Hackney: An Explorer Guide
Exploring Hackney! From the best coffee in town to vintage shop finds, read on for our pick of the top spots!
Table of contents
The London Borough of Hackney! Check out some of our top spots & the things we learned about renting in the area...
If you want to try a roast in Shoreditch, Allpress is a good place to start! Tucked away in the corner of Redchurch Street, for this coffee chain, it all began here. Here you'll find a variety of drinks, snacks and ground coffee beans to take home. With a small number of chairs to sit outside, this branch is busy with commuters and local residents.
As well as those working in the number of art studios dotted around the area. (You might spot some interns grabbing coffee for the local film company down the road.) This spot is also just three blocks away from the newer Tea building. Serving the same infamous roast but in a bigger space!
The world's first pop-up mall, Boxpark is Shoreditch's number 1 spot to explore and experience a variety of fashion, art food, and drinks. Featuring fifty stalls along the stretch of Bethnal Green Road, you'll find an array of independent businesses - from African clothing, art galleries, henna tattooing and even a journal shop! We tried the vegan cookie dough at Humbledough, and had a browse in the Asian Girl Store which features a range of K-pop and East Asian merchandise. You can find the full list of stores here.
While grocery shopping might not sound very exciting, we promise a trip to this store will have you more excited than popping down to your local Tesco's. The Grocery offers a range of bespoke health foods to browse, including wild rice, cheeses, organic veg, vegan goods, and wine.
You may also catch a glimpse of the shop's mascot, Asbo the cat, who was born on the grounds and even has a wine named after him for purchase! With its quintessential grocery vibe, the space has also been rented out for filming on the weekends by film companies such as the BBC.
Chocolate chai with a side of samosas? A popular Indian restaurant chain in London, it's not hard to see why. Featuring a range of deli dishes, from classics like Dahl Makhani to Ruby Chicken, Dishoom is the place for go-to Indian food in the city. We recommend trying the rose and cardamom lassi and, if you're craving dessert, the creamy bhasmati kheer. Moreover, don't worry if you're waiting in the cold during those peak hour queues (thanks British weather). The restaurant is known to serve their signature hot spicy masala chai on the house to ease those frosty nerves.
Hats, leather gloves, overcoats.. the list goes on at Beyond Retro, a Hackney-based vintage clothing store. With chains across London, we visited the Dalston Branch. Selling clothes from every era of the 20th century, you may find some hidden gems among the racks of clothing, which have been worn by the likes of celebrities such as Jessie J and Paloma Faith. Via their exchange programme, you can even trade in your old clothes for some cashback to spend within the store.
In an age of increasing awareness around waste and fast fashion, Beyond Retro is a great place to check out some vintage looks. Similar shops in the area include Traid, as well as a range of designer outlet stores 5-minutes from Hackney Central station.
Museum of the home
Museum of the what? Yes, that's right. This museum in Hackney explores the concept of home through people's everyday experiences of making, keeping, and being at home over the last 400 years. You can browse through rooms over time, from a parlour in 1790 to a drawing room in 1915, and even gardens through time, that exhibit a range of plants and flowers.
You can also get involved in their range of events, from a gingerbread workshop to a Q&A on Jewish identity and the significance of Hanukkah! With a gorgeous gift shop and Molly's cafe next door if you fancy a spot of tea, this museum is a great place for a family day out, or for some ideas into homes of the future.
Renting In the Area
As part of our adventure in Hackney, we spoke to residents and business owners in the area about their living and renting experiences. The general trend was one of concern. Especially for those in the service industries, with rents growing out of reach in an area that was previously affordable to those starting out/in hospitality.
Richard, a vendor at the Asian Girl store in Boxpark told us of his experiences. He stated that 2-3 years ago the average cost of renting was just under £1,000, passing the £1,000 mark after the pandemic. He also told us of his experience with Pantheon properties. Upon signing a contract via the agency, he was told a private garden was included with the residency, but it turned out this was a shared public space.
As this was not outlined in the contract but promised in person by the agency, he was unable to take action. Make sure any perks that come with a property/negotiated in person are in writing before signing a tenancy agreement!
Daniel at Giftbox, however, felt that finding a property would be impossible to do without an agency, a process which for him went smoothly with Foxtons. We also spoke to Kacper who moved to London from Poland in 2020. He recommended Spare Room as a great platform for finding short-term lets. If you're on the hunt, you can opt-in for Spareroom email notifications based on your preferences. Kacper found liaising with private landlords less robotic compared to an agency (something we're hoping to change).
For internationals looking to move to a studio the city, he suggests renting in the summer - before the influx of international students at the start of the academic year.
Want to find more places to explore? Check out some of our other area guides! If you're a tenant looking to rent in a specific area, give our experts a call and we'll be able to advise and help you find a property from our extensive portfolio.
More transparent letting services with Oasis Living