More London Neighborhoods
Newham is one of the six host boroughs for summer 2012's London Olympics. It is one of the bigger London boroughs and also one of the poorest. Its local authority is the second poorest in England and it has one of the highest ethnic minority populations and young populations in the country. It's partly for these reasons that it's a very vibrant borough, not as cool and hipster as its western neighbour Hackney, but it's got some great things to see, and for people who want to get a little bit off the tourist trail or are interested in hanging out around the Olympic park (whether or not the games are actually taking place whilst you are there) Newham has a lot to offer. A Victorian sewage works and pumping station can be viewed from the Greenway, one of the capital's new roads in to the park. Green Street with its high south asian population is THE place to go for great curries and more, and, there's Westfield - Stratford, Europe's largest shopping centre. With great transport links to the rest of London and out East to Cambridge, Norfolk and the East Coast, this borough has a lot going for it, and definitely deserves a visit.
See & Do
West Ham Football Club's ground at Upton Park is just at the end of Green Street in the London Borough of Newham. West Ham are a real local team, with a chequered career in the UK's premier league. They've just been promoted again to the Premiership and are hoping to move their ground from their historic site of Upton Park, to the new Olympic park once the games are over. They were founded back in 1895 as the Thames Ironworks team which makes them one of the older teams in the Premiership. They became West Ham United in 1900. In the 1960s, three of their players, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were considered to be crucial to winning England's only world cup victory, against Germany, in the 1966 world cup. They're known as the Hammers because of the crossed pair of rivet hammers which forms their crest; the hammers were common in the ship building and ironworks industry which provided the original players and fans, from the nearby Docklands.
Green Street in Newham is not just restaurants, you can also shop there too, buy saris jewellery, furniture and just about anything else you can think of, especially if it's from the sub continent. But food is certainly what this street showcases very well. Up and down Green Street you can choose from quick grills, street food type stalls, bakeries, ice cream parlours and of course all types of curry houses. Choose one where they make the naans in front of you, Like Margalla Grill and is looking busy that day and you can't go wrong. A mango lassi, some saag, chaana daal and rice and you're good to go, or sit, and soak up the atmosphere. West Ham Football Ground is just at the end of the street too if you fancy some football before or after your meal. If you're not in the mood for curry, another large community in Newham, the Caribbean community do some great restaurants and takeaways, try Caribbean Scene just near Stratford Station for either eat in or take away.
The rapper Plan B hails from Newham, and his new album and film Ill Manors is shot in and around the place. HIs gritty raps portray the life and nightlife of the borough pretty accurately. That said, there are plenty of pubs in the borough to entertain you, a great independent cinema (Stratford Picture house), in addition to the blockbuster cinemas in the shopping centre, and quite a few nightclubs scattered around the place. East London University and Queen Mary and Westfield have campuses nearby so offers and student nights abound as do more specialist clubs catering to different communities and music. The Stratford Royal theatre has some great productions all year round and a very friendly bar which does food and drinks in thespian inspired plush velvet cosiness.
Stratford, in the borough of Newham is right on top of the new Olympic site. This part of town, has been the site of the biggest building boom in the capital since the eighties. Loads of new hotels and appartments have been created for the Olympics and beyond in this part of town, and although it's a few miles from the centre of London, fast train, tube and bus connections speed you in to the centre or right across to the other side of London in minutes. There have been complaints about landlords pushing up the rent to cash in on the Olympic buzz this summer, and hotels and appartments in this part of town expect to be in great demand, but there are still some rooms to rent, not least in the gap in between the Olympics and para Olympics so it's worth checking out the list of hotels in Newham to see what you find.
Westfield Stratford City is Europe's largest shopping centre. It compliments its sister shopping centre, Westfield at the other end of the Central Line in Shepherd's Bush. There's a John Lewis, a Marks and Spencers and just about every other high street store you could wish for. Large food courts and some lovely speciality food outlets mean that you could literally spend all day here without leaving the centre's warm, if busy embrace. Right by Stratford rail, tube and bus station, this shopping centre has fast connections to the rest of London and concentrates most of the shops you'd see on Oxford Street, or Kensington High Street in a more tiered space. TUBE: Stratford