Broadway Market is a perfect microcosm for Hackney itself. 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.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Broadway market might be small, but it combines niche boutiques with a great market at weekends.
Emma's expert tip: In the summer, pick up some nibbles from the market, take a rug and go to London Fields the nearby park for a picnic with the thousands of other hipsters who fill Hackney all year round.
Rebel Rebel has been working with flowers since 2000, and they brighten up their shop, the road, and the whole area. They hand pick flowers from New Covent Garden Flower market every day and they cater for domestic orders, weddings, and the kinds of big trendy events that Hackney and London are so good at. The shop likes to stay seasonal wherever possible, and they try and source as many British suppliers that they can. On their website they explain that they bring in Narcissi from the Scilly isles, Widow Iris and Anemones from Cornwall and Roses from Essex. The shop's name comes from their rebel approach and their work with the flowers natural grace. They play with colours, shapes and like to bring out 'unusual clashing combinations', think, they say, flowers bursting out of vintage handbags. What more can you want from a flower shop and a shopping experience?
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Rebel Rebel is a great flower shop with creative owners who can advise you on anything, beautiful.
Emma's expert tip: Rebel Rebel is a great place to buy flowers, and you can brighten your home and bring some of the beauty from Broadway market, back from your shopping trip.
Broadway Books is a beautiful independent bookstore. Last of a dying breed in these days of big online bookstores. The owners and booksellers really know their stock and are great for recommending something that the person you are buying for, or you yourself, might like. They also have an impressive collection of books about local history, and British curiosities. They are displayed in such a way that you always come out with armfuls of not necessarily the latest writers, but things that you wonder why you didn't read that particular writer before. There is a great children's section too, and beautiful gift cards, posters and wrapping paper too. Basically a paradise for anyone who loves little bookshops which are brilliantly stocked.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Broadway Books is perfect for leading you by the hand to discover new writers. A little gem in the heart of Hackney.
Emma's expert tip: Broadway Books reminds you why bookshops used to be on every high street, friendly, knowledgeable staff will recommend great reads, you won't leave disappointed.
Columbia Road Flower Market is an absolute joy. Strictly speaking at the boundaries of Hackney, but a brilliant place that many people in the borough will gravitate to on a Saturday or Sunday. At Christmas time, you can go and buy your Christmas tree, and stock up on soft, sugary donuts, Chollah bread, hot coffees and hot chocolate. All through the year this is a great place to buy flowers, and plants and bedding plants if you have a garden. All along the street, behind the stalls, are some great places to eat, drink, and shop. Homewares, antiques, vintage heaven, clothes, shoes, and hairdressing, it's all there. And the aforementioned great cafes, bakeries and pubs too.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Columbia Road is not just great shopping, it's a shopping experience, and a heaven for anyone who loves flowers, trees, and shrubs.
Emma's expert tip: Get up early to beat the crowds and get the pick of the best flowers and shrubs, then pop off to eat, and get back for the end to hoover up the bargains.
Violet was founded by Claire Ptak, formerly a pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkley California. From there, she founded Violet in East London, first selling cakes at Broadway market, and regularly selling out, and then opening her little shop on Wilton Way in Hackney. The unassuming white building is beautifully styled, like Claire's cakes, and other work as a food stylist for chefs such as Ottolenghi. She is the author of several cook books, and makes sure that you can top up your American baked goods craving in the heart of Hackney. Totally worth it., despite the price. Claire uses organic products, fresh fruit purees to flavour her creations, espresso and valrhona chocolate. They might be loaded with calories, but they are totally worth it, and very easy to digest.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Violet is the perfect place to buy American baked goods in London. You can pick up one of their tasty morsels at several places in Hackney.
Emma's expert tip: Pop in to the shop for a great coffee and cake refuelling stop before wandering across London Fields towards more shopping in Broadway market, or even further up Wilton Way
Ridley Road Market is a far cry from the chichi other parts of Hackney. It has for the most part retained its traditional character. East End "barrow boys" will sell you fruit and vegetables with a cheeky smile, alongside shops for Haitians, West Africans, Halal butchers, Caribbean delicacies and calalloo. At the busiest time you can barely get through the crush of half of Hackney buying their groceries for the week, and watch out for the chickens and half pigs hanging up outside some of the butchers. There's a 24 hour bagel bakery near the station at one end, and some great music shops selling pretty much everything tucked away within the busiest parts.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Ridley Road Market is a traditional multiethnic London market at its best.
