NFT London Haggerston / Queensbridge Rd

Haggerston / Queensbridge Rd

With the opening of Haggerston Station and the Ginger Line, it seems Shoreditch is merging with Dalston to form one sprawling kingdom of hipdom. Where once A10 used to be a dodgy little after-hours place, it's now a regular stop-off. Stroll down to the gardens at the Geffrye Museum or Haggerston Park for some people-watching with a flat white from Long White Cloud.


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Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Fabrique Bakery
Midsummer's eve occurred at the weekend, a time when the hours of daylight are at their zenith--from there on in, the hours of daylight decrease. The Scandinavians are acutely aware of this as, of course, theirs is the land of the midnight sun, but come winter, they are plunged into darkness. Do not fear though, the Scandinavians have come up with a great way of dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (amongst other things such as Nordic Noir, the word smörgåsbord, The Moomins, saunas, and Roxette--love you Per) in the form of fika. Fika is basically a coffee break with some kind of buttery, sugary, pastry accompaniment. Luckily for us Londoners, Fabrique, the Swedish bakery has a branch in Shoreditch where you can enjoy a Johan & Nyström coffee and a Hallongrotta. I've been frequenting this place for about a year, mainly for their cinnamon buns but have now got hooked on the cardamom buns. In fact when I visited last week, a young mum who had brought her friend there for the first time was exclaiming that she was convinced they lace the buns with crack so addicted is she. As good as they taste all year round, bring on winter, bring on the buns.

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Courtesy of St. Mary's Secret Garden

St Mary's Secret Garden
In my eight years of living in the Hackney/Dalston neighbourhood, I only just recently became aware of St Mary's Secret Garden. Obviously it's a very well kept secret. But as my interest in gardening has grown, it's fantastic to find somewhere local where I can help out as a volunteer and also where I can pick up very reasonably priced plants. The garden is fully functioning during the week, offering therapeutic horticulture for adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues, and terminal illness. SMSG also runs various training and courses such as Food Growing In Small Spaces which prove popular in these times of organic food fanaticism. If you're just looking for a bit calm amongst the bees and the butterflies though, the garden is open to the public Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. The weekend of 14th/15th June 2014 is Open Squares and Gardens Weekend so the garden will be open at the weekend (10-5 Sat; 11-4 Sun) for tea, cake, secondhand books, plant sales, honey from The Golden Co. and much more! Weekend plans sorted. The garden is also taking part in Adult Learners' Week with a couple of workshops on Saturday 21st June (find out more here).

Posted By:  Jenny Wight
Photo:  Jenny Wight

It isn't the Egyptio-Greco-Roman kitch decor that makes LMNT so special; it isn't the piped Opera music or fact that you can sit in wooden balconied nooks with banisters made of old harp frames, at the feet (paws) of a golden sphinx or inside a giant urn; it isn't even the blush-inducing bathrooms decorated with erotic friezes (aka painted porn). It's the fact that despite the effort put into making this one of the most bizarre and wonderful restaurants in London, they haven't forgotten that most people who go out for dinner actually want to eat excellent food at a decent price.

Posted By:  Daniel Kramb
Photo:  Christina Theisen

Geffrye Museum of the Home
Shoreditch isn't a very romantic place, unless you like kissing underneath deafening, car-jammed railway arches or shouting at your date over music that's clearly not made for whispering love confessions. If you don't mind meeting a bit earlier, help is at hand. The Geffrye Museum, which traces the history of English middle class living rooms from 1600 to the present, has not just a wonderfully peaceful courtyard in front of its former almshouse home, sheltering you nicely from a thundering Kingsland Road. There's also a nice restaurant, serving home-cooked soups and the like, with large windows giving way to the museum’s extremely pretty garden, where, obviously, you should wander around afterwards. And if you have no idea what all this flowery talk is about: It’s a great museum, too.

Posted By:  Daniel Kramb
Photo:  Daniel Kramb

Hackney City Farm
"Mu-um, can we go and see the pig again, pleee-ase? Muu-uum!" Okay, don't come here if you don't like kids, but if you do (or even have them), Hackney's popular inner-city farm is a great place for breakfast. Where else can you claim that the eggs on your plate come courtesy of the hens hopping around in front of the door? The fry-ups are fresh and not too fatty (even though mine wasn't quite as hot as it could have been) and the self-styled "family cafe" also serves some interesting pasta, prepared by its three Italian chefs (hence the name). It's easy to linger (for waffles or ice cream), but you can also explore the actual farm; surely one of this area's prettiest spots. And, yes, go and see that pig again.

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