This hidden gem