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Hackney area guide

Hackney | E8

Area Guide

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Hackney Area Info

Hackney Area Info

Recently Hackney featured on the Sunday Times Best Places to Live in Britain guide, which considering just ten years ago it was ranked one of the worst, is quite a reversal of fortune for the borough. Today, Hackney is the pulsating heart of London’s creative community where there’s always something going on. In short, it’s fast-paced, lively and constantly reinventing itself, but at its core is a strong sense of community. Hackney’s lightening speed turnaround from a deprived, crime-ridden area to the capital’s most culturally thriving can be attributed, in part, to the extension of the London Overground East London line, resulting in Dalston Junction station and the sleek developments that have popped up around it. A couple of years later Hackney benefitted from massive investment in the 2012 London Olympics, further regenerating the area. Thankfully development here has been imaginative and in keeping with the community’s inclusive and diverse spirit. As such, thoughtfully designed stores, bars and coffee shops sit comfortably alongside cutting edge architecture and beloved institutions such as Ridley Road Market.

For all its urban buzz, Hackney is one of the greenest parts of London, with 62 parks and open spaces, covering 815 acres and that includes Victoria Park, Hackney Marshes, Springfield Park, Wick Woodland and London Fields, to name but a few.

Hackney’s varied choice of housing stock is another big draw, with Georgian villas, Victorian terraces, modern developments and warehouse and school conversions all on offer. Residents here are equally diverse, with creatives, young professionals, families and long-time east Londoners all rubbing along happily together.

As well as the aforementioned Dalston Junction station, Hackney is also serviced Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Central, Homerton and Hackney Wick, all on the London Overground with access to the tube at Highbury & Islington via the Victoria line in around 20 minutes. Hackney Downs, meanwhile, is on the East Anglia Line and this route will get you into Liverpool Street in just eight minutes.

Like the area itself, schools in Hackney have also undergone a major overhaul both at primary and secondary levels. As such many are now rated by Ofsted as good to outstanding. With 91 primary schools and 43 secondary schools in the borough, you’ll not be short of choice.

Things to do in Hackney

There are literally hundreds of excellent independent bars, cafés restaurants and gastro pubs serving all manner of food and drink throughout the borough. For the sake of brevity, we won’t go into too much detail here, but those we think are worth checking out include Mangal II, the acclaimed Turkish restaurant on Stoke Newington Road, Lardo on Richmond Road, an industrial, chic pizzeria with a difference, Oslo on Amhurst Road, a Scandi chic bar, restaurant and club all in one, the Dove on Broadway Market, for great beer and no-nonsense food and Climpson & Sons, also on Broadway Market, and where you’ll get the best flat white in town.

The iconic Hackney Empire sitting majestically on Mare Street is known as the grand old dame of theatres, having once had Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Marie Lloyd tread its boards during its time as a music hall. Today, it’s a much-loved local institution that every Christmas puts on one of London’s best pantos, as well as musical events and comedy acts throughout the rest of the year.

On Saturdays, Broadway Market, just off London Fields, is the place to be, with more than 130 stalls selling a fabulous array of fresh produce, vintage clothes, flowers, coffee, books and groceries. Mixed in are numerous street food vendors, offering an eclectic mix of cuisines from all over the world. If the weather’s fine, we suggest picking up a picnic to have on London Fields, where you’ll also find the fantastic Pub on the Park, as well as one of London’s few remaining heated lidos.


508 Roman Road
E3 5LU
020 8102 1236

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History of Hackney

In 1965 the borough was formed from the area of the earlier metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. At the time the council included representative symbols of the predecessor boroughs in its new combined coat of arms: Shoreditch by three bells from Shoreditch Church; Stoke Newington by two trees bearing fruit; and Hackney by the Maltese Cross of the principal landowners of the parish in the Middle Ages. The shield is surmounted by a representation of St. Augustine's Tower.

To this day a portrait of the Queen wearing the robes of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem, of which she is Patron is displayed in Hackney Town Hall.

The borough has a steep history; Ermine Street, the Roman Road forms the western edge of the borough. Most of the rest of the land was covered with open oak and hazel woodlands, with marshland around the rivers and streams that crossed the area. Hackney lay within the Catuvellauni tribal territory. The eastern boundary of the borough is marked by the River Lea. This was an ancient boundary between pre-Roman tribes, and in the Roman era, was tidal up to Hackney Wick and continued to be the boundary between the historic counties of Middlesex and Essex.

Following industrial action, extensive post-war development and immigration, the area's many Georgian and Victorian terraces are being gentrified, dilapidated warehouses are being converted and new apartments are being constructed.It was inner London's 'greenest borough' and London Transport's 'best bike borough 2006',with 62 parks and open spaces, covering 815 acres (3.3 km2). Up to seven Hackney parks have now achieved Green Flag status. One, Abney Park, became scheduled in 2009 as one of Britain's historic parks and gardens at risk from neglect and decay.

Hackney town Hall
Hackney town Hall

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