Hackney is also known as 'Hipster Hackney' along with Shoreditch it's been one of THE up and coming neighbourhoods in the East of the city for the last few years. It was for many years one of London's poorest boroughs and has a diverse range of people from all over the world living within its borders. In the last few years, house prices have rocketed and it's now the home of writers, pop stars, artists, photographers, stylists and florists and any other creative sub niche you can think of. Food, drink, and bars, are great here, as is nightlife and special interest evenings of all sorts. Cycling to and from the city is popular and an edgy community spirit remains.
See & Do
Victoria Park is probably Hackney's biggest park, stretching along side the Regent's Canal and Limehouse Cut, right up to the Olympic Park site, south in to nearly Bethnal Green and East into Bow. As well as Victoria Park, there are also plenty of other green spaces in Hackney too. Clissold Park has a lovely old house to visit and deer and other play activities for children. Springfield Park, Hackney Downs, Hackney Marshes, Haggerston Park and London Fields are other big green spaces in Hackney too. Many of them are connected by nice quite road cycle routes, or the Regent's Canal which will then take you north west to Islington, Camden and beyond or South East to Bow, Limehouse and the Docklands. The Olympic Park site, once the Olympics are over will also be a new green space for Hackney and the other adjoining boroughs, with promised cycle routes, and recreation areas for all.
You can eat just about everything in Hackney, from Vietnamese food, great at Huong Viet in Englefield Road, to Fish and Chips, crunchily delicious at Faulkners on the Kingsland Road. Caribbean bakeries and take aways abound around Kingsland Road too, as do Turkish eateries further up the Kingsland Road towards Stoke Newington. A Polish Deli on Ballspond Road serves that community well, for fresh gherkins, sour cream and some delicous fruity juices. A wealth of community schemes and organic / vegetarian cafes and shops allow you to feel good whilst enjoying yourself too. Hackney's markets are brilliant for cafes and restaurants too, and an all night bagel bakery and lots of late night cafes provide sustenance if you're burning the midnight oil.
The Hackney Empire is an old music hall and theatre. It has a vibrant programme of different shows, which reflects the local communities which it serves. One night they might have English touring opera, the next Hamlet with Ralph Fiennes, and at Christmas they always have a pantomime which brings in a lot of folk tales from around the world and some great music and songs written just for that stage. They host classical and other music, comedy nights, opera, theatre and big events. Friendly staff and good prices make this place a fun night out at any time of year, and the old ornate theatre with its crimson curtains, and gold inlay is a site to behold even before the show starts.
Hackney didn't used to be a destintation borough for hotels until a few years ago. Now, since the Hipsters have moved in, developers are realising that there's money to be made here too for those wishing to stay where the locals do, in a slightly cheaper part of town but still within walking / busing or cycling distance from the city. There's even a boutique hotel opened up on Dalston Lane, Avo Boutique Hotel, in the shell of an old post office, and run by the same family who used to run the post office. For those visiting friends in Hackney or who need to be near the City, Stratford or the Olympic site then this is an ideal borough to be in and you'll find plenty to see and do every morning when you wake up.
Broadway Market is Hackney in microcosm. There are great bars, restaurants, trendy pubs, gourmet food, vegetarian food, coffee bars, turkish restaurants, antique shops, artists, booksellers and jewellery all crammed in to one tiny street. At the weekend's this small street gets very busy, but is worth the visit to pick up some organic hand picked delicacy from a country you may have just visited. It hosts farmers markets and is a great place to shop for presents as well as meet and eat. The main shops, restaurants and bars are also open in the evenings and on weekdays, and this is a perfect cut through to Bethnal Green from Hackney.