10 reasons to live in Tower Hamlets
Home to London's financial centre and a melting pot of cultures, Tower Hamlets is one of the most diverse boroughs in the capital. Our Local editor Gulnora thinks it's the best place in London for families, and she explains why in her 10 reasons to live in Tower Hamlets...
1. Things about the area
Traditionally a vibrant working class area and home to London's dock workers, Tower Hamlets is modernising and blooming into one of the great family-friendly areas of London.
One of the best things in Tower Hamlets is the amazing sense of community amongst our wonderfully ethnically diverse population, with friendly, low-cost or free baby and toddler groups in libraries and childen's centres and many classes for all ages.
"The green spaces, the history, and the sense of community." MileEndMummy
2. Child-friendly cafés
Café Forever has a Tower Hamlets Silver Award for healthy eating and it offers free fast wireless internet, various toys and activities for kids. It hosts singing groups for 25 mums and kids on particular days of the week.
Paper and Cup is a lovely place to visit with your kids where you can enjoy delicious homemade cakes, snacks and hot meals. They even have free babyccinos for the little ones while you treat yourself to the perfect coffee made by their skilled baristas!
If you don't fancy sampling the delights of the many bars and pubs, there is an abundance of different cuisines available in the various restaurants in Canary Wharf and Bethnal Green.
Maedah Grill and Tasfirin are highly recommended restaurants in Whitechapel and Bethnal Green, where you can enjoy a fresh and delicious Turkish meal with lots of salad. Alternatively, head out to one of our theatres and cinemas.
4. Outside spaces
We are lucky to have a lot of parks and gardens across the borough.
Victoria Park is the second largest Royal Park in London and hosts a variety of activities and events throughout the year, including Park Day, Lovebox, Open-air music festivals and much more. It is very popular with children and is host to a One O'Clock Club for under-fives and a programme of summer activities and a children's play park.
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, one of London's 'Magnificent Seven' cemeteries, is the borough's only dedicated woodland park and a wildlife haven.
SpitalfieldsMusic says: "We recommend Arnold Circus. The Boundary Estate has such a vibrant history, it always looks picturesque, and there's often live music in the bandstand!"
5. Hidden gems
V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is an amazing place to visit for adults and children alike. With free admission, it is very well laid out and there are interactive displays for the children and nostalgic memorabilia for adults.
Average semi-detached house price
Tower Hamlets: £648,000
Average class size for primary schools
Tower Hamlets: 27.7
UK: 25.9 pupils
Tower Hamlets: £29,550
Tower Hamlets: 13%
Wilton's Music Hall (The City's Hidden Stage) is the world's oldest surviving Music Hall and London's best-kept secret. After being awarded a grant last year to preserve the building, the music hall opened its doors for visitors.
6. Community venues
Tower Hamlets is well served by its 14 Children's Centres where local families benefit from various free sessions, courses, fun activities and events throughout the year.
We have Idea stores and libraries spread all around the borough, which are much more than just a library - they also offer a wide range of learning courses and extensive programmes of activities and events for all ages.
7. Free visitor attractions
We have three wonderful museums in Tower Hamlets.
The Museum of London Docklands in Canary Wharf is a great place to take the whole family. The 200-year-old warehouse displays the long history of the capital, from Roman settlement to the development of Canary Wharf. The museum hosts a wide range of family events during school holidays and weekends.
With beautiful galleries, exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources and inspiring art courses, the Whitechapel Art Gallery is open all year round.
Ragged School Museum contains a wealth of material from life in London's poverty-stricken East End.
8. Days out
Mudchute Park and Farm in the middle of Isle of Dogs is a 32-acre site, making it the biggest city farm in the country. It hosts indoor and outdoor events throughout the year and can comfortably host events for up to 1,000 guests.
Tower Hamlets also has two other city farms: one in Stepney and one in Spitalfields, where the annual Goat Race is held. Stepney City Farm describes itself as "a working farm, rural crafts centre and community hub".
9. Places to live
Bethnal Green is a very lovely place to live: surrounded by two large parks (Victoria Park and Weaver's Fields), and with two main markets nearby (Brick Lane and Roman Road) as well as libraries, children's centres, shops, a huge variety of restaurants, cinemas and good schools.
Wapping and Isle of Dogs are neighbouring areas along the River Thames and Canary Wharf, the UK's financial centre, and have numerous new buildings and houses, markets, pubs, restaurants, shopping centres and shops. Unfortunately, this wealth of facilities is reflected in house prices. St Katherine's Dock in Wapping is one of the borough's wealthiest areas, with a number of very high value flats that attract celebrities and public figures.
10. Places to shop
Brick Lane Market is a large flea market with stalls selling antiques, clothes, bric-a-brac and all sorts of weird and wonderful things. The whole area is like an open-air gallery, with buildings covered in the impressive work of some of the best street artists from all over the world.
Roman Road Market is situated on the oldest known trade route in Britain: the road to Colchester. It's another friendly, funky place to shop for some real bargains.
Old Spitalfields Market is a premier indoor market and retail attraction for all. It is one of the finest surviving Victorian Market Halls in the capital.
About the editor
My name is Gulnora. I have been living in Tower Hamlets for eight years. As a mother of two young kids, I found the borough really family friendly with so many facilities for young families. Working for Mumsnet has brought me closer to the community. I'm looking forward to seeing Mumsnet Tower Hamlets grow and develop by engaging more and more families.