Not to be confused with midlands town once home to playwright Shakespeare, London’s Stratford is a cosmopolitan, buzzing shopping hub which is now a popular destination for locals and visitors. It was revamped ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games – which added several landmarks to the town including the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and London Aquatics Centre. The 114.5 metre high ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture is perhaps the most famous addition to the town, built from bright red steel. It is the tallest sculpture in the UK – featuring a slide within for thrill-seekers to whizz down.
There’s plenty on the menu for foodies – with bars, cafes and restaurants throughout the town offering a mix of cuisines. Visitors can head up for a drink with a view at Roof East, Stratford’s unique open-top cinema and bar, or grab a bite to eat at The Sawmill, its trendy independent café and coffee shop. Meanwhile the King Edward VII pub (locally known as the King Eddie) serves crisp, cold pints of craft beer and snacks within walking distance of the Olympic Park.
Stratford is simply heaven for shoppers – its Westfield Stratford City is home to over 250 stores including fashion favourites and home and lifestyle stores. It also boasts 70 restaurants and a cinema complex. If shopping isn’t your thing the nearby River Lea is a haven of calm and tranquillity for nature lovers - keen wildlife spotters may even catch a glimpse of an otter on its shores. Thanks to its central location Stratford can be reached via tube, train, bus and road.