Hackney is one of the most culturally diverse, and young, boroughs of London– making it the ideal home for the pop-ups, start-ups, and hipster hang-outs that have sprung up there in recent years. An area rich in history and community spirit, there are tonnes of things to see and do in Hackney. Here’s our pick of the best.
Take a break from city life in the heart of Hackney at the City Farm, where you can pet the goats, feed the chickens, and feel all warm-hearted over baby lambs. Sure, its mostly for kids, but they also have adult pottery classes, woodcraft classes and organic allotment projects for those with green thumbs!
They say there’s a museum for everything in London, and the Geffrye explores the history of Britain’s domestic interiors. Located in a gorgeous Grade 1 listed building, you’ll feel like a time traveller as you wander through 11 period rooms from the 1600s to the present day.
Luckily for the warm-blooded amongst us, Londonfields Lido is a heatedOlympic sized swimming pool, making it perfect for a dip year-round! Make a day of it in the summer and enjoy the café and sunbathing facilities on the Sundeck.
A firm favourite with locals, Broadway Market is a proper London food market. More affordable than Borough Market, you can legitimately shop for fresh fruit and vegetables here that rival the supermarkets not only on price but also taste and colour. You can also enjoy delicious cooked food from around the world, and have a browse for some vintage clothes bargains.
Once a giant of the film industry, and where Alfred Hitchcock filmed ‘The Landlord’, Gainsborough studios has long since been demolished and turned into a block of flats. A blue plaque commemorates its historic origins, and its fate from film studio, to site of cultural interest, to block of flats seems to encapsulate certain trends in London’s commercial transformation.
From film history to TV legend: Fassett Square is largely unremarkable save for the fact that it is the model for East Enders’ fictional ‘Albert Square’. The perfect place to indulge your small-screen fantasies of being a Mitchell Brother, or walking down to the Queen Vic for a pint.
Commemorated by a small blue plaque, Nevill Road is the site of the first bomb to be dropped on London in WW1. Well worth a look for those interested in their British history, and a nice fact to have in storage if you ever end up in this part of London with friends visiting.
This art-house cinema shows a great collection of classics, new releases, and foreign flicks perfect for a night out at the movies with a difference. Rio Cinema is Grade II listed building, and showcases amazing 1930’s art deco style alongside mainstream releases and independent films, often made into more of an event with live music and cabaret.
Hackney Empire is a 1900s music hall turned modern theatre. Boards that were once trod by Charlie Chaplain now host comedy nights with the likes of John Cleese and Jennifer Saunders, as well as great updated youth productions of classics such as Macbeth and even Royal Academy Operas.
Located on the canal-side end of Broadway Market, this vibrant independent bookshop is an Aladdin’s cave for bookworms looking to get their hands on old Penguin Classics, reprints of long-forgotten classics, New York Review best sellers, and other literary fiction. Their beautiful travel section is largely focused on books dealing with the local history of London making it a real find for those who want to learn more about Hackney!