Living in Hackney: The best things to see, do and eat in the borough

Columbia Road Flower market sells a huge range of plants and cut flowers every Sunday

Columbia Road Flower market sells a huge range of plants and cut flowers every Sunday - Credit: Sean Pollock

This East London borough has become a destination for creatives and those looking to be part of the vibrant regeneration taking place in this once down-at-heel part of the capital. Packed full with restaurants, bars, independent shops and things to do, here’s our guide to Hackney.

Local favourites

Cafe MiamiStyled like a diner on Miami’s South Beach, this kitsch cafe serves up tacos and toasties in the Strand Building, a stunning example of art deco architecture built in 1925 and a former office of the now defunct London Electricity Board. Their coffee is expertly roasted by Dark Arts Coffee, which can be found in a nearby railway arch.

Hackney FreshVegan, veggie and gluten-free groceries you won’t find in the big four. As well as cupboard staples, there’s an excellent selection of organic wines and a takeaway serving salads, soups and wraps.

Enjoy delicious pancakes at Cafe Miami

Enjoy delicious pancakes at Cafe Miami - Credit: Archant

Le Merlin CrêperieA bastion of French desserts in Lower Clapton that will impress even a full-blooded Breton. Try the salted butter caramel crepe with homemade chantilly cream, washed down with a Brittany cider. All cheese, flour and charcuterie is delivered straight from France.

VelorutionLess lycra lout, more London Fashion Week, this shop showcases the best bikes and accessories for the style-conscious urban rider. If you need a bit more help getting up hills, they have a fantastic range of e-bikes, including Brompton’s commuter-friendly fold-up released earlier this year.

A-side B-Side GalleryFounded in 2011 by artists Tinsel Edwards and Catherine Magnani, this gallery also hosts art classes for everyone from toddlers to working professionals. Looking for a workspace? A-side B-side Gallery houses a collective of up-and-coming and established artists in their on-site studios.

London Fields station

London Fields station - Credit: Archant

St John at Hackney BreweryYou won’t see Benedictine monks filling up kegs in these two railway arches, but the beer brewed at St John at Hackney Brewery Hackney Gardens is no less divine. After seeing how its brewed, you can enjoy a tipple in the taproom next door, or outside in the massive beer garden. The food isn’t too shabby either; Éla Kebabs serves delicious Greek Cypriot fare fresh from the grill.

Great outdoor spaces

London Fields LidoThis open-air pool reopened back in 2006 following a hard-fought effort by local campaigners, and now welcomes more than 250,000 swimmers every year. When the cold starts rolling in you don’t need to head indoors for your swimming fix - the Olympic-sized pool is heated all-year-round.

Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm - Credit: Archant

Hackney City FarmExperience the sights, smells and sounds of rural life in the heart of the city. Hackney City Farm teaches children and grown-ups alike about husbandry, agriculture and caring for the environment. Start your visit with a stroll down the nearby Columbia Road Flower market, which takes place every Sunday from 8am until 3pm.

Hackney MarshesThe home of Sunday league football - 100 games are played across the 88 pitches every week by local teams. A number of famous players of past and present made their start on this hallowed turf, but today it’s also a great spot for dog walkers and joggers alike.

Victoria Park

This much-loved open space is known locally as the ‘People’s Park’, thanks to its association with political struggles stretching back to the 1800s. It has everything you’d expect at its genteel central London counterparts, hosting a number of concerts and festivals over the summer. Enjoy a paddle on the boating lake, or lounge under the shade of the Chinese Pagoda.

London Fields Lido

London Fields Lido - Credit: Archant


Satan’s WhiskersLike your cocktails but prefer to hang out somewhere with a relaxed, neighbourhood atmosphere? Then look no further this Bethnal Green bar. Sure, it might look a touch shabby on the outside, but inside it’s comfy, chilled out and stylish.

Pub in the ParkBang on the edge of London Fields, this Hackney boozer is perfectly situated for a chilled out afternoon pint or three, while evening punters can see in the weekend to the sounds of resident DJs. The food’s up to scratch too – think hearty roasts, classic Mediterranean mains and posh burgers.

St John's Church, which sits beside the Hackney Gardens development

St John's Church, which sits beside the Hackney Gardens development - Credit: Archant

The Spurstowe ArmsThis light and airy pub in the centre of E8 is all about the food, with a menu that changes monthly and ranges from Scandinavian pickles to Italian classics and Caribbean snacks. Wash that down with one of the Spurstowe’s own cocktail creations and kick back in its spacious wood-panelled bar. Heaven.

Night TalesOccupying two railway arches and a vast terrace, former pop-up Night Tales is now permanently housed in hackney Bohemia, featuring an all star lineup. Catch a vibe in the Japanese garden bar, or head over to the specialist Agave bar if you’re tired of tequila and always onto the next thing. And if you need to line your stomach? Fat Baby serve up Japanese street food til 10.30pm Thursday to Saturday – book a table or walk straight in.

Church of St John Hackney

Hackney Gardens features a collection of stunning flats starting from �575,000. On the market with S

Hackney Gardens features a collection of stunning flats starting from �575,000. On the market with Stone Estate Agents - Credit: Archant

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A church has stood on this Hackney Central site in one guise or other since 1275. It’s not just choirs that have filled this vaulted space. An upcoming £5million restoration project, part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will also allow the venue to host more gigs, having already made a name for itself by drawing artists such as Coldplay, Florence and the Machine, Robbie Williams, Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran.

Thinking of making a move?

Tucked away in the tranquil gardens of an ancient churchyard, Hackney Gardens comprises 58 luxury apartments and a community centre inspired for art and culture – making this your secluded home right in the middle of Hackney.

The apartments boast a crisp high specification finish, perfectly complemented by the abundance of natural light flooding into the open plan living areas, stretching onto either a large private terrace or balcony.

Located just a short walk to Hackney Central station and boasting a fantastic selection of local establishments, Hackney Gardens remains secluded while having everything you need just a stone’s throw away.

The Hackney Gardens apartments feature light and spacious open-plan kitchen and living areas

The Hackney Gardens apartments feature light and spacious open-plan kitchen and living areas - Credit: Archant

Apartments start from £575,000.

To register your interest, call Stone Real Estate on 020 7043 8888, email or visit

A bedroom in a Hackney Gardens apartment

A bedroom in a Hackney Gardens apartment - Credit: Archant