Stratford is a district in East London that has undergone rapid regeneration and transformation in recent years. Located in the London Borough of Newham, Stratford is situated approximately 6 miles east of Central London. If you’re thinking of relocating to the UK capital, either short-term or longer-term, give Stratford, London E15 – not to be confused with Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, Shakespeare’s birthplace – a chance.
This is a buzzing urban area that has been experiencing a surge of new development, investment and infrastructure. As one London property expert points out, “regeneration in Stratford began in preparation for the London Olympics in 2012 and has continued ever since. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park remains an ideal venue for outdoor games, picnics or a walk in the fresh air, and the opening of Stratford City Westfield shopping centre has cemented the area’s position as a leisure destination.”
So what’s it like to live here? Let’s take a look at what you can expect to find.
Living in Stratford E15
Housing options here are diverse and plentiful, ranging from luxury high-rise apartments to affordable rented terraces and new housing association developments. Stratford neighbourhoods have seen a surge in new housing development, which has not only led to an increase in the population of Stratford but also contributed to making the area a more diverse and vibrant community.
With new apartment blocks springing up alongside converted warehouses and Victorian terraces, parts of Stratford have an industrial feel. But an influx of young professionals and families are also giving it a new sense of dynamism. East London’s skyline is changing at a rapid pace, and Stratford is at the very heart of this transformation. For those seeking an exciting place to live with culture, community and connectivity, Stratford ticks a lot of boxes at a lower cost of living than most London postcodes.
Overall, while upmarket developments have increased the profile of Stratford, there are still opportunities for those on low to middle incomes. New ‘build to rent’ developments, especially those with discounted rents or rent-to-buy options, are good options for new families. With more new housing in the pipeline, Stratford remains a relatively affordable place to live in London, whether you want luxury living or low-cost renting.
Travel and transport across London
Stratford has excellent transport connections, both within London and further afield. Stratford station is a major transport hub served by the Central, Jubilee, DLR and London Overground lines, as well as high-speed rail services on HS1 and the Stansted Express. From here, you can reach Central London in 7 minutes (10 minutes to Canary Wharf), and towns across Essex and the South East. Since the opening of the Elizabeth Line in 2022, journey times across London have become even shorter.
There are also plenty of bus services connecting Stratford to surrounding neighbourhoods in Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and the rest of East London and beyond.
Cycling infrastructure has been improved, with segregated cycle lanes and the Stratford section of the new Cycle Superhighway linking to central London. Santander docking stations make it easy to hire a bike near Stratford station or Westfield Stratford City.
With so many transport options, wherever you need to get to – locally, into central London or beyond, Stratford has fast efficient links to get you there. Its connectivity and easy access to the wider city and beyond is a major draw for people moving to the area, especially families and commuters. Add in parking restrictions and increasing traffic congestion, and its transport links make Stratford an ideal place to live car-free in London!
What is there to see and do?
Stratford has a wide range of amenities to cater for everyday living and leisure time for all ages and interests. Westfield Stratford City is a major retail hub with over 300 shops, 70 restaurants, a casino, a cinema, and a bowling alley. It’s the largest urban shopping centre in Europe with most major high street brands and department stores like the quintessentially English John Lewis store. Outside the mall, Stratford High Street has budget supermarkets, pound shops and market stalls for those who like bargain hunting.
There are cuisine options to suit every taste in Stratford. Westfield Stratford City has mainstream chains like Wagamama and Pizza Express. Outside the mall, Stratford is renowned for its street food. You’ll find traders selling everything from jerk chicken to paella, dumplings to doughnuts. You will find plenty of independent restaurants, especially on the High Street, Broadway and Meridian Square.
For entertainment, there’s Stratford East Picturehouse cinema, featuring mainstream, independent and cult films while Theatre Royal Stratford East is a historic venue that hosts major theatre productions, live music and comedy acts. Then there’s a casino, bowling alley and rooftop bar at Westfield Stratford City and several sports and leisure centres nearby including the London Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley VeloPark and Copper Box Arena.
Community and neighbourhood
Stratford has a strong, diverse community spirit with a thriving cultural scene expressed through its cultural events, venues and spaces that give opportunities to come together around shared interests in arts, performance, food and culture. The area’s diversity is its strength, with communities from across the world calling Stratford home. If you want to live in an up-and-coming London district with a real sense of community and personality, Stratford offers that in abundance.
With everything on your doorstep from major shopping outlets and hospitals to street food markets and community projects, Stratford has all the amenities you need for everyday living in London. Its abundance of services, combined with affordable rents, make it an ideal place for families, young professionals and shared living in the UK capital.