The regeneration and rise of areas like Hoxton and Shoreditch have helped to turn around a reputation that was not always the most savoury and the result is certainly noticeable in house prices. The average cost of a home in the multicultural east London borough hopped above £500,000 for the first time at the end of 2013, as Hackney experienced the steepest year-on-year rise in prices in England and Wales.
Partly this was down to the Olympic effect as Hackney was one of the five host boroughs for the 2012 Games. As well as Hoxton, Hackney Marshes, Cazenove and Victoria Park are also property hotspots, as is Clapton.
Hackney is also known for its green spaces – it’s one of London’s greenest boroughs - including the historic London Fields which has a heated lido swimming pool and an enormous wildflower meadow, Hackney Marshes (which has more than 80 football, rugby and cricket pitches), and Hackney City Farm which dates back to the early 19th century. Elsewhere, Stoke Newington Reservoirs are two former Thames Water reservoirs which are a nature reserve in urban Hackney run by the London Wildlife Trust.
On Saturdays, Broadway Market offers a particularly excellent range of food and drinks (and clothes) as does London Fields. Ridley Road Market in Dalston is a great traditional market.
Indeed Hackney is a delight for foodies. There is an excellent range of cafes and decent gastropubs throughout the borough. If you like Turkish and Asian restaurants, head to Kingsland Road and around Mare Street for Vietnamese. Stamford Hill is at the heart of the Hassidic Jewish community and has many kosher bakeries and delis.
Other attractions include the National Trust’s Sutton House built in 1535 by one of Henry VIII’s favourite courtiers. Hackney is also home to former music hall the Hackney Empire theatre, while cinemagoers have two great choices in the Rio in Kingsland High St which dates back to the 1900s as well as the Hackney Picturehouse.