Hackney is a former industrial area turned creative, community-centric hub in North London. With more residents choosing to cycle to work than any other area in the city, Hackney is a vibrant and colourful Borough popular with young people, families and artists alike.
Did You Know?
- Writer and novelist Joseph Conrad wrote his most famous novel Heart of Darkness while recovering from tropical fever in a hospital on Dalston Lane.
- On Mare Street, you’ll find Mermaid Fabrics which is named after an inn formerly located on the same site.
- Hackney is a relatively young borough with roughly 21% of its residents under 20. Only 18% of the population is over 55.
Neighboured by Islington, Tottenham and Stratford, Hackney is one of the most talked-about areas in London. A pulsating heart of creativity and community, Hackney has attracted hordes of artists in recent years, as well as foodies young and old who can enjoy a variety of exciting fare from the innovative restaurants, cafes and farmers’ markets that now populate the area.
Despite its close proximity to busy central London, Hackney benefits from a number of superb open spaces. The borough also boasts a strong community spirit, epitomised by the renowned Broadway Market which offers everything from organic groceries to international food and fashion.
Architecture & Property
Half a century ago, Hackney was a collection of small towns and enormous Tudor estates surrounded by hunting fields. Little of this heritage is still visible today, with the exception of the St. Augustine’s church’s medieval tower and the Tudor-style Sutton House. Hackney’s golden age lasted right up to the 18th century. This is evident in the charming areas of Georgian architecture that may be found in the Clapton Square Conservation Area and around St. John’s Church.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Hackney became a preferred location for industry thanks to the Lea River’s connection to the canal network and its unique location east of London. The population soared from 20,000 to 200,000 and the grand old mansions that once covered the area were pulled downed and replaced with Victorian terrace homes for the working classes.
Constructed in 1904, The Navarino Mansions were built by a charitable organisation to house 300 Jewish artists from the East End and are unique examples of Edwardian Arts and Crafts tenement blocks.
These days Hackey is a delightful array of new builds, ex-council houses, warehouse conversions and Victorian terraces. There are also a number of spacious Georgian villas.
There are a remarkable variety of restaurants in Hackey to choose from, from the well-known Vietnamese and Turkish eateries on Mare Street to more recent additions like Lardo, which serves pizza and other Italian treats. Popular restaurants and bars can be found around Broadway Market, and on Saturdays, a bustling market sells organic produce and delicious street food.
There are plenty of places to go for a pint of real ale or a roast dinner in Hackney, including the Windsor Castle to the Kenton which have recently undergone renovations. The Prince Arthur is one of the best spots to go for a traditional roast. The bar Oslo also hosts performances upstairs which often draws quite a crowd on Saturday nights.
The Hackney Empire is a local favourite, regularly producing world-class productions. The neighbourhood also hosts a number of fringe theatres, including The Yard, the Hackney Shed and the Arcola.
Boasting an expertly curated film line-up, The Hackney Picturehouse is another favourite with local residents. The most significant gallery row is Vyner Street, which draws a hip, young crowd on First Thursdays. The London College of Fashion is also close by.
The Grade I-listed St. Augustine’s Tower hosts open days where visitors are welcome to climb the tower and even ring the bell. Sutton House, which is under the management of the National Trust, welcomes tourists and hosts a variety of tours, events, family days, and exhibitions.
- On the Overground, it takes just 10 minutes to get from Hackney Central to Stratford’s Westfield.
- The neighbourhood’s two most popular markets, Broadway Market and Chatsworth Road Market, are where many locals spend their weekends.
- The 50-meter heated outdoor pool at London Fields Lido is open all year round. King’s Hall also offers a variety of fitness courses, a gym and a pool.
- At Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you can visit the London Aquatics Centre and make use of the top-notch athletic facilities.
- Close to Hackney Central is a 24-hour Tesco with parking. There’s also a Marks & Spencer on Mare Street and a Lidl on Well Street.
- Canoeing, kayaking, and white water rafting are all available at the White Water Centre. You can also enjoy horse riding at the equestrian centre.
- Contestants from Dancing on Ice frequently use the Lee Valley Ice Centre as a training facility.
Hackney is one of London’s greenest boroughs, with more than 800 acres of lush, open space. Victoria Park boasts a magnificent boating lake and family-friendly play areas. You’ll also find Pavilion Cafe. The park also holds local festivals throughout the summer, as well as Lovebox and Field Day.
Weekends in London Fields are festival-like, but the area is also noteworthy for its meadow of wildflowers. A stroll around Hackney Marshes in the afternoon will make you feel as though you’ve left the busy city behind.
In 2002, The Hackney Learning Trust became the first private, non-profit organisation in the UK to take over a council’s education services. It was given a 10-year contract to improve education services in Hackney. The project has been such a success that Hackney absorbed the trust into a proper department operating within the council. As a result, there is an excellent selection of schools in the area with several reputable academies.
Liverpool Street is eight minutes away from Hackney Downs along the East Anglia Line.
The Victoria Line at Highbury and Islington takes just 20 minutes to get from Hackney Central to Oxford Street, 17 minutes to Shoreditch, and 27 minutes to Canary Wharf. Homerton, Hackney Wick, Dalston Kingsland, and Dalston Junction all have stations as well.
Hackney is served by the 55, 38, 30, 242, and 48.
More people commute by bicycle in Hackney than anywhere else in the Capital. There are plenty of attractive cycling paths that wind through parks and along the canal to get you where you need to go.