Published On: Sat, Apr 13th, 2024

Insanely pretty ‘village’ in huge UK city ‘feels like the Cotswolds’ | Travel News | Travel

A hidden gem in London offers an idyllic retreat reminiscent of a Cotswolds village amidst the urban sprawl. Tucked away from the hectic city life, this stunning neighbourhood in the borough of Redbridge is a breath of fresh air with its surrounding green spaces and parkland

Despite its proximity to central London, just a swift 10-minute journey on the Elizabeth line, the ‘village’ of Aldersbrook boasts tranquil residential streets lined with Edwardian architecture, making it a beloved haven for its residents.

Louis Cisse, a 22-year-old lifelong resident of Aldersbrook, praises his neighbourhood as offering the ‘best of both worlds’. He told MyLondon: “Aldersbrook is all I’ve ever known so I feel very lucky, maybe just recently. As I’ve grown up I’ve realised it really is the best of both worlds.

“It’s so easy to get into London, especially now with the Elizabeth line – and it’s so easy to be surrounded by nature. We’ve got Wanstead Park, Wanstead Flats, and Epping Forest is not far away at all. It’s a really nice, peaceful place to be.”

Longtime resident Louis expressed his love for Aldersbrook, from its connections to nature to the unparalleled peace it offers. He noted: “I would like to experience living in the city at some point in my life, but as far as settling somewhere, I would 100 per cent settle somewhere that’s like Aldersbrook – with the good travel links and the good links to nature.”

He further praised the tranquillity of Aldersbrook, adding: “It is really peaceful. We’ve got Aldersbrook Road that runs through it, but the minute you turn off that road, you go ten metres and you can’t hear anything. It’s lovely. We’ve always cycled everywhere too, so we can get into Wanstead really quickly where there’s access to pubs and shops on the high street.”

Lisa Smith, a 46-year-old resident of 16 years and aspiring chef, is also appreciative of the abundant green spaces surrounding Aldersbrook. She said: “The best thing about Aldersbrook is the local community, within Aldersbrook but also Wanstead which is just nearby, and the huge park on our doorstep which is part of Epping Forest. We visit the park every single day.”

Smith reiterated her fondness for the region’s green space and its impact on her family, adding: “I’ve lived here for 16 years and was pregnant with our first child when we moved in, so they’ve grown up using the park and have massively benefited from it, especially during the coronavirus lockdown. There’s always something new to find there, you never get bored of it. The park is a massive benefit to living here.

“The Elizabeth line also serves us really well, before that we had an overground train that we’d use all the time to get to Liverpool Street but now you can ride a couple of extra stops and you’re in Tottenham Court Road.”

She added: “I think with this area, you have a trade-off – you either choose to live in central Wanstead and have all the shops on your doorstep or you have the park here, and I’d always choose the park.

Lisa says that Aldersbrook has a great community spirit, which makes the area all the more wonderful to live in. She said: “During the pandemic, my neighbour and I leafleted the whole road just to check if there were any families that needed helping out, and from that, we created a road WhatsApp group which probably would’ve evolved anyway.

“I also have a little [outdoors] library, I’ve always wanted one. My son built it with his uncle and my daughter painted it. We started it off by putting books in it, but now people take from it and they can return if they want to, but they don’t have to. It’s really nice. There are about four or five little libraries around the estate.”

Carol Curtis, 67, has lived in Aldersbrook for 40 years and says the bluebells in Wanstead Park are the best in all of London. She told MyLondon: “We’ve got Wanstead Park with all the beautiful bluebells in the spring, and they’re actually thought to be the best in London. We also have Wanstead flats, but we even have the City of London’s Cemetery.”

“I often stroll through the cemetery on weekends. It’s a picturesque spot, complete with catacombs and beautifully maintained gardens teeming with flowers.

“The area is charming, but my concern is for the younger generation who may struggle to afford living here in the future, given that house prices have now soared past the £1 million mark.”

The average property price in the area currently stands at £735,774, with detached homes commanding an average of £1,302,500, according to Rightmove. The report also indicates a two per cent increase from last year and a 13 per cent rise since 2019.

Carol describes Aldersbrook as a close-knit community where residents extend their support to each other during challenging times. She shared: “The community is generous. We’ve got three or four free book swaps around the estate. There are around five or six of us on the estate that have a bin where people donate food to ‘tin in a bin’, and then twice a week we sort the tins and hand it to organisations who then hand it to those in need.”

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