Long before it was considered one of the 'coolest places in Britain', funky young creative types flocked to Dalston to enjoy the buzzing nightlife, vintage shops and quirky cafes. Check out our guide for the lowdown on eating, drinking, living and generally enjoying the best of this East End hotspot.
History of Dalston
Dalston was originally one of four small villages in the Parish of Hackney, and even housed a leper hospital during the Middle Ages. Like the rest of London, it gradually grew with urbanisation and industrialisation during the 19thCentury until it became a bustling suburb. Immigration from Jamaica, Turkey, Vietnam and Poland during the last century has made modern-day Dalston a bustling multi-cultural area.
Cost of renting in Dalston
The recent gentrification of Dalston (particularly in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, as Hackney was a host borough) means that prices have begun to rise rapidly but are still not as high as many other areas of London. Dalston has a variety of properties, from terraced buildings to modern skyscrapers, so there is a type of architecture for every renter. Prices are currently 8% above the London average, and rising by around 8% every two years.
Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1,278 pcm
Most expensive rent for a two-bed flat: £3,420 pcm
Average Council Tax: £1000
Looking to rent in Dalston? Search for properties here.
Travelling from Dalston
Not only is Dalston just four miles from central London, it’s also well connected transport-wise. Although there is no tube station, there are multiple overground rail stations (check Dalston Kingsland, too), meaning that Liverpool Street is just a speedy 11 minutes away.
With a large communal table in the middle, walls covered in art and a delicious selection of homemade cakes, Tina is a second living room for many Dalston residents. Recently re-opened, it's now expanding into pop-up events, so get down there and see what’s going on! Oh, and it might just have the best name for a restaurant ever.Address: 47 King Henry’s Walk, London, N1 4NH
Described by Italian Vogue as the coolest cafe in London, Cafe Oto doesn’t need much more of an explanation! Come here for new music, unusual drinks and a cutting-edge crowd.
Address: 18–22 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London, E8 3DL
An independent restaurant run by husband and wife, Hash E8 is a moder-day British dinner with more than a few tasty and greasy treats on the menu. Once you've treated yourself to breakfast, lunch or dinner, chill out with authentic cocktails and some top tunes.
Address: 170 Dalston Lane, E8 1NG
Despite the fact that London offers pretty much every cuisine in the world, it’s not often that you come across a fantastic Turkish restaurant. Ignore the basic interior and pop in for authentic ocakbasi at a bargain price. You might even spot legendary artists Gilbert and George, who are rumoured to dine here every night.
Address: 4 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 8BH
Kingsland Road’s infamous Vietnamese restaurants make it hard to choose a favourite (there are so many it starts to feel like Hanoi!) but Song Que just pips the others to the post. It’s big, bustling, delicious and low-priced – and the pho is supposedly the best in London.
Address: 134 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DY
With a warmly-lit geometric wooden entrance, it’s immediately obvious that LN-CC is no ordinary luxury fashion boutique. Specialising in designer clothes, music and books, it also has a club space for private events, a gallery and a bar.
Address: 18 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, London, E8 2EZ
A beautifully decorated shop full of homewares and clothes, this is the place to come to find a quirky piece for your flat. If you have any money left after viewing the shop’s delights, check out the rum shack underneath!
Address: 40 and 81 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, London, N16 7XJ
The flagship branch of the famous London vintage franchise, Beyond Retro is hipster paradise of 70s dresses and 90s Adidas. Housed in a beautiful building and now with its own cafe, this is the ideal place to pass the afternoon in a retro time warp.
Address: 92 -100 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XB
This traditional East End food market is a Dalston institution, and is widely rumoured to have been the inspiration for UK soap Eastenders. There are plenty of fruit and vegetable stands, a 24-hour bagel bakery, and even a Turkish supermarket. Food shopping will never be the same!
Address: 51/63 Ridley Road, Dalston, London E8 2NP
While another Oxfam shop is nothing unusual, this one is whole different experience. Arguably the best in London, residents come to check out the new (often rare or designer) goods every morning, and it even has its own blog and twitter account.
Address: 514-518 Kingsland Road, E8 4AR
The roof of this former factory has been transformed into an amazing Astroturf event space, with pop-up bars, stunning views of London and a calendar full of cool summer events including outdoor plays and BBQs. It’s completely free to visit – just pop into the ground floor gallery and pick up a membership card.
Address: The Print House, 18 Ashwin Street, London, E8 3DL
Fancy seeing a film somewhere other than the local Odeon? Check out Rio Cinema, an independent picture house showing a mix of new releases and old classics. They even sell homemade cake, cups of tea and normal portions of popcorn, making it feel like a cinema in your living room.
Address: 107 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB
The perfect place to cool of on a hot summer day in the city, the London Fields Lido is an Olympic-sized pool that’s open all year round (and hopefully heated in the winter...). Facilities include a cafe, a large sunbathing deck, and you can even book swimming lessons if you want to work on your backstroke.