Jubilee line, but like you, I normally think of Westfield and avoid it. Great tips of where to visit.

    • it’s not crazy busy either, just busy enough to have great atmosphere but not so busy that you have to stand in a queue for hours waiting to sit in a restaurant to get lunch (the pitfall of westfield)!

    • I do think cities try a bit harder to keep kids entertained and in that sense we’re lucky.

  4. Looks like a great time was had by one-n-all LondonMum – good job you had the guys with you to look after you ha. Sounds like a great weekend activities place to make the most of – until that dreaded word … “shopping” – urrgh (‘wot’ that ‘orrible word ‘duz’ to the mere male! … you girls have a lot to answer for haha.) Looks like Cupid’s struck early for LittleLondon eh?? – bet he’s been lined up for shopping squad duty – poor little guy – there’s no escape! Obviously, the LondonMum now has glorious radiant competition from not only her little Prince Charming but from her BabyLondon sparkler an’all? She’s an absolute little heart-breaking ‘cracker’ – I wonder who they both inherit their glowing looks off?? – bet I know what baby ‘sparklers’ first word’ll be … “SHOPPING.” (gulp.) Gotta go, somebody’s rushed off her ‘last 2 big recitals’ recording hooves before Lucy & I celebrate an anniversary – eagle’ll be en-route when recitals’re finished … it’ll make you C~R~I~N~G~E ha! Bet I know how I’ll be ‘celebrating (?)’ our anniversary – “SHOPPING!!!” haha. Hope all’s well … onwards LondonMum.

    • That’s a shame, if you ever find yourself east though make sure to check it out!

  5. What a lovely post. What a great way to entertain the smalls without it costing a thing, love it and such beautiful shots

  6. Wow it really should be more known as a great free thing to do. I lived in london and never knew.

    • The kids will love it!!! And it’s so refreshing to not be paying for everything just to keep them entertained!

  7. This looks like a great place for a day out. I never knew about it and I will certainly keep it in mind. X

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