Living in Hackney


People just love living in Hackney – as one of the capital’s hipper districts, it has always had a bohemian, artistic feel. For those who call it home, Hackney has more or less everything – incredible green space, a thriving entertainment scene, fantastic cafés and pubs, and village-like neighbourhoods that have a real community spirit.

History of the area

When we say Hackney we mean Hackney Proper – the whole district from Victoria Park in the south to Lee Valley in the north, Dalston in the west to Hackney Marshes and parts of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the east. Hackney village is the area around Mare Street and Hackney Central station.

Hackney was historically part of the county of Middlesex, and became popular in the Tudor period among wealthy Londoners looking to move out of the crowded city. The 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys loved to get ‘away into the fields of Hackney’. It became one of the fastest growing of London’s suburbs, but something of its rural tranquillity remains in the green spaces of Victoria Park and London Fields. Hackney was bombed heavily during the First and Second World Wars, and was not an affluent area.

In recent decades a degree of gentrification has taken place, and it is now seen as one of London’s most up and coming and sought-after areas to live. But Hackney has not lost its edge or its neighbourly feel. The comedian, actor and writer Sharon Horgan has said that Hackney is ‘the only place I've ever lived that felt like a community’.

The property market

Living in Hackney is more expensive than it used to be, but that is the case for every area of London. In fact property prices are lower than the London average, with the average property price in 2023 being slightly less than £600,000.

New build homes

Rising demand for housing in Hackney means there are plenty of new build developments in the borough, including Hackney Gardens, comprising 58 apartments in five low rise blocks overlooking the churchyard of St John at Hackney. Another well regarded development of flats is the Otto, close to Hackney Downs park.

First time buyers

Hackney is a popular area for first time buyers, with its range of housing stock and lively social scene attracting singles and young couples. It is worth contacting Hackney council for details of shared ownership schemes. The average price of a one bed flat in the borough is just under £300,000.

Renting in the area

Hackney is experiencing a housing shortage, and this is driving up average rents. However, the availability of social housing schemes provides more opportunities to people looking to rent that they might not find in other boroughs.  

Schools and education

Schools in Hackney generally have a good reputation. Secondary schools rated ‘outstanding’ in their latest Ofsted report include Stormont House School in Clapton, the City Academy in Hackney Central and Clapton Girls’ Academy. ‘Outstanding’ primary schools include Sebright School in Whiston Road and Holmleigh Primary in Stamford Hill.

Transport links

Although there is only one underground station in the borough (Manor Park), there are plenty of overground rail services and bus routes. You can get from Hackney Downs to Liverpool Street on the overground in 10 minutes. Most buses stop in Mare Street – the No. 30 goes to Marble Arch, 38 to Victoria and 48 to London Bridge.

Lifestyle and leisure

Places to eat and drink

Where do we start? From street food to Michelin star, you won’t go hungry in Hackney. Hill & Szrok in Broadway Market is a butcher’s by day, restaurant at night; Lardo in Richmond Road is a hip pizzeria with a disco ball oven. Bohemia Place in Hackney Central has been transformed from an uninviting series of railways arches into one of East London’s most exciting terrace and event spaces, featuring arch to arch artisan breweries amongst other attractions.  

Where to shop

Mare Street is the main shopping area in Hackney, with all the big name chains. Away from Central Hackney you will find independent shops galore, tucked away in villages like Victoria Park, and thriving markets at Broadway Market and Well Street.

Things to do

Hackney Empire is often described as the ‘most beautiful theatre in London’. Along with the Hackney Picturehouse, it is the hub of life in Mare Street. You will catch major touring theatre productions here, along with the biggest names in comedy and opera. The Picturehouse screens Hollywood blockbusters as well as the best arthouse and indie movies.

London Fields Lido was reopened in 2006 and has helped rejuvenate the popularity of one of Hackney’s main green spaces. The 50 metre heated pool is open all year round, but you definitely need to book in advance to get an hour’s swim in the height of summer! The perennially popular Victoria Park hosts music festivals and major concerts during the summer.

Felicity J Lord can help you buy, sell or rent in Hackney

If you like what you’ve read, we can help you buy, sell or rent in the Hackney area. Get in touch with the friendly team at our Hackney branch and they will be happy to help.