Live Like a Local: Hackney

Living like a local when travelling isn’t easy. Trip advisor, whilst pointing you in the direction of the best quality places, will only lead you down the path of tourist hot spots. Wandering around is great, but if it’s your first time visiting a place, the path of least resistance means high streets and high traffic places. Please, no.

Those joints are rammed, so how to happen upon the hidden gems, where local people live their lives? How best to get a taste of what living in Bogota is like when passing through Colombia’s capital, or traverse the streets of Barcelona like a pro? Ask a local, of course!

We put a shout out on social media, asking for the best places to hang when you live in Hackney. A short ride on the over ground rail to the east end of London, this once working class hive of activity in now a melting pot of cultures and hub of independent art and innovation. Its mix of people from all walks of life gives way to a veritable feast of food and drink, and as old London gives way to new enterprise, makes for a truly exciting place to hang out.

Where, though? Let tell you…

Hackney Eating and Drinking

Once we’d put the call out on Twitter, all we heard was Legs. You’d be well advised to take a walk down Morning Lane, to the unassuming brick building which houses this long-loved local eaterie.

Seasonal British food, independent wine producers paired with internationally inspired fare of the likes of mussels in sherry and pork belly with pistachio and a paired back, relaxed atmosphere make this the place to head for a relaxed supper or easy brunch. Well worth stretching your legs for.

A little more centrally, and a little less known, is Uchi, tucked away in a residential building on Clarence Road. Simple Japanese food, with melt-in-the-mouth soft shell crab sushi, and finger licking delicious kara-age (fried chicken), if you don’t fancy sitting amongst the gold counter tops and Hackney locals, you can always have it home delivered to wherever you call your London home.

Hackney Hang Outs

Whilst not exactly an undiscovered treasure, Colombia Road flower market is a must see. Reminiscent of the old East End, flower sellers still shout about their wares as you pass them on this most picturesque of cobbled streets. Awash with the most beautiful blooms and hordes of people, it’s worth popping down for an hour or so to soak up the atmosphere and browse the vintage shops before heading off to quieter climes in the borough.

Ideal then, is Golden Co. A social enterprise based locally, these environmentally and socially conscious people have brought bee hives into the city. Indeed, and all in the name of giving young people opportunities to gain work experience and create a business out of bee keeping, honey making and marketing and selling their delicious and ethically made products. Well worth a look, seeing how local communities stick together and make something beautiful, which of course you’re most welcome to support through buying a bath lotion or two.

If night time adventures are more your scene, check out Moth Club. Based near Hackney Central tube station, this place puts on gigs, film screenings, burlesque and film nights, and no matter how long you’re sticking around, something will be going on to ‘tickle your fancy’ (as the British say).

Hackney Overnight

All this fun, but where to stay? Hackney is awash with funky bed and breakfasts – Bert’s Barges‘ impeccable houseboat accommodation is well worth a mention – boutique hotels and home shares, but when you’re living like a local, why not stay like a local too?

Shacking up with a friend, or friend of a friend for that matter, means not only the best recommendations, but best insights on what it’s like to live in your chosen holiday spot too. Through our growing global network of friends of friends’ homes, maybe we can help you out at Our London list of places to stay is growing, so why not check it out?


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