Describe your area in three words: Chill but fun.
Coolest coffee spot: SHEDlondon by Haggerston station. Grab a takeaway caffeine kick for yourself and a cheese stick for your little one and head to the nearby Stonebridge Gardens, where you will find a little playground and Leon’s favourite spot for train-watching. I also like Better Health, which is a bakery so it’s best to go in the morning for fresh buns and flat whites.
Best family-friendly restaurant: Toconoco on the canal walk. Its a family-run Japanese cafe with rice balls that are lovely for little hands to grab, awesome teas and coffees (try the black sesame latte), and a lovely play area with a toy kitchen. They are also super-friendly and definitely don’t mind a little bit of mess or children grabbing matcha sticks off the shelf. I also like Curio Cabal, which is technically not that baby-friendly – there are two steps up to the entrance, which is a struggle with a pram – but very yummy and Leon always feels very welcome watching fish in the big tank, eating brownies and making friends with local dogs.
Favourite park or green space: Apart from Stonebridge Gardens, we love walking by the canal and feeding the birds – it’s also so easy to get everywhere via the canal. Shoreditch Park has a pond and a proper forest vibe, and then there’s the wonderful Hackney City Farm. De Beauvoir Square is beautiful as well. Finally there’s Dalston Curve Garden, which is not technically in Haggerston but it’s only a 10-minute walk away.
Best local museum or gallery: I was about to say the Geffrye Museum but it’s just closed down for renovation, so the V&A Museum of Childhood and Museum of London are our closest ones now.
Coolest kids’ shops: I’m not sure if there’s anything super-close but I really love Luna & Curious just by Arnold Circus.
Favourite under-5s class/activity: We are not necessarily very local with these and I’m still exploring more local ones. We love to sit in Broadway Market drinking babyccinos and making friends, as well as trips to Hackney City Farm, Mrs H and the Sing-along Band in Exmouth Market, and pretty much anything happening in Dalston Curve Garden.
What makes your area great?: Haggerston itself is quite small but it’s so close to everywhere – I didn’t realise I was within walking distance of Shoreditch, Angel, Hackney and Dalston until I moved. There are so many places to explore! It’s also in between all the loud party areas while remaining quite quiet and with a village atmosphere.
What’s the best thing about living in London?: It’s never boring! I I’m in love with the arts and culture scene, the people I meet, and people’s attitudes – which are generally quite laid back (or at least in comparison with people in my hometown in Lithuania).
And the worst?: Trains during rush hour.
Photo credit: Aleksandra Kingo