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Bow area guide

Bow Area Info | E3

Area Guide

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Bow Area Info

Bow Area Info

Located in the Borough of Tower Hamlets and within walking and cycling distance of the city, central London and Canary Wharf, Bow was the original home of the 'Cockney'. Today, however, it is a young, lively and multicultural area that first emerged as a desirable place to live following the development of Canary Wharf and Docklands in the late 80s. The arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2012 has further cemented its appeal while another big draw are the wonderful waterways that encircle this area. These include the Regent’s Canal, the Hertford Union Canal and the Limehouse Cut, while at Bow’s north-east borders are the backwaters of the River Lea.

For green space, Victoria Park is just on the other side of the Hertford Union Canal, and is one of London’s most historic and oldest public parks. It boast a café, boating and fishing lakes, rose garden, bowling green, tennis court, children’s water play feature and playground as well as having an active Victorian bandstand!

Affluent young professionals and creatives are moving into the new apartment complexes and warehouses-turned-lofts, creating a mixed population with the working class families and students already living here. Georgian townhouses and cottages on quiet, tree-lined streets attract families while refurbished council estates provide more affordable housing options.

Transport links are good in Bow, with Bow Road and Bromley-by-Bow stations both on the Hammersmith & City and District Lines and affording easy access into central London and the city. Nearby Mile End, meanwhile, is on the Central line if required.

Schools in Bow include Old Palace Primary School, which has an outstanding Ofsted rating, and Bow School, a co-educational secondary that is rated good.

Things To Do In Bow

Ever-changing Roman Road plays host to a traditional East End street market three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), famed for its affordable fashion, delicious street food and quality home ware. Then there’s the dozens of independent stores, cafes and restaurants that line the Roman Road, perfect for enjoying a coffee or light bite. We recommend Zealand Café, a fantastic place to get your caffeine fix and which also serves a banging breakfast, brunch and lunch. For something more substantial, you can’t beat traditional pie and mash, something that G Kelly has been dishing up to hungry locals for more than 80 years.

For more posh nosh, a selection of restaurants and gastro pubs can be found in Victoria Park Village, Westfield and Canary Wharf. The Morgan Arms is one of our favourites, where the kitchen takes pub grub to dizzy new heights, serving delicious risottos, flavour-packed pies and such scrumptious burgers it’s impossible not to clean your plate. Similarly at The Empress over on Lauriston Road, which prides itself on sourcing most of its product locally and where the menu never fails to delight and surprise.


508 Roman Road
E3 5LU
020 8102 1236

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History of Bow

Originally known as Stratford, 'Bow' is an abbreviation of Stratford-atte-Bow, with 'Bow' drawing reference to a bridge built in the early 12th century.

Stratford was first recorded as a settlement in 1177, the name derived from its Old English meaning of paved way to a ford. The ford originally lay on a pre-Roman trackway at Old Ford about 600 metres to the North. When the Romans decided on Colchester as the initial capital for their occupation, the road was upgraded to run from the area of London Bridge, as one of the first paved Roman roads in Britain. The 'paved way' is likely to refer to the presence of a stone causeway across the marshes, which formed a part of the crossing.

Bow formed a part of the medieval parish of Stepney until becoming an independent parish in 1719. The parish vestry then undertook this responsibility until a rising population created the need for the poplar board of Works in 1855. This was superseded by the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar in 1900 until it was absorbed into the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in 1965

Roman Road Market
Roman Road Market

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