Global Business School for Health


My favourite hidden gems in Stratford, London

3 May 2023

Our GBSH Social Media Ambassador shares their favourite hidden gems near the UCL East campus!

stratford gems

Stratford, the home of UCL East, is renowned for its vibrant shopping district Westfield Stratford City and the stunning Olympic Park. This area has gained a reputation for being an exciting and convenient location, to the extent that some of its residents do not often go to central London for shopping and eating due to the ample facilities Stratford has to offer. Nevertheless, Stratford still hides many under-the-radar treasures that are waiting to be discovered. In this blog post, I'll reveal four of my personal favourite hidden gems in Stratford that you absolutely should not miss out on.

1. Canteen on the top floor of John Lewis

The first hidden gem on my list is the canteen on the top floor of John Lewis in Westfield Stratford City. While many people visit Westfield for its extensive range of shops and restaurants, few know about this spacious and quiet canteen on the top floor of John Lewis. The canteen offers a comfortable and peaceful environment for eating, drinking coffee, studying, and relaxing.

It's equipped with free high-speed WiFi internet and charging sockets, making it a great spot for catching up on work or studying. Firstly, one of the best things about the canteen is the food. The menu is similar to that of a university canteen, with plenty of healthy food choices at reasonable prices. For students looking for a canteen-style dining experience, this is a great option, especially since there is currently no canteen on One Pool Street. Plus, the canteen is less than 10 minutes' walk from UCL East, making it a convenient place to grab a bite to eat between classes. Another benefit of visiting John Lewis is the opportunity to buy high-quality and durable daily necessities. From kitchenware to clothing, John Lewis has everything you need, and as a bonus, there are additional discounts for students when the new academic year starts.

2. Wicked Fish

The second hidden gem on my list is Wicked Fish located in front of the Color Factory. The Color Factory is a vibrant LGBTQ+ friendly club near Stratford that's popular with students who enjoy subcultures. The club often hosts live music performances of various themes such as Jamaican music, African music, K-POP, and British rock music. But what I love most about this spot is the fish and chips shop just in front of the Color Factory. In my opinion, Wicked Fish has the best fish and chips I've ever had in the UK, even better than famous spots like Blackpool's PAPAS, Mayfair's Chippy, and Durham's Bell Fish and Chips. The portions are huge, and the prices are incredibly reasonable. Usually, a small portion of fish and chips is enough to make me feel full, and I often make the 15-minute walk after class to grab some for dinner.

3. Rooftop Film Club

The third hidden gem on my list is the Rooftop Film Club, Stratford. Last year, on a cool day in August, I sat sipping a glass of Diet Coke on the top floor of Stratford Center while watching a romantic movie during sunset, dusk, and pink sunset. It was a magical experience I'll never forget, and I'm excited to do it again now that summer is approaching. After watching a movie, it is also a good choice to eat pasta, Biryani or have a Sichuan hot pot with friends at the many restaurants downstairs. Whether you're with friends or on a date, the Rooftop Film Club is a good place in Stratford.

4. The final hidden gem on my list is the Morrisons Supermarket on Stratford High Street.

At first glance, it's weird to put a supermarket as a hidden gem, what makes Morrisons different from other supermarkets in Stratford is not only its size but also the range of products that it offers, and more importantly, I found out that the students around me didn't even know the existence of this supermarket. As the largest supermarket within walking distance of UCL East, Morrisons is bigger than the likes of M&S in Westfield, Waitrose, Lidl, and Sainsbury's in Stratford Centre, and you can buy more food and daily necessities. With its wide aisles and spacious layout, it never feels crowded or overwhelming, even during busy shopping times.

One of the most important points for me as an international student is the extensive range of Asian food that Morrisons offers. As someone who often shops at Asian markets and the Japan Centre, I know how expensive it can be to buy authentic Asian ingredients. In Morrisons, however, you can find a variety of Asian food, including ramen, dumplings, shrimp dumplings, and a wide selection of Asian seasonings, sauces, and imported drinks, and the prices are usually half that of other Asian markets, which can save you a significant amount of money without compromising on the quality of the ingredients.

Apart from Asian food, Morrisons provides the most comprehensive range of food and daily necessities near Stratford. From fresh produce to bakery items, meat, and household essentials, you can find almost everything you need in one place. The store also offers affordable meal deals, making it an ideal option for students on a tight budget. So next time you need to stock up on groceries, why not give Morrisons a try? You may be surprised by what you find!

In conclusion, Stratford is a vibrant and convenient place with many hidden gems waiting to be discovered, and I hope these four hidden gems will change your life at UCL East for the better.