London’s Hackney Road forms the boundary between the London Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.
It is a vibrant street that has benefited from gentrification in recent years as developers look to improve all parts of the city, especially around the nearby Columbia Road and Broadway Market.
The arterial route runs from Shoreditch Church to Cambridge Heath and because of its locality to so many areas – it also runs between Bethnal Green and Haggerston – it attracts a lot of people.
Hackney Road is thought to follow an important prehistoric route way – it was previously used for driving livestock from Essex to Smith field Market. As the 19th century progressed the character of the road changed dramatically, as it became increasingly commercialized, before industrialization led to new buildings taking on a more modest look. This explains the unique architectural and urban character of the road.
Conservation is an important issue in this area, and in 2008 the local council designated part of Hackney Road as a conservation area – the northwest element of the road was already in a separate conservation area managed by the London Borough of Hackney. This move is designed to protect the special architectural and historic character of buildings from the 19th century and areas adjoining this busy route.
There are three bus services for Hackney Road – the 25, 48 and 55. They run throughout the day and make getting from A to B very easy. The nearest train station is Cambridge Heath Railway Station, which is located at the east end of Hackney Road and features cycle storage spaces. For those at the west of the road, it is served by London Overground services from Hoxton Station. Both of these stations fall into Zone 2 of the London fare zone.
Exploring East London
The Bethnal Green Tube Station is only an eight-minute walk away, while Stepney Green Tube Station can be reached in 17 minutes. There are also two car parks – at Sclater Street and Great Eastern Street respectively – that are within walkable distances. This underlines how well serviced the area is, as visitors can use a whole range of transport options to get about.
Things to do
As well as being a popular thoroughfare, Hackney Road also has a number of great attractions. These include:
Open every Saturday, the market claims to offer a “kaleidoscope of tastes and cultures”. As well as enjoying a range of food and drink, visitors can also purchase vintage clothing. The market prides itself on offering real value for money, with much of its produce below supermarket prices.
Columbia Road Flower Market
This location is transformed every Sunday into a mix of flora and fauna. You can purchase everything from standard bedding plants to massive banana trees – no one will be left disappointed. The market is made up of 60 independent retailers.
Long White Cloud
This coffee shop has developed quite a reputation thanks to its fusion of hot drinks and art. As well as offering all of the usual variants of tea and coffee, which is all organic and fair trade, visitors can also see some great art hanging on the walls.
Hackney City Farm
Giving people the chance to experience farming right in the city centre, the Hackney City Farm has been going for over 30 years. Children and adults can get up close to farmyard animals and learn new farming skills. It is also home to a number of environmental projects.
Food and drink
There are a whole host of bars and restaurants on the Hackney Road, so everyone’s tastes should be catered for. The Marksman, the George and Dragon, and the Pembury Tavern are among the most popular establishments, and all three are in the classic mould of the English pub.
People looking for a bite to eat in the area will also not be disappointed, as there are plenty of options. Mr Buckley’s offers modern European fare, while Raizes is ideal for fans of Brazilian cuisine, specifically meat skewers, salads and buffets. Sager + Wilde caters towards the higher end of the market, as this urban wine bar serves fine wine and bar snacks.