London is a majestic city with many things to do; however, there’s more to London than the mainstream attractions in the city centre. There are many hidden gems in London that are great additions to any holiday plan and discovering them can be a real treat indeed.
For an exciting and cultural holiday experience head to Greet Street in the London Borough of Newham based in the East End. Here are some top things to try, see, and do in Green Street and after reading this, you will be eager to visit it.
A long road separating East Ham from West Ham (the two districts which form Newham), Green Street starts at Barking Road, E6, and goes all the way to Romford Road, E7. The north side of Green Street is located in the district of Forest Gate while the southern part is in Upton Park.
Green Street is known worldwide as the home to West Ham United Football Club (which was originally Thames Ironworks Football Club) from 1904 until 2016 when they moved not too far away to the former Olympic Stadium used for the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
The original stadium located on Greet Street was called the Boleyn Stadium, named after a building that once existed in the area called Boleyn Castle, or Green Street House, which is believed to be the house of Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn (it’s sort of a local legend with no historical evidence to support this claim and the Boleyn Castle has long been demolished after being left in disrepair).
In 1931, Mahatma Gandhi visited London and spent some time in Green Street where he befriended the founder of West Ham F.C., Arnold Hills, also they both promoted vegetarianism!
There are no shortage of places to shop on Green Street and the most common reason why people go there is South Asian clothing. Everything from South Asian bridal wear like lehengas and saris, to everyday Asian clothes like the shalwar kameez; Green Street has them in all different styles and colours.
Green Street isn’t just famous for all the exquisite dresses that can be bought there but are also popular for Indian gold jewellery, and although can be worn anywhere, is a traditional part of South Asian weddings where the bride normally wears gold to compliment her dress. Unlike traditional English weddings where the bride wears white and the groom wears a suit, in South Asian weddings, the bride wears bright colours with lots of gold jewellery and the groom normally wears an intricately designed suit like a kurta. Why not pick up a few colourful bangles as a reminder of your trip, for a more exotic twist on the classic London souvenir?
The East Mall located on Green Street is Europe’s first purpose-built boutique South Asian shopping mall. There are two floors; the ground floor consists of bridal wear shops and the East Mall market where perfumes, clothes, sweets, toys, and many other items can be purchased. The second floor is the food court with restaurants, cafes, and ice-cream parlours that all have a shared seating area; everything from Indian, Lebanese, and grilled peri-peri chicken and be bought here.
Another notable place to visit on Green Street is Queen’s Market conveniently located just outside the Upton Park tube station. Queen’s Market is a historic market that dates back to the Victorian era when clothes and vegetables were sold there by Jewish traders from Whitechapel, also in the East End. The modern Queen’s Market has a roof that covers it and shops constructed inside but it is still famous for the “£1 a bowl” fruit and vegetables that can’t be found anywhere else.
Queens’s Market, which is very ethnically diverse, is a combination of permanent shops and ever-changing stalls; the shops sell everything from Afro-Caribbean and South Asian food, spices, and clothes can be bought. Some shops supply afro hair products as well as barbers, hair-dressers, and salons catering for both men and women.
There are also some butcher shops offering halal meat and shops that specialise in fresh and frozen fish; in fact, it was here that Muhammad Shahid Nazir came to fame as the much loved “£1 Fish Man” whose song, originally sung to attract customers, went viral and ended up with him getting a record deal with Warner Music.
The stalls in Queen’s Market sell bowls of fruit and vegetables every day of the week but it’s on Sundays that the real fun kicks off. On Sunday, temporary stalls can be hired and all sorts of goods can be purchased from electronics and ornaments to shoes and even underwear.
Green Street does not lack at all in the food department so prepare yourself for a culinary adventure to excite your taste buds. There are many South Asian restaurants on Green Street offering traditional dishes like Biriyani and a whole range of authentic curries. There is also a halal KFC and a halal Subway on Green Street, two popular eateries that also cater to the many Muslims in the surrounding area as well as anyone else who wants to grab a quick bite to eat.
Speaking of which, if you are looking for something cheap to grab and eat on the go, there are many South Asian street food vendors all across Green Street offering inexpensive but tasty snacks and treats, Pani puri, samosas, and seekh kebabs are much-loved favourites.
Green Street has many places to park making it easily accessible by car. Upton Park tube station on the District Line is located on the south side of Green Street and many buses run through it (check the TFL website for more details on buses and timings).
Forest gate Rail Station is a 20-minute walk from the north side of Green Street and this route can add to the experience, nearby Woodgrange Road, Romford Road (one side leads to Stratford and the other to Ilford), and Upton Lane are all dotted with shops and places to eat (Woodgrange Road has another Halal KFC!).