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Stratford has become a very different place in the past decade, with its prominence in the 2012 Olympics and the opening of the Westfield shopping centre attracting many new people to the area. Its traditional appeal also endures, with its picturesque beauty and artistic pedigree remaining impressive today. The diversity of activities on offer has made Stratford one of the most important areas to visit for both London residents and tourists alike.

Stratford's name never used to be associated with sport, but the 2012 Olympics in London turned the world's gaze towards the area. While the Olympic spirit may have faded in many parts of the country, it remains strong in Stratford thanks to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The venue has not become dormant; the Olympic Stadium has since become the 60,000-capacity London Stadium, home to West Ham United Football Club. The London Stadium remains a versatile venue, set to host the first Major League Baseball match in Europe in June 2019.

If sport doesn't scratch your competitive itch, then Stratford has more to offer. The Buzz Bingo club is located a short walk away from Stratford Regional station. Open from the morning until 3:00am each night, the club caters for both those looking for some daytime competition or those seeking late-night entertainment. Gaming options don't end there in Stratford, with the All Star Lanes bowling alley offering 14 lanes and a smooth bowling experience thanks to their team of technical experts.

The bowling alley forms part of what has become Stratford's most notable attraction, the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre. Open since 2011, it has become another symbol of the area's regeneration. The BBC reported how the £1.45bn complex became the continent's largest urban shopping centre upon its opening, giving an indication to the vast scale of the place. It is easy to spend a whole day there, with The Guardian detailing how there are over 300 retail units in addition to a 17-screen cinema. 

If a day isn't enough to sufficiently explore, Westfield Stratford City offers accommodation in the form of a Holiday Inn, as well as a Premier Inn that offers 267 bedrooms. With huge brands like Adidas, Apple and Armani all there (and those are just some of the ones beginning with A), Westfield appeals to many tastes. However, it is important to remember that life in Stratford extends beyond this relatively new complex. 

Theatre Royal Stratford East has provided a platform for important works since 1884. This gives the theatre historical significance, but it continues to stage productions that are both socially significant and thematically gripping. If the weather is more conducive to outdoor activity, then a 150-minute Lee & Stort boat tour of the waterways around the Olympic Park offer an alternative view of the area while presenting the chance to scout some of the capital's wildlife.

From shops to sports and from bingo to boats, Stratford has something for everyone. Whether visiting London for the first time or permanently based in the capital, heading over to Stratford should be on everyone's to-do list. 

Something for Everyone in Stratford
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