Shopping the high street in central London is often more trouble than it’s worth. Between the packed pavements, long queues, and lengthy strolls from store to store, it’s not always an appealing premise. What’s a Londoner seeking retail therapy to do?
A day trip to Westfield Mall Stratford, East London, is just the ticket. The shopping centre, newly opened two years ago, is one of the largest in Europe, with over 300 boutiques and 70 restaurants. That means there’s room to move in here, though you won’t have to worry about lugging armfuls of bags around with you. With Zipcar, you can pop out to the car park and stow away your steals (Zipcar Henrik is an excellent choice for shopping mavens, given its extra boot space).
Whether you’re planning an all-day shopping extravaganza or looking to hit a few key spots, Zipcar makes the journey hassle-free. What’s more, there’s plenty to do in the surrounding area post-retail session.
Located just three miles away, Crate offers a perfect environment for casual lunchtime lounging. Built in a refurbished warehouse, the venue boasts big windows and high ceilings, and on sunny days offers canal-side lounging. The menu, packed full of artisanal pizzas, is positively mouth-watering. Try the Margherita for a classic option, or the Sage & Truffle for something a little different.
Those seeking an upscale shopping break should head to Michelin-starred Viajante in nearby Bethnal Green, whose weekend lunches are available in six- or nine-course iterations. Led by Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes, the food here is wildly inventive and deeply satisfying.
Another interesting local sight is Sutton House, a quick 12-minute drive up the A12 to Homerton. Built in 1535 for Henry VIII’s first secretary of state, this Tudor-era landmark offers a fascinating glimpse into East London’s past. Complete with oak-panelled walls, carved fireplaces, a hidden garden, and other furnishings of the era, Sutton House is one of Hackney’s best-kept secrets.
So next time you’re anxious to treat yourself to a healthy dose of retail therapy, don’t be put off by the idea of high street shopping. With Zipcar, it’s simple to fit in a day of browsing around Westfield Mall Stratford, along with some cultural education, too.