This excursion will be back soon. In the meantime we’d be happy to organise a private tour for you. Please contact us on 020 7624 3978 | privatewalks@walks.com to make a booking.

Naughty but Nice East London

Dalston Junction railway station, London

Guided by Andy R.

Short version. Hackney. From the Ball’s Pond Road to East London’s National Trust jewel – Sutton House, Nothing at all to do with ‘Hackney Carriages’, but 400 years ago a desirable area for country houses, including that of Thomas Cromwell. Now subsumed into London, it retains its chirpy individuality and charm.

Long version.

Thieves at King’s Cross,
Cat Burglars in Hackney
And in Bethnal Green – villains.

Let’s stick to Hackney. Now perfectly safe and being gentrified like there’s no tomorrow.

On leaving the station at Dalston, it’s headfirst into Ridley Road, one of the capital’s legendary markets. The nature of its cosmopolitan bustle evolves with time. In the 1930s, the market traders were predominantly Jewish and Oswald Mosley, surrounded by blackshirts, addressed rallies until the police arrived to prevent the inevitable civil unrest. Now English, West Indian, African, Bangladeshi, Turkish all rubbing along together.

Then it’s on to the biggest parish church in London, with a working barometer embedded in its wall, past the original model for Eastenders’ Albert Square, the German Hospital, Marie Lloyd’s home, the Lido with its Olympic size swimming pool open 12 months of the year.

London Fields takes us to the Hackney Empire, one of Frank Matcham’s masterpieces which has given us Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Liberace, Michael Miles and ‘Take Your Pick’, but not all at the same time.

The tower of St Augustine, all that remains of an old Templar Church, overshadows Mare Street and leads us towards Thomas Sutton’s House. If you want to visit at the end of the walk there is a café and knowledgeable staff.