Newham

Living in The London Borough of Newham

Transformed by the 2012 Olympics, this North East London borough is rapidly becoming popular with young professionals looking for slick apartments, great retail opportunities and a swift commute. So what's it really like to live in Newham?

“In the run up to 2012, a vast array of investment and employment opportunities flooded Newham, and Stratford quickly became known as an East London hotspot”

Moving to Newham

In the run up to 2012, a vast array of investment and employment opportunities flooded the borough, and Stratford quickly became known as an East London hotspot for retail, dining, and slick new city apartments. Now home to the London Aquatics Centre, the London Olympic Stadium and Queen Elizabeth’s Park among others, as well as being the historic home of Premier League football team West Ham, Newnham has seen visitors and new residents arrive in droves to enjoy these sporting facilities. Beyond sporting prowess, the borough has also invested in retail and business, with the domineering presence of Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre at the heart of Stratford, one of the largest urban shopping malls in Europe, as well as the ExCel Arena, which plays hosts to huge conferences, exhibitions and events throughout the year.

However, despite the myriad of positive improvements, the borough does still suffer from much deprivation. Newham has the second highest child poverty rate in the capital at 41%, as well as high levels of unemployment, low paid residents, overcrowding and pay inequality. It also has some of the highest crime rates in the capital, particularly for knife crimes. The council are continuing to improve the borough, with plans for affordable housing and better facilities for low-income communities a priority. Newham’s highest scoring Locality Reality postcode is E20 1FT hitting the 9.5 mark on Olympic Park Avenue.

House Prices in Newham

Newham is one of the most affordable boroughs in the capital, second only to Bexley and Barking & Dagenham. The average property price here is around £360,000 as of 2017, significantly lower than the London average. Throughout the borough a wide range of properties can be found, from Victorian terraces to pristine new apartment developments, with those in Stratford particularly popular with young professionals employed in Canary Wharf.

“Newham is home to one of the best dining scenes in London’s North East, particularly for young professionals in the borough looking to eat out on the weekends”

Travelling from Newham

Newham is extremely well-connected, with the Hammersmith & City, District and Jubilee Underground lines all in operation in the area alongside the DLR, allowing commuters a hassle-free trip into the City, Canary Wharf and beyond – from West Ham, a trip to Canary Wharf takes a mere 5 minutes.

The Emirates Air Line is also available, connecting locals from Emirates Royal Docks to North Greenwich, as is the London Overground and National Rail services. Alternatively, if you need to get somewhere a little further than London, London City Airport is also on the DLR for all your international travel needs.

Restaurants in Newham

Newham is home to one of the best dining scenes in London’s North East, particularly for young professionals in the borough looking to eat out on the weekends. Branches of many beloved high-street chains can be found in Stratford, including Wagamama, Jamie’s Italian and Pizza Express, as well as some excellent independent eateries such as Dar Marrakech, Fish House and Eastern Palace. A culturally diverse borough since the Second World War, Newham supports a range of different communities and as a result is top spot for finding authentic Indian, Bangladeshi and Caribbean cuisine – Vijay’s Chawalla on Green Street and Caribbean Scene at Victoria Dock are two popular options.

Retail therapy in Newham is also unrivalled by surrounding North Eastern boroughs, due to the presence of Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre, an oasis for retail addicts with 280 shops and 70 restaurants spread across nearly 2,000,000 square feet of space.  Flagship stores include John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, while everything from designer boutiques such as Breitling, Mulberry and The Kooples to technology brands Apple and Bose can be found. Additional features include a Vue Cinema, two hotels, a bowling alley and a 24-hour casino.

Groceries

For residents who’d rather eat in than dine out, the borough has superb selection of supermarkets with all the major names such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons represented, many of which offer both small and superstore branches. Independent grocers offering a wide range of international foods can also be found, including Green Street Supermarket on Green Street and Karadeniz Supermarket on Plaistow Road.

Gyms in Newham

Branches of many national sports and fitness chains are located in Newham, including easyGym, Gymbox and Fitness 4 Less. Good council-run services are also present throughout the borough, such as Atherton Leisure Centre, Manor Park Fitness Centre and Balaam Leisure Centre, as well as specialist studios for yoga, pilates, Crossfit and more.

In addition, as a result of the 2012 London Olympics the borough is home to some of the capitals finest facilities including the London Aquatic Centre and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Culture

For residents seeking an active social life, it’s not just in restaurants and retail that Newham excels – the borough also has some vibrant cultural spots. Theatre Royal Stratford East and Stratford Circus Arts Centre are two excellent venues showcasing a range of performances in comedy, dance, drama and musicals, while for cinephiles the Vue Cinema, Showcase Cinema and Boleyn Cinema show everything from Bollywood classics to Hollywood hits. 

Looking for a day out with the family? Newham City Farm is one of the capital’s oldest city farms and offers children the chance to encounter farmyard favourites including cows, horses, sheep and rabbits. For something a little more historic, the Grade I listed House Mill holds regular events, exhibitions and concerts, whilst down at Victoria Dock ExCel London has a jam-packed schedule of events and conferences all year round.

“Newham offers parents a good selection of schools across the borough for both primary and secondary aged children”

Schools and Education in Newham

Newham offers parents a good selection of schools across the borough for both primary and secondary aged children. St Edward’s Catholic Primary School, St Helen’s RC Primary School and Keir Hardie Primary School are among the best choices for young ones, with over 97% of pupils achieving expected levels in English and Maths. Meanwhile, the best secondary schools in the borough include St Bonaventure’s RC School, Plashet School and St Angela’s Ursuline School.

Safety in Newham

Newham is among the least safe boroughs in London, with an average crime rate of 120 crimes per 1000 people as of 2012  – significantly higher than the London average, and nearly double the national average. However, crime rates have improved in the borough year-on-year since 2005, and continue to fall.

Green Spaces in Newham

Newham is not a particularly green borough, although it does have over 20 parks and recreation grounds scattered throughout the borough. At 77 acres, West Ham Park in Plaistow is the largest green space in the area and offers facilities including a botanical garden, athletics track and tennis courts. Beckon District Park North is another renowned park, where you’ll find a large lake, natural woodlands and a car park for visitors.

History

While the East End was coming alive in the early 1800s, the area we now know as the London Borough of Newham was still an oasis of rural calm outside the city. That is, until the Royal Docks were built in the 1850s, and the area was rapidly transformed by a wave of immigration as workers flocked to the area to work on the largest docks in the world. Bombing in the Second World War devastated parts of the area, and as industry declined the prospects of this briefly prosperous borough looked poor. Deprivation, neglect and poverty hit hard and Newham was largely forgotten until the 2012 Olympics arrived, transforming the borough once again and kicking off a series of regeneration schemes that continue today.

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