The sun has finally decided to make an appearance this weekend and I used the opportunity to spend a lazy Saturday in Shoreditch / Hackney with some friends. Even though my picture-taking activity was on the low side, it was so much fun that I thought I share our route with you nevertheless. So here it comes…
Your lazy weekend tour through Shoreditch / Hackney
Note: for the “market” part of the stroll, the market will depend on whether you go on Saturday (then you’ll experience Broadway market, left picture) or Sunday (Columbia Road Flower market, right picture). Both streets are also great without the market, as there are nice shops and good food opportunities anyway!
We started our tour with a nice Brunch at The Book Club in Leonard Street. The Book Club is a fixture on the Shoreditch scene, with a great cafe/bar during the day, perfect for hanging out, having a coffee/cocktail/beer during the day, play Table Tennis on their one table or dance in the bar / club at night. In terms of Brunch, they serve good Hipster Fare- great English Breakfast, pancakes, avocado /bacon / salmon combi, vegetarian options- what would one need more!
From the Book Club, we walked through Rivington Street (one of my favourite Shoreditch streets with great shops, bars, street art), crossing Shoreditch Highstreet into Calvert Avenue (further nice restaurants and small shops) and via Arnolds Circle (interesting early social housing architecture, very fancy for today’s standard) to Columbia Road. Columbia Road was still fairly quiet, but some of the shops were open on a Saturday. If you come on a Sunday, this is your market for the day, with great flowers from early morning til early afternoon and all shops fully open. Its a great experience but extremely crowded. So if you just want to browse in a few shops and you don’t need flowers, come on Saturdays!
Our next stop was at the end of Columbia Road- the lovely Hackney City Farm. Its one of those places you wouldn’t expect in the middle of London – and yet its a farm with animals for you to visit and see – depending on the time, the animals are either inside or outside, and they have Pigs (the largest ones I have ever seen, on the picture you can see their cute piglets), chickens, donkeys, sheep, goats, geese. They also have a vegetable/ Herbal garden which is a great place to sit and relax. Inside, they have an Italian Restaurant that serves simple but authentic Cuisine and during the week even has Jazz nights. Also, a pottery with classes every now and then and a community bike workshop.
Leaving the farm turning left into Goldsmiths Row, keep walking for 5 min until you cross Regent’s Canal, and you are at Broadway market, which is your Saturday option. Its a market with lots of good streetfood, arts/ crafts as well as (organic) food ranging from vegetables, meat to baked goods. Again, the street is dotted with good restaurants and nice shops, so even without a market is a good place to come.
At the end of the street, you can either go straight into London Fields (at the end of the park is a heated, year-round Lido, should you fancy a swim) or you can turn right into Westgate street. A few hundred yards onwards on your right side you’ll find Netil Market, with good street food, and passing under the railway bridge, you’ll find Netil House on your right, a co-working / studio/ artists space that has a good cafe and bar on the second floor with a cool indoor space and an outdoor terrace (the roof terrace of Netil house opens for some events, check it out). To get to the cafe, just go through the main entrance and take the lift to the second floor. Sometimes, an entry on the right hand side of the building (with stairs) is also open.
This is where our little tour ends for today, but from there you can venture North to Hackney Central, South to Cambridge Heath / Bethnal Green, visit London Fields Brewery or 5 Point Brewery (both in the Railway Arches close to Netil House) or you just spend the time watching the skyline with a drink and some food from the bar/cafe.