The appeal of Hackney lies in its enduring integrity. Nestled in East London, Hackney’s up-and-coming atmosphere stays honest to its creative identity.
Stylish, edgy and unquestionably cool, Hackney is a tapestry of diverse cultures, stitched together with international cuisines and a sense of community. Less about following the crowd, Hackney sets trends – its vogue residents are tastemakers and innovators. Although its industrial legacy has been retained in its architecture – factory and warehouse conversions abound – it has been transformed into a creative epicenter. Artists of all types flock to its vintage boutiques, adventurous restaurants and chic coffee shops. In this part of East London, the locals swap brunch for markets. Homemade pastries, artisanal spreads, organic produce – whatever you need, you’ll find a stall that’s sure to sell it. Hackney promises adventure, with a surprise on every corner and an energy as reinvigorating as your morning coffee.
Hackney’s gastronomy shouldn’t be underestimated. You’d be hard-pressed to find a location with greater culinary diversity. Wake up with the smell of freshly baked sourdough at the e5 Bakehouse, hidden within the railway arches in London Fields. Or try Popham's Bakery – you might stop by for a coffee and a pain au chocolat but you’ll return for some of the capital’s freshest pasta. Hackney’s food scene won’t disappoint when it comes to fine dining either. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming façade of Pidgin. Its Michelin-star seasonal British menu changes weekly and offers quality food in a cosy setting. At Casa Fofo, Head Chef Adolfo de Cecco is known for whipping up a memorable international tasting menu, earning him a Michelin star too. You'll feel well-looked-after at Behind, an 18-seat chef’s table restaurant that offers a seafood-themed tasting menu. For a nightcap (or excellent Sunday roasts) head to the Marksman or the Scolt Head. Not a fan of beer? Three Sheets is an intimate but atmospheric cocktail bar found on Kingsland Road.
Hackney Wick is home to over six hundred individual art studios; from artists to designers to photographers, this is a neighbourhood of creators challenging the boundaries of their respective fields. Symbolic of this innovative spirit, The Residence Gallery near Victoria Park is redefining contemporary art. The ambitious programme at the Waterside Contemporary showcases emerging and established artists from around the world whose work is polemic. Overhauling tradition, A-Side B-Side empowers artists to adopt the role of a gallerist and take matters into their own hands, while the Stour Gallery is a non-profit space that supports creatives with 24 yearly exhibitions highlighting the work of Hackney-based artists. It also hosts performances, art workshops and academic events. Off the beaten track, the Chisenhale Gallery, which stretches across the ground floor of a 1930s veneer factory, has represented mixed media, performance and paintings by future Turner Prize winners, working with new talent to cultivate concepts that make an impact.
Hackney’s urban aesthetic may not be to everyone’s taste but if your rails are lined with oversized denim and colourful prints, then you’ll find something to spruce up your wardrobe in this district. 69b Boutique is dedicated to reducing its impact on the environment. Its eco-manifesto includes introducing biodegradable packaging and sourcing high-quality material produced in fair working conditions. The brands it collaborates with wear their eco-credentials proudly. They stock menswear, womenswear, accessories and homeware so dedicate ample time for browsing here. More of an interior maven? On the hunt for your next showstopping piece? Try Monologue, a contemporary concept store that champions up-and-coming designers. Its edit is carefully curated and demonstrates constant creative development. Decorative accessories and Scandinavian-inspired furniture characterise the space. On the other hand, the House of Hackney will satisfy every secret maximalist’s guilty pleasure. Bold and beautiful prints take centre stage – think florals, animal motifs and colour. And Lots of it. You might even be prompted to buy your own flowers. If so, Rebel Rebel and Grace and Thorn are on hand to brighten your day with their imaginative designs.
With over 85 hectares of open space, Victoria Park is a contrast to the vibrant and dynamic streets of Hackney. Found close to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which hosted the 2012 London Olympic Games, it has held concerts and festivals while also being home to wilder natural areas. The oldest public park in Britain, it was refurbished in 2011 and 2012 and its old landscapes have been restored. Victoria Park Village sits adjacent, where designer boutiques, beauty salons and bars can be found. Pubs, restaurants and cafes cater to hungry parkgoers alongside the park’s own market.
If you’re looking for a more active recovery, take a leisurely stroll along Regents Canal, which runs through Hackney. We love to cycle the stretch from Haggerston to Broadway Market. For those who want to pursue a more holistic activity, try yoga, Pilates or barre at The Refinery. Alternatively, Sadhana Wellbeing combines body movement with rounded therapies that will help you to reconnect with your soul.
Another area to consider
Soho & Fitzrovia
Flanked by Oxford Street, Regent Street and Leicester Square on one side, holiday apartments in Soho, London keep you close to the beating heart of London’s creative and cultural scene. Pop over to nearby Fitzrovia, where its slightly more bohemian atmosphere charmed writers such as Virginia Woolf, George Orwell and George Bernard Shaw into becoming locals and regular pub-goers. Among the Soho apartments, London’s major production studios, distinguished fashion retailers and well-established designers have set up shop in on its bustling thoroughfares.