Hackney top 6: best parks
Blessed with a multitude of verdant spaces, Hackney has a park to suit all moods. From tranquil, tidy and trim to grander expanses, bursting with activities to keep everyone occupied. These are our top 6.
At the western end of Stoke Newington‘s Church Street is Clissold Park, complete with aviary, deer and goats, a paddling pool, large playground and skate park, and a café in a 1790s Quaker-built mansion with a pretty landscaped garden. Growing Communities run a small market garden here, open to the public on Tuesdays (10am–4pm).
From the middle ages, London Fields was a grazing spot for cattle being driven south from Hackney Marsh to slaughter at Smithfield Market. It’s now a very popular hang-out, featuring a beautifully restored lido, a summer flower meadow and tennis courts. At the southern end is Broadway Market, where on Saturday the excellent food market draws thousands of locals and visitors.
This wonderful green space was carved out by Blitz bombing and features Roman-style mosaics that depict contemporary Hackney, created in 2012 in a collaboration between artist Tessa Hunkin and people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
South of the Regent’s Canal and next door to Hackney City Farm, Haggerston Park features football pitches, an undulating BMX track, and a small community orchard and veg garden.
Springfield Park was established in 1905 with the intention of keeping the locals out of the pubs; Georgian Springfield House is now a café with lovely floor-to-ceiling windows and garden tables where you can enjoy home-cooked food. Near the café you’ll find Growing Communities here too on a Tuesday (10am–4pm).
Extensive Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park stretches east out of the borough of Hackney. Here you can swim in the glorious London Aquatics Centre, cycle in the Olympic velodrome, or check out the excellent kids’ playground, complete with BMX track.