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Regularly hailed as the coolest place to live in Britain, Dalston is one of the jewels of North East London. A haven for students and arty types, the area is also home to some brilliant properties.

Kingsland High Street is the spine of Dalston, incorporating a barrage of independent coffee shops and bars with a select mix of high street regulars. Ridley Road Market, in situ since the 1880's, is a kaleidoscope of culture and history with a warm infectious atmosphere. It is common knowledge that the market along with Fassett Square was the inspiration for London's most famous fictional location – Walford. Although some may baulk at this Eastenders link, it is indicative of the charm of the area and there are a lot less arguments and raised voices to be found in Dalston.

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Shopping and Restaurants

Dalston's shopping, eating and drinking scene is constantly evolving and in spite of Hackney council's crackdown on new late-night drinking licences, people still pour into the area at weekends to seek out new venues.

The main shopping street tracks a mile-long stretch of Kingsland Road starting in Haggerston and ending up south of Stoke Newington.

Starting at the Haggerston end there is vintage store Storm in a Teacup; a café with a handy bike pump for Hackney's many cyclists, Tin Café; a cake shop, The Caramel Tart Company; a fried chicken shop with a difference, it serves sour cocktails as its name Chick 'n' Sours implies; bookshop Burley Fisher Books; Japanese and music restaurant Brilliant Corners; Madame Pigg with a British menu, recently reviewed positively by Evening Standard restaurant critic, Fay Maschler; and where else but Dalston would there be a shop called Prick, described as “London’s first cactus and succulent boutique”.

Continuing past Dalston Lane, the Kingsland Shopping Centre has branches of Sainsbury's, Peacocks, Matalan, Iceland and Costa and on the opposite side of the road is a new branch of Marks and Spencer Food Hall. Ridley Road street market sprawls off Kingsland Road down Ridley Road.

Heading towards Stoke Newington there is a yakitori Japanese restaurant, Jidori; an organic supermarket, Harvest E8; an all-day restaurant and club, Dalston Superstore; an organic sourdough bakery, Dudley Bakehouse; lots of Turkish grill restaurants; a vintage clothing and furniture store, Pelican and Parrots; fashion store, HUH and craft brewer Brewdog has taken over the site once occupied by Birthdays nightclub. Other bars in this strip are Ruby’s and newer Undr; Beyond Retro is giant vintage clothing warehouse.

Furanxo in Dalston Lane is a shop by day and a Spanish wine bar by night, and Café Route, an all-day restaurant serving Mediterranean food, is in Dalston Square. New Zealand coffee roaster Allpress has its UK roaster in Dalston Lane where there is a café and pretty garden.


Overground: Dalston, Dalston Kingsland and Haggerston stations are all on the Overground. Dalston and Haggerston have trains to Shoreditch High Street for the City and Canada Water, with a change to the Jubilee line for Canary Wharf. Dalston Kingsland is on a different section of the Overground with trains to Stratford and Highbury and Islington for the Victoria line. All stations are in Zone 2 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 is £1,404.

Bike: More people cycle to work here than any other place in the Capital, pleasant cycle routes via the canal and parks get you where you need to go in no time.

Bus: The No 30 bus goes to Marble Arch via Islington and Euston; the No 38 goes to Victoria via Islington and Piccadilly Circus; the No 242 goes to St Paul's via Liverpool Street, and the No 277 to Crossharbour and Canary Wharf via Mare Street and Mile End.

Getting away: City Airport is 38 minutes away via the DLR and Overground, while Stansted is 40 minutes away in the car.

Green Space

With 815 acres of green space, Hackney is London's greenest borough. Victoria Park, with its lovely boating lake, children's play areas and superb Pavilion Cafe, is the standout attraction. During the summer it hosts local festivals as well as Lovebox and Field Day – although quiet space for a picnic can always be found. London Fields is festivalesque at weekends, but also worth mentioning for its wildflower meadow. Hackney Marshes is worthy of a day trip – an afternoon walking here and you feel like you've left London behind.

The Arts

Dalston is a cultural and creative hub. The Arcola Theatre in Ashwin Street is one of London's leading off-West End theatres; the Rio is an independent Art Deco cinema in Kingsland Road showing both art and first release films; there is live jazz at Vortex in Gillett Square, one of London's foremost live jazz venues, and Café OTO, also in Ashwin Street, describes itself as pioneering "creative new music".


Primary schools State primary schools rated "outstanding" by Ofsted are: Holy Trinity CofE in Beechwood Road; Queensbridge in Queensbridge Road; Our Lady and St Joseph RC in Buckingham Road; Hackney New Primary School in Downham Road; St Paul's with St Michael's CofE in Brougham Road; and London Fields in Westgate Street. Gayhurst in Gayhurst Road, a popular primary school in London Fields, is judged to be "good".

Comprehensive schools The "outstanding" comprehensive school is Mossbourne (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Downs Park Road. The other comprehensive schools, all rated "good" are: Hackney New School (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Kingsland Road; The Bridge Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Laburnum Street; Haggerston (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Weymouth Terrace; City of London Academy Shoreditch Park (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Audrey Street off Goldsmiths Row; The Petchey Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Shacklewell Lane; City of London Academy Islington (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Prebend Street and The Urswick CofE in Paragon Road.

Private schools The three local private schools are: Rosemary Works School (co-ed, ages three to 11) in Branch Place; The Children's House Upper School (co-ed, ages five to seven) in King Henry's Walk (the associated nursery, which takes children from age two and a half, is in Elmore Street in Canonbury in Islington); North Bridge House Senior Canonbury (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Canonbury Place in Islington and St Paul's Steiner (co-ed, ages five to 14) in St Paul's Road, also in Islington.

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