Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019

Waltham Forest was the first ever Mayor’s London Borough of Culture in 2019, and will always remain London’s Borough of Culture.

The award from the Mayor of London has enabled us to ensure arts and culture is always placed at the heart of our communities. 

From music festivals and garden parties, to busking in shop windows and human libraries, 2019 was a celebration of the communities in Waltham Forest, with music, art, culture and more absolutely bursting from our corner of East London.

We’d like to extend a massive thank you to all the local residents, community groups, artists, school children, volunteers, council staff and everyone in-between who has made the first-ever London Borough of Culture one to remember

Culture and community has always had a special place in Waltham Forest, and long may that continue.

See the highlights

A cultural hub for Waltham Forest

This website will remain a resource for everybody in Waltham Forest and beyond to find out about and share cultural events and initiatives in the borough. 

Head to our What’s On section to find out about exhibitions in Waltham Forest’s museums and galleries, summer festivals, high profile arts commissions and locally organised events. You can upload your own event here.

There will still be plenty of opportunities to get involved in the cultural programme in Waltham Forest. You can find out about upcoming Fellowship Funding grants, artist open calls and resources for schools in our Get Involved section. 

In 2019, over 1,000 local volunteers signed up as Legends of the Forest to lend a helping hand at  events year round. You can still sign up to be a Legend of the Forest and help make a difference in our communities here. 

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award is a major new initiative launched by the Mayor of London in June 2017 and inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes.

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award brings Londoners together. It puts culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs, illuminating the character and diversity of London’s boroughs and showing culture is for everyone. Now more than ever, the Mayor wants Londoners to get to know each other and feel part of our great city. Thanks to this new award, all Londoners will now have the chance to be part of something extraordinary.

Cllr Clare Coghill
Leader, Waltham Forest Council

"We are so proud to have been selected to be the first Mayor’s London Borough of Culture. We received incredible support for our bid right across the borough. We passionately believe that investment in culture is vital to securing economic growth and social cohesion for the benefit of everyone in this community. The year ahead will shine a light on the fantastic cultural riches of Waltham Forest and create a platform for a programme that is not only for the people but by the people, blurring the line between residents and artists.”

Sam Hunt
Creative Director for London Borough of Culture 2019

"This is an exciting and unique opportunity. This is the first London Borough of Culture, so we can define what that means. I want to make sure people are not left behind. This is going to be created by and for the community, not just an arts programme brought in and foisted on people. The point of it is getting people to love where they call home. We want Waltham Forest to be recognised as a cultural destination and shine a light on the incredible vibrant community here.”