Stoke Newington is north London’s village. With no tube station, it feels out of the way and quiet. It’s not the coolest area of London any more, but it could be one of the nicest. In this peaceful part of the capital there’s a band of indie shops. Great bars line the road down to Dalston and large Jewish, Quaker and Turkish communities contribute cuisine and culture. Swot up with our handy area guide for the best gyms, brunches and places that feel like home. You’ll soon be stalking Stokey like a local.
N16 has been trendy for the last decade, but when Daniel Defoe lived here in the 17th century it was little more than countryside. There’s still Defoe Road, leading off Church Street, but any Robinson Crusoes would be overwhelmed by choice in the area now.
The main roads are Stoke Newington Church Street, which is the area’s central string of local shops, and Stoke Newington High Street, which marks the eastern edge of the region and plunges down to deepest darkest Dalston. Clissold Park is one of Stokey’s main draws for exercise bunnies. Surrounding a Grade II-listed mansion, the Victorian park with a playground, has a butterfly park and a herd of fallow deer too.
The Clissold Leisure Centre pool is the nearest pool in the area. Look out for summer screenings on the green from Luna Cinema. More Yoga has been opening good-value London studios everywhere in 2017, including one in Stoke Newington. The Castle Climbing Centre is a great place for rock-hoppers and it’s set in a former Victorian water pumping station. It’s the health-conscious café on site that makes this centre a standout venue, whether you’re a seasoned climber or a curious first-time scrambler.
If you’re a fan of Angel’s Upper Street, Church Street in Stoke Newington is more of the same, though it weans you slowly off the chains and onto its own independent stores. Food comes courtesy of Whole Foods, and locals also visit Stoke Newington Green opposite, a traditional grocers with organic fruits and vegetables.
A trendy new butchers, Meat N16, doubles as a delicatessen and a farmer’s market is held every Saturday from 10am at St Paul’s Church. Get up early or all the best bread will be gone.
There are two pub stalwarts on the Stoke Newington scene that always deserve a mention. The Jolly Butchers is massive and always buzzing. Set on a busy road, it’s always lively, and there are usually around 30 different ales to sample. The Auld Shillelagh pours a very good Guinness, shows the local Arsenal games, and is considered very authentic for an Irish pub outside Ireland.
If you like your drinks shaken, not drawn, try Original Sin, a cocktail bar with a suitably crepuscular atmosphere, or head towards Dalston to dive even further into the drinking underbelly of the area in the basement of Ruby’s Bar and Lounge. Even further south, High Water served seasonal cocktails, but space is often tight.