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Clapton area guide

Clapton | E5

Area Guide

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Clapton Area Info

Clapton Area Info

Clapton is made up of two areas, Upper Clapton and Lower Clapton, divided by the Lea Bridge Roundabout in the London Borough of Hackney. As with the other areas in the borough, it has undergone major regeneration in recent years, thanks to the London 2012 Olympics. It is now considered to be one of the more photogenic districts within Hackney, due to its peaceful atmosphere and large number of green spaces (most notably Springfield Park and Millfields Park, both of which run besides the canal and lead on to Walthamstow and Hackney Marshes). It’s quite a reversal of fortune for the area, which was previously known as one of London’s notorious ‘murder miles’.

Today you’ll find a multicultural and socially diverse neighbourhood that has a strong sense of community. Both parts of Clapton offer an excellent array of shops and eateries that are reflective of the area’s diversity and include Turkish, African, Caribbean and Asian. More recently, there’s been a number of independent, artisanal outlets opening up, especially along Chatsworth Road, offering everything from coffee and crepes to French delicacies and fashion.

Increasingly, young professionals and families have been attracted to the area, thanks to a high stock of Victorian terrace houses, many of which have been converted into flats. There are also some fine Georgian properties overlooking Clapton Pond and Clapton Common as well as warehouse conversions. More recently a good selection of new build apartments and duplexes have sprung up, some with Help-to-Buy available, plus some attractive riverside developments.

While not on the tube (hence why the area went relatively undiscovered for so long), Clapton does have good transport links, with Clapton Station on the Overground just 12 minutes to London Liverpool Street, making it perfect for city workers. Hackney Central and Rectory Road stations are also nearby, while Hackney Central and Homerton have trains to Stratford and Highbury & Islington.

The majority of primary schools in Clapton are rated good or better by Ofsted, with St John & St James CE, Morningside and Kingsmead all receiving outstanding ratings. At secondary level, Clapton Girls’, Mossbourne and The City Academy are all outstanding.

Things To Do In Clapton

Outdoor types are in for a treat here, with a number of nature trails running along the banks of the River Lea, plus a canoe and horse-riding centre. Springfield Park is a lovely place to while away a sunny afternoon, with panoramic views of the marshes and beyond, plus children’s play areas, tennis courts and an excellent café located in the recently refurbished Grade II listed White Lodge Mansion where we thoroughly recommend the falafel wrap. Millfields Park is also well worth a visit (it’s actually three large open spaces around Lea Bridge and Chatsworth Road framed by avenues of mature plane and elm trees). Here you’ll find outdoor gyms, tennis and basketball courts, plus football and cricket pitches.

For a great selection of places to eat, head to Chatsworth Road where Pivaz is a favourite of ours. This stylish Turkish serves generous portions of all the Mediterranean classics and thanks to its bi-folding doors and corner location, makes a great spot for al fresco dining on warm summer evenings. If it’s a burger you’re after, however, then it’s got to be Jim’s Café where you can also enjoy a beer or a cocktail in a cool, Americana/biker style setting. Visit Chatsworth Road on a Sunday for a great famers market offering all the usual staples plus some of the area’s best street food.

There are also plenty of independent shops, cafés and restaurants strung out along Lower Clapton Road and Upper Clapton Road, with the high spots being natural wine bar P Franco, Chinese dumplings and Sake joint, My Neighbours the Dumplings, and the Tram Store, that as its name suggests is located in the old Clapton Tram Depot and offers coffee, food, wine, beers, produce and products, all sourced locally wherever possible.

For an unpretentious, stylishly downtrodden boozer, head to The Clapton Hart on Lower Clapton Road. This massive venue also happens to have a cracking beer garden as well as a range of worldwide ales and wines. If you prefer you pubs more sophisticated and elegant, then The Elderfield is the place for you. The well-stocked bar offers a good range of classic real ales and ciders, together with a comprehensive wine list, while the food here deserves a special mention, with the roast dinners widely regarded as the best in town.


508 Roman Road
E3 5LU
020 8102 1236

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History of Clapton

From 1339 to the 18th century Clapton was pronounced Clopton which translated to a 'farm of a hill'. Presumably this is from the old English clop, lump or hill, referring to Clapton's elevated position from the banks of the River Lea. The area grew dramatically throughout the 17th century, in 1745 having eventually grown to the eastern quarter of the parish, via Hackney Lane which partly ran through Broad, now Clapton Common. In the 19th Century the area became separated in the north and south parts of Lea Bridge Road, Upper and Lower Clapton and those names remained. Around this time Hackney Lane became Upper and Lower Clapton roads, until late into the 19th Century the stretch from the common was changed to Clapton Common.

From the 1980's, the stretch of Lower and Upper Clapton Road either side of Lea Bridge roundabout became known as murder mile. Gang and drug related violence plagued the area for almost two decades, resulting in regular 'turf war' shootings between rival gangs. For the wrong reasons, Clapton attracted regular media interest featuring in a host of documentaries and TV shows, including feature film 'Bullet Boy'. In 1997 Channel 4's Brass Eye, claimed that the petrol station on Lower Clapton Road was shoplifted every 15 minutes.

Over recent years Clapton has experienced extreme gentrification. Initially kick started by London's successful Olympic bid back in 2005, Clapton was touted as one of the key areas to benefit most in the lead up to the games. With good quality period properties available on mass, buyers flocked to Clapton realising value for money over more expensive neighbouring areas Stoke Newington, London Fields and Victoria Park. New independent business' have opened, notably on Chatsworth Road which now has five excellent restaurants as well as Sunday farmers market, school Ofsted's have also dramatically improved.

Clapton has seen property prices jump 65% from 2012-2014, the average three bedroom Victorian family home now costs £775,000 (as of September 2014).

Former working mills on the River Lea in the East End of London
Former working mills on the River Lea in the East End of London

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