The station opened on 9 July 1894 as part of the Tottenham & Forest Gate Railway. Originally, wagons were lowered from the arches to the ground-level goods yard by means of a hydraulic hoist. The original wooden platform buildings were destroyed by fire in the 1950s. The main thoroughfare, High Road Leytonstone, running the length of Leytonstone to Stratford, is an ancient pathway dating to pre-Roman times. Roman archaeological features have been found in the area. "There was a Roman cemetery south of Blind Lane, and massive foundations of some Roman building, with quantities of Roman brick, were discovered in the grounds of Leyton Grange." The High Stone at the junction of Hollybush Hill and New Wanstead, near the eastern boundary of the parish at the junction of the roads from Woodford and Woodford Bridge, is a restored 18th-century obelisk set up on an earlier stump which has been traditionally described as a Roman milestone. Two of the obelisk's inscriptions are still just legible: others are not. "To Epping XI Miles through Woodford, Loughton". "To Ongar XV Miles through Woodford Bridge, Chigwell, Abridge". The earliest known cartographic reference to Leytonstone is dated from 1545.
The station has two platforms that are elevated approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) above ground level, each of which contains a metal shelter, covered but not completely enclosed. Ticket machines and Oyster validators (for touching in and out) are installed under the arch at the foot of the stairs. Although the railway crosses over the London Underground's Central line almost immediately north west of the station, there is no direct interchange - Leytonstone station is about a 15-minute walk away. Despite the distance, travellers using Oyster cards can make the interchange as part of a single journey. The service has been gradually improved to provide four trains per hour in each direction on all days. The last trains in each direction run at about 11:30pm. The station is in Travelcard Zone 3 and has wi-fi, help points and a waiting room but no toilets.
Connections: London Buses routes 257 and W14 and night route N8 serve the station.