A Middleton Walk Around: Hackney

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Where to begin? As one of London’s most colourful neighbourhoods, Hackney’s popularity can be attributed to its dynamic and diverse community, cultural richness, thriving arts and food scene, improved infrastructure and continued investment in education. Think back 450 years ago when Hackney was once a secluded Tudor retreat for royalty and nobility, away from central London’s commotion, comprised of small villages surrounded by meadows attracting the elite for vacations and important state affairs. Now the area has a wide demographic and is popular for those seeking a more vibrant, exciting and inclusive urban environment with great connectivity to Central London. As part of our Walk Around series, London advisor, Oliver Sanhaji takes us on a virtual walk around one of London’s most coveted spots for creatives and culture-lovers alike. 


The borough has seen excellent improvement in its schools as further investment is educationally focused. The enhanced faculty support and investment into resources such as modernised school buildings, improved technology and better-equipped classrooms are great examples of how the local authorities are fully committed to driving the improvement – many schools are now achieving high academic standards reflected by their ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted ratings. 

Some notable mentions include Sebright Primary School on Audrey Street. Their aims surround cultivating thoughtful, independent thinkers who promote respect for diverse communities. Similarly, Morningside Primary School looks to create a culture of excellent behaviour by embedding their whole school play strategy to support social, physical and emotional wellbeing. For those slightly older, Mossbourne Community Academy is known for its extracurricular opportunities, especially its rowing club, open to students above Year 7. Off the water, they have achieved an ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED rating and headline-grabbing exam results, all the way through to students annually gaining places at Oxbridge, Russell Group Universities, and MIT.


Some would say East London arguably has the best culinary scene in the capital, so it’s no wonder food enthusiasts of all backgrounds don’t struggle to find eateries that suit their needs – from street food markets to Michelin-star restaurants. 

Ones to look out for include Bake Street, which has attained legendary status for its famed Nashville fried chicken sandwich, a cult dish in London, alongside crème brûlée cookies and lamb birria tacos. Brunch lovers can venture to Towpath Café and enjoy gorgeous canal views whilst chowing down on their famous breakfast menu. Hidden in Dalston’s alleyways, Dusty Knuckle Bakery offers delicious sandwiches, fresh bread, and pastries straight from the ovens – enjoy their outdoor seating and don’t miss the must-try cinnamon buns. For the finer dining experience, head down to BEHIND, an intimate Michelin-star tasting menu restaurant run by chef Andy Beynon, providing diners with an exclusive opportunity to see the inner workings of the kitchen, where the chefs personally serve every course – their menu centres around fish, featuring seasonal dishes that showcase the finest of British ingredients.

Hackney offers a vibrant nightlife with a multitude of bars, clubs and live music venues. It caters to diverse tastes, from underground music scenes in Dalston to upscale cocktail bars in Shoreditch. Known for its un-fussy decor, Three Sheets focuses on its elegant and famous cocktails and was once an entrant for the World’s 50 Best Bars. 

Hackney Wick has the world’s densest collection of art studio spaces, with more than 600 unique venues situated near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The thriving arts scene is ever-popular characterised by its diversity, creativity and community engagement. It prospers through collaboration and has developed into a creative hub in East London – providing a platform for artists of all levels to exhibit their work. 

Not short of green spaces, Hackney’s parks provide plenty of opportunity to take a breath and step away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Must-visits include London Fields, featuring a heated lido (outdoor swimming pool), a playground, tennis courts, and a barbecue area. For the sporty types, Hackney Marshes, E9 is an extensive area proudly known as the spiritual home of Sunday league football, with 82 football, rugby and cricket pitches. Finally, Victoria Park is one of the largest and most famous parks – offering a beautiful green space with a large lake, playgrounds, cafes, and open fields. The park hosts various events, markets and festivals throughout the year. 

Local events

Segueing nicely to our events section – Hackney does not disappoint! With a great appeal to both residents and visitors, the variety of events throughout the year remains extremely popular. 

Celebrating the area’s creative spirit, Hackney Carnival Roadshow is a vibrant and dynamic celebration of culture and community that brings together people of all backgrounds. Its lively music, colourful costumes, and infectious energy are a testament to the rich tapestry of Hackney’s diversity. This year they welcomed a band of Afro-Latin Caribbean All Stars and organised a talk by Venezuelan drummer, Williams Cumberbache, discussing music from Latin America, The Caribbean & Africa, in particular, Congo – we can’t wait to see what they have in store next year. 

Each year, plenty of locals pull on their sweatbands and trainers and get stuck into Hackney’s Half Marathon. This popular race takes participants on a scenic route through the heart of Hackney, showcasing the area’s culture and iconic landmarks. Whether you’re a seasoned runner looking to beat that wishful time or just here for the ride and seek an active way to soak in the sights, this event offers a breathtaking experience.

For any carpet-clutching, genie-wishing fans out there, head to Hackneys Empire’s panto, which is currently showcasing Aladdin. Opening its doors in 1901, the theatre has seen the likes of Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields, Stanley Holloway, Stan Laurel, Houdini, Marie Lloyd, Julie Andrews and Louis Armstrong.

Property relevance & Prime hotspots

Hackney’s property market has experienced significant growth and transformation in recent years, with some notable sales rivalling prices achieved in prime central London. Combining the historic charm of the area and regeneration of industrial spaces and previously run-down areas, Hackney now has a diverse range of spaces – whether it’s large Victorian homes, trendy loft apartments or creative workspaces, to name a few. Through its gentrification, improved transport links, educational opportunities and green spaces, the Hackney housing market is in high demand. The desirability spans a wide demographic, from young families to city workers to creative artists. 

Prominent property spaces include Sutton Place, whose main architectural style is Grade II listed Georgian buildings, with prices ranging from £1.5m – £2m. Similarly, Gore Road, with Victorian terraced houses overlooking Victoria Park, priced between £2m – £2.5m. Finally, built in c.1840, Albion Square comprises large semi-detached homes priced between £3m – £5m. 

If you are interested in property in the area, click here to speak to Oliver directly.