"The great thing about Stoke Newington is just how well connected it is and easy to get to." Said no one, ever. While it might be a bit of a transport black hole, it well worth making the bus pilgrimage up the Kingsland Road to take a look around the N16 neighbourhood. Like all of London's best urban villages, it is the ones that are more backwaters that have all the hidden gems and more niche offerings. There are East London-bores (but really, what actually happens in West London) and Hackney-bores, but we are proud to be the worst of them all, Stoke Newington bores. Yes, this is a way of enticing you to 136 Stoke Newington Church Street to visit the shop. And once you have made the effort of travelling to what feels like as far as the M25 on the 73 bus, why not take up one of our other recommendations. Here goes....
- ABNEY PARK: a disused cemetery and aboretum. Feel like you are in the depths of a forest in the middle of London. Calming, beautiful and only the slightest bit creepy. If this isn't your thing, then dodge the scooters and buggies and joggers in CLISSOLD PARK.
- N16 does three things very well. It has taken what it is good at and really run with it: namely COFFEE SHOPS, PIZZA and, thanks to the Turkish flavour of the KEBABS. There are far, far too many of each to list in full, so just a few favourites.... ESTERS for coffee and the most amazing baking, think brown butter blondies. The current hot pizza ticket is DA MICHELE, supposedly - if you ignore the alleged legal wrangles - an offshoot of the best pizza restaurant in the world in Naples. Only two types - margerita or marinara - but amazing. And go "doppio" on the mozzerella, because why wouldn't you? And for a kebab, my firm favourite is the one next to Natwest that I'm not sure even has a name. Couple of pints in the Jolly Butcher first and that's your evening done. You could also go to TESTI - the clue is in the name there.
- We also have pubs. THE PRINCE, although not during the day during the week (apparently), MOTHER KELLY'S, more of a bottle shop than a pub but with a seemingly limitless selection, and for when you want food, THE AXE.
- There are also amazing shops other than us. HUB for men and for women. Rails of highly covetable Ganni and other labels. SEARCH AND RESCUE for interiors and the most giftable of gifts, and BOTANIQUE WORKSHOP for any thing green (they do our flowers).
You get the idea. Transport backwater? Perhaps. The place that food/style/culture forgot? Definitely not. My hand scribbled, highly inaccurate map has more ideas and suggestions. But, in short, get up here, it is way way way better than Clapham and only slightly harder to get to. But don't tell everyone.