Best of Hackney: Guided Weekend Walk

My favourite weekend pass-time is to walk around Hackney, from Clapton down to London Fields and through the markets down to the farm.. ending up at Columbia Road Flower Market, and even moving on to Brick Lane and Shoreditch. The other day I did this walk with a friend of mine, and she loved it. And I realised... you know what, I love it. And I think you will too. Here is my itinerary for a chilled weekend walking around Hackney + map at the end.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

Stoke Newington Church St & Abney Park

I start my walk by heading to Church Street and entering Abney Park Cemetery - one of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries in London. This old cemetery fell into disrepair throughout the years but it's now being kept by the National Trust fund, which keeps it wild but beautiful.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

Walking in this park feels like being transported to another world and another time. The sounds of the high street are drowned by the silence and all that's left behind are the rustling of the trees' leaves.

When my heartbeat has slowed down and I'm feeling truly calm, only then I step out onto Church Street. Some of my favourite food and homeware shops are there, mainly because the whole area is packed with organic grocers and independent shops full of quirky finds and antiques.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com
Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com
Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

Clarence Road // Pacific Social

When I've had my fill of window-shopping, I move on South on Stoke Newington Road past the Farmer's Market and onto Hackney Downs via Hackney Downs Studios. The whole walk is about 15 - 20 minutes and it's full of colour & sound. On Clarence Road, It's time to settle down. I'll take a peep into Rooms of Clapton before I settle at a sunny table on Pacific Social for brunch. An alternative is Palm Vault only a few seconds away on Mare Street Narrow (pedestrian area).

I normally order the Venezuelan sandwich but I seldom finish it.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com
Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

London Fields // Broadway Market // Netil Market // Schoolyard Market

The walk continues to London Fields. Past the Hackney Empire, where Charles Chaplin once performed, and past the Hackney Picturehouse (my favourite cinema), head right just after the Town Hall and walk on the narrow path on the left to go to London Fields.

As you emerge from under the bridge you are welcomed on your right by the sight of children playing on the playground area of the park. Ahead of you is the Pub on The Park, serving great grub and cold local brews. Enter the park (if you haven't been de-railed by the pub yet) and enjoy watching doggies chase after sticks. Try not to get knocked down by a cyclist - make sure you're walking on the pedestrian side of the path!

If it's summertime, you might as well stop by the Lido and go for a swim. Hell, even if it's winter, it's a refreshing swim, with its heated pool and its cafe.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

As you reach the Southern entrance (on a Saturday) you'll see there's an abundance of people spilling over onto the road. All sorts of smoke and smells emanate from the stalls ahead of you past the pelican crossing.

There are 3 markets side by side. If you can resist the urge to launch yourself onto this concoction of music and taste, head left towards the Schoolyard sign, and past the sign even. You'll find the grown up Netil Market, almost exclusively serving foods from pop ups plus a few awesome bits like Japanese knives. A removals company often sets up their mid-century second hand furniture outside.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

When you've had a Negroni, head back to the Schoolyard for a Panang Curry from the stall straight to the back and right. It'll set you back about 8 - 9 quid. But it's worth it and you can easily share that between 2.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

Have a look around and then head back to Broadway Market. I often stop to enjoy the music from the many buskers (including my neighbour, step dad to a band member from the band Madness, who often busks there). I then buy some cheese (Black Bomber) from the frenchman with the moustache. I then make my way South until I've crossed the bridge.

Hackney City Farm

On your way Southwards there's a few great spots. The Albion is a fantastic pub where you can stop and rest your feet if you've had enough. They also play all matches (if you're a sports fan). I'm not, so I keep walking down about 5 minutes until I see Hackney City Farm on my right.

This is a great little spot because it's not a big farm. It's just like taking a shortcut through the park to get to where I have to get to, only I get to see fluffy and funny animals in the process. I enter through the gate and visit the rabbits, chicken and geese before I head out onto the main area to see the pigs, sheep and donkeys. There's usually a loud duck/goose (I'm not sure what it is) going quack quack loudly, pretending to be looking after all the other animals.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com
Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

My heart goes all meltedy and at that point it's time to move on.

Columbia Road Flower Market

I exit on the South side and cross the road to make my way down to Columbia Road Flower Market (if it's a Sunday). The market is on until 3PM but it is MEGA BUSY. I avoid it like the plague during this time, but by the time I reach it it's normally 3:30 - 4PM which is great for two reasons. 1) there's less people around and 2) the stall holders are having a massive clearance and you can get fifty roses for a penny (or something like that).

The beauty of this road is that it's buzzing. There's people everywhere, art galleries (where my artist mate works, shoutout to Skev! - try and spot the door he has covered with his signature mural). Further down there's a courtyard with musicians (very talented ones at that!) and people spilled out onto the road and sat down on the cobbled street. You can find the best food coupled with overpriced vintage and quirky homewares. I sit here and grab a chilean empanada to munch on whilst I fall in love with the string quartet serenading us.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com
Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

Brick Lane Market

If you still have it in you to continue this stroll, head to Brick Lane Market. It would take you a whole day in itself to uncover it all, but a safe chilled way to experience it is to go into a couple of vintage clothes shops, visit the record shop Rough Trade East and just check out what's going on at The Old Truman Brewery.

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com
Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

There's an awesome crazy golf course there  which you can just walk in to. Otherwise you can explore until your tummy rumbles. If you can't wait, have a salt beef bagel at 24 hours bagel (the one with the yellow sign, not the white one). If you can wait, see Dishoom ->

Dishoom Shoreditch

Make your way to Dishoom through the backstreet, through which you'll find loads more interesting shops such as Labour and Wait, Vintage Guitar Boutique and Monologue.

Get in line and be prepared to wait an hour+ (who does that? I do) unless you've turned up at an bizarre time. What's a bizarre time? I hear you ask. It's 11AM or 3PM for lunch or 4PM or 5PM for dinner. Luckily enough, this walk should have taken you long enough that it's now 5PM and you can go straight to the bar and nibble on grilled prawns and samosas until you get seated.

Dishoom is Iranian food, reimagined. Everything they make is incredibly fresh and cooked up from scratch. All the food is delicious and cheap - which is why people queue upwards of an hour to get there.

The decor is also pretty cool, with an industrial / vintage style inside and a comfy warm veranda outside. Try their cocktails!

Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com
Best of Hackney Guided Weekend Walk // on Journographie.com

Ace Hotel

You must be ready to collapse now, so head to Ace Hotel where they've got the best vibe. Chilled yet upbeat, with a really friendly crowd that tends to chat to each other, it's the perfect place to mingle or to just sit there and sip a cocktail (or a coffee) whilst you rest your feet and pat yourself in the back for such a great day exploring the best of the Boroughs in London. Well done you!

If you loved this article or have some tips of places I should see or things I should try, click on leave a comment (here or below the map) you can also send the link to a friend you think would like this, or share the article on facebook, twitter or even pin some of the images and share the love!

Here's a map of the walk above so you know exactly where you're going:



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