Area Guide: Tottenham Hale

Artists swapping ideas around Makefield Park. Match day before craft brews. Walk along the multicultural High Road or follow trails across wild marshes. The Gessner’s near it all. Hop on a train and you’ll be in central London in 15.

To Do

The Sir David Adjaye-designed Bernie Grant Arts Centre puts diverse talent centre stage; its programme is crammed with local theatre, new music, exhibitions, talks, dance performances, comedy, workshops and more. When you’re booking tickets, factor in time for a pre-show dinner at its multicoloured bar and restaurant. And order the curried goat.

Closer to home, get involved at community garden (and former engineering depot) Grow Tottenham on Ashley Road. There’s a wildflower meadow, micro allotments and kitchen garden, as well as social-enterprise café Pluma. A great spot for freelancers. Come evening, the space blossoms into a buzzy bar. Profits all go back into the garden.

For more wild nature fix, head east to Tottenham Marshes, The Paddock Community Nature Park and Walthamstow Wetlands crisscrossed by waterways. Follow the Touchstones Trail – the most scenic route between the reservoirs – to spot art installations and wild birds wading between the reedbeds. And a few rare bats at dusk.

To Shop

It's easy to shop local around here. Browse indie businesses along the High Road or in creative Gaunson House. High-street homewares just don't look the same after you've seen the mid-century furniture, sculptural ceramics and dried flowers at Piquant. For a who’s who of N17’s up-and-coming designer-makers, check the calendar of Crafty NoLo Markets.

Stock up on seasonal bouquets, macramé hangers and DIY terrarium kits at floral studio Borrowed Light. Owners Sarah and Claudia hope their sustainable practices to make the floristry industry a little greener. Drop into the nearby Engine House in Walthamstow Wetlands to find a smaller edit of their houseplants alongside nature-inspired knick-knacks and BEE17’s sustainable Walthamstow honey.

If you’re looking to fill your pantry, we suggest Holcombe Market at Bruce Grove Station. For the shopping list: Hall’s Greengrocers, Thompson’s Seafood and Prestige Patisserie. Or head into town for selection boards from urban cheesmaker Wildes Cheese and coffee-shop-meets-deli Table 13. Its focaccia is life-changing, as are the low-interventionist, women-led labels from Emile Wines.

To Drink

Start your morning at Craving Coffee, set up by locals Matt and Rachel Ho in 2014. Grab a flat white to do the rounds at Markfield Park, or grab a pastry and stay to browse the in-house exhibitions. (P.S. Evenings at Craving are just as good – think intimate gigs, pop-ups peddling Asian-fusion street food and plenty of cocktails.)

Take a craft beer wrapped in a graphic label, put it on a table creaking with street food in an industrial estate, and you’ve set the scene for a typical Tottenham weekend. We’ve got microbreweries on tap here –the best (and closest to home) is Beavertown, a Hackney Wick export that draws punters with Neck Oil IPA, gigs and meet-the-brewer events.

Late nights are for The Cause. Think Berlin warehouse party and you’re close – except that proceeds go to mental-health charities. Beforehand, try Costa del Tottenham, The Cause’s outdoor sister venue where street-food stands from People’s Burger and Club Mexicana are often accompanied by cabaret from queer nightclub, Adonis.

To Eat

Chuku’s is London’s first and only Nigerian tapas restaurant – run by brother and sister Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick – pairing pop-art interiors with culinary credentials that include the Young British Foodie Awards and a sell-out residency at Somerset House. Sweet okra, yam dumplings, caramel kuli kuli chicken wings and plantain waffles is the order.

LOVENPresents and True Craft are go-tos for leopard-spotted, Neapolitan-style, sourdough pizza – the former served in The Cove artspace, the latter in a revamped Victorian pub with an adjoining bottle shop. Take note of the beer pairings on the menu when you order. Both deliver, if you fancy your slice back at home.

Tottenham’s best Sunday roast is served at The High Cross. Its history (as a former 1920s public toilet) is no indication of its present: come here for old-school pub grub, done really well. They’ve got all the classics on its blackboard-scrawled menu of belly pork, nut roasts and feather-light Yorkshire puddings.

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