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Tottenham: A Cultural Guide

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Community projects, a booming food scene and bags of culture: Tottenham is buzzing

With a rich cultural diversity, a palpable sense of community, unrivalled transport links, and an ambitious multi-million pound regeneration programme in full flow, Tottenham is positively booming. Prospering with creativity, conceptual arts collectives, musicians and a food and drinks movement that is rapidly gaining momentum, Tottenham is one of London’s last great, non-gentrified secrets.


Newly opened Chicken Town has been grabbing London’s headlines since opening in November 2015. This not-for-profit social enterprise offers an affordable and appetising alternative to the growing number of tasteless and faceless high-street chicken shops. By day it’s a casual stop-shop, but by night, a hip sit-down joint awash with buttermilk, craft beers and free-range seasonal produce, all nestled sweetly in Tottenham’s old Victorian Fire Station. Local institution San Marco has been serving Italian fare to dedicated Bruce Grove locals for over four decades. The shabby chic interior is charming, the authentic food even more so. Craving Coffee, on Tottenham Hale Industrial Estate brings a Hackney style vibe to the area. A laid back, chic café by day, and licensed bar with events area by night, it’s a lovingly tended gem, serving artisanal brunch food and hosting myriad foodie pop-ups in the darker hours. It’s a magnificent community hub - don’t forget to check out the regular exhibitions while sipping on your flat white.


Reopening under new management in 2014, The Beehive, set just off Tottenham High Road, is one of London’s best kept secrets. Serving cask ales and Phileas Hog pulled pork sandwiches, the inviting outdoor decked area, charmingly lit with fairy lights, is the ideal place to while away many a summer afternoon. The community owned and run Antwerp Arms is also worth a visit, it has a distinct family feel at heart, powered by craft beers from the local Redemption Brewery. Visionary bar Styx is a curious, youthful addition to Tottenham, a conceptual arts arrangement with an in-house theatre. Inhabited by students, locals and tastemakers, you can kick back in the rustic outdoor area, and grab a cocktail while feasting on some pizza fired up in the outdoor oven. Beaver Town Brewery - who recently upped sticks from Hackney Wick - has a Williamsburg aesthetic, and cooler-than-thou produce. The Tap Room at the brewery regularly opens for spirited events where you can sample their canned craft wares, this brand is certainly full of personality, and flavour.


Rift are a local theatre company specialising in in-vogue immersive and experiential events. Working in partnership with the previously mentioned Styx Bar, the team are embarking on a series of development work in the area. This year they are recreating the success of 2014’s sold out Shakespeare in Shoreditch with a 2016 festival-style event, marking 400 years since the Bard’s death. The Bernie Grant Centre is a passionate, nerve-centre of the neighbourhood that showcases and fosters culturally diverse creativity. It has a tremendously exciting programme of theatre, film, exhibitions and classes - from silver-screen blockbusters to cutting-edge local theatre, there’s something for the everyman. The esteemed Royal Court Theatre, a leading national force in writing, has a three year residency in Tottenham through to 2017. In 2015 Royal Court Tottenham held 20 performances in eight locations across the district, including the phenomenal sold-out Liberian Girl at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, expect to see the great work continue in 2016. Lo-fi venue T Chances is a music, arts and common space with a resident punk community and ethos. Expect bags of alternative gigs, but also poetry, yoga and music lessons for the Zen at heart. Tottenham Arts Classes spearhead the artistic movement in the neighbourhood, with life drawing and watercolour lessons held across the locale. There are weekly drop in classes at The Beehive and Styx, and they regularly exhibit the great work at Craving Coffee. Now how’s that for community spirit?


Tottenham Market recently opened on Tottenham Green, running every Sunday from 11-4. With an array of international street food showcasing a whole spectrum of cultures, local produce and handmade and vintage goods, it’s a bustling local event that demonstrates it’s not just the East End that can do markets with style. It’s worth stopping by just to sample the goods at Wildes Cheese, a small, locally based award winning independent cheese making company. Bruce Grove Castle is an impressive Grade 1 listed Manor, with surrounding beautiful parks and garden. It has an in-house café, perfect for stopping by for a refuel if you visit one of the regular vintage fairs, or fancy a guided tour of the building. If you want to escape the hustle and experience some of Tottenham’s outdoor pursuits, then head to Tottenham Marshes. A glorious series of interconnected waterways, reservoirs and reserves, the area is flourishing with flora and fauna. Take a stroll here off the beaten track and you could spot Kingfishers, Skylarks or Owls along the banks of the picturesque River Lea. It’s a far cry from Tottenham’s mistaken rough-and-tumble reputation, and a welcome world away from the bustle of London’s perpetually busy thoroughfare.