The role call of Chingford’s notables is impressive in an awful kind of way. Starting well with Leslie Phillips, it quickly descends from David Beckham, to Teddy Sheringham, to Samantha Fox, to Daniella Westbrook, to Blazin’ Squad. It’s redolent of the character of the place – situated on London’s very edge and bordering Epping Forest, Chingford should by rights be a classy-ish, monied ‘burb, a la Loughton or Woodford. And parts of it fit into that category, with Station Road extending off into the Forest past restaurants that spill onto the gazebo-covered pavement, and olde buildings and the station. But the bulk of Chingford centres around Chingford Mount Road and Hall Lane, less affluent in appearance at least, and generally deeply tacky.
The appearance of four charity shops does little to bypass the hordes of loud women, their screeching reminding us that though this is Greater London, though this has an E postcode, Chingford is Essex through and through, and no region plays to its stereotypes more than Essex. We’ve three chain stores here, Barnardo’s, Cancer Research and Sense doing little more than average. The one to look out for is the Haven House shop, which aside from its bizarre one way system of navigation (all baskets of produce on the floor like stacked tyres at a racetrack) has a decent enough pile of odds and ends, and books stacked several deep at points.
I find little to recommend in this part of Chingford, and while the northern part of the area seems more pleasant, situated in close proximity to Connaught Water and the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, Chingford proper is just… grim.
Find: Chingford @ Google Maps
Transport: Chingford Station is actually a trek from the main bit, so there’s little alternative but buses
Consume with: Um, Greggs?
Visit: Head out to the forest would be the best bet.
Overall Rating: two egg slicers