Emma's expert tip: Go in the morning for the full market, and pop back as it's closing up if you want some bargain fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. Browse here and you will pick up bargains, and little known curiosities from the four corners of the world.
Tatty Devine opened their first store on London's Brick Lane in 2001, and they've been going great guns ever since. The store now has a second in Monmouth Street, London's West End, which is a testament to their growing popularity. Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden have been designing and making jewellery since 1999, and they founded their company as a 'totally independent British company'. Their designs are about expressing personality in a fun and creative way. Their designs are created by them, and mostly hand made in their workshops in London and Kent. It's been named best and most beautiful small shop, and was one of the first fashion shops to open up on Brick Lane. The pair met at Cheslea school of fine art, and started of by making leather cuffs to sell at markets. Vogue shot one of their collections, and as they say, the rest is history.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Tatty Devine is original British made jewellery which sums up the hipster heart of Hackney. Go home with a kooky souvenir or some cool presents.
Emma's expert tip: Tatty Devine has some great and fun jewellery which will pep up any outfit, and make great presents too.
Stoke Newington Church St is a long and winding street in the North of Hackney. It winds its way towards the borough of Islington, and passes through many different incarnations on it's way east and west. There is a great gourmet organic food store, a variety of delicious restaurants, cafes, patisseries and brunch stops. Pubs, clubs, and bars, and of course great shopping. From little garden centres and flower shops, to jewellery, clothes, vintage finds, bookshops, toys and games for children. In short, you can happily spend all day here shopping and browsing and enjoying a great place to hang out. Stoke Newington is known as "nappy valley" and there are a lot of buggies, and "yummy mummies" here all week long, browsing and shopping which makes for a great place to browse, and some original and tempting products.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Stoke Newington Church St is a great and varied shopping district in the North of Hackney.
Emma's expert tip: There is something for everything in Stoke Newington Church St from gourmet organic food stores, great cafes, and brilliant clothes and shoe stores. A little gem in London.
Borough Wines has a few branches in London and Kent. In Borough Market, Stoke Newington, and Deal in Kent. But their little shop in Wilton Way in Hackney is bringing the wonderful world of wine to Hackney. It is a small shop, but they definitely know their wines and are happy to advise and pair with food. It is a perfect example of Hackney's new shining star in the gourmet firmament of London. Just opposite is new restaurant Mayfields, just down the road, Violet, a great American bakery, and a little bit further along the road, you can eat at Railroad, and around the corner, the Spurstowe arms. It is a sign of the money that has flooded in to Hackney in the last few years, as prices, like in many shops in Hackney are not particularly cheap, but it's a joyful shopping experience, and good to support local shops.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Borough Wines is a great local wine shop with wider scope than its immediate local area. Great advice too.
Emma's expert tip: Great to pop in here if you are invited to one of the dinner parties that dominate the Hackney scene, they will advise you and provide you with a great wine to tantalise and impress your friends.
Rough Trade Records, both East and West, is a brilliant place to shop for musics. It's a musicians, and muso's place to go in the heart of London. So successful has the store become, that they are now working on a "Rough Trade NYC" too. As stated on their website, their aim is "to unite inspiring artists with curiously minded listeners with as little fuss as possible".They are all about "independent music, for independent thinkers in an independent fashion" and the staff really know their stuff, and many of the musicians they sell. You can browse for vintage stuff, off label records, and lots of the big releases too. But it's a great place to discover a love of music, and explore new sounds and musicians guided by the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff you can think of.
Recommended for Hackney's Best Shopping because: Rough Trade is a great music store, beloved by musicians and those in the know.
Emma's expert tip: Rough Trade is a great place to pick up new music and amaze your friends when you come back from London with some little gems and great new sounds.