Littlest Londonist: Hackney

By chloeg Last edited 179 months ago
Littlest Londonist: Hackney


Usual haunt of Hoxditch honeys using their winklepickers as hats, you wouldn't necessarily expect Hackney to be a popular spot for young families looking to settle down. However, areas like Stoke Newington and London Fields are bursting at the seams with high-tech buggies that can change a nappy and set the digibox to record In the Night Garden at the same time as transporting little Londoners from venue to venue, so you won't be alone in seeking out family-friendly activities in this corner of London.

The outdoors is more than catered for in the verdant shape of Clissold and Springfield parks, both with great cafés. From the latter you can stroll all the way to Walthamstow Marshes and encounter some beautiful long-horned bulls, making a great east-side walk.

Hackney City Farm is teeming with less menacing furry friends and plenty of opportunities to pet their goats, donkeys and rabbits; generally a rare occurence in London. It has free entry and a fantastic café serving Mediterranean cuisine, two solid reasons to visit. The animals are fed around 4pm, so try and head down for late afternoon fun.

Abbney Park Cemetary on Church Street is also perfect for encounters with wildlife - our friends even saw a woodpecker there one day.

If it's a rainy day then Pirates Playhouse on Green Lanes is a great soft play centre for the under 5s, allowing the kids to throw themselves around in an edgy, east-end fashion in the safe company of cushioned flooring. In a similar vein and right next door is Castle Climbing Centre which has a junior climbing club.

If culture calls then the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is an obvious choice, with a great collection of children's toys. Less well-known but well worth visiting is the beautiful Geffrye Museum on Kingsland Road, displaying beautiful domestic interiors from 1700 to the present day. It has a great kids' zone and plenty of organised workshops and activities.

Wherever you head, you can guarantee you'll be bringing up some streetwise kids in an area bursting with music, cafés and exhibition spaces. They'll thank you for it when they're big enough to wear their own winklepickers.

Thanks to Melanie Keen for her fab insider's knowledge on all things little in Hackney. Image of little Londonists Sadie and Tom surfing their favourite website.

Last Updated 27 January 2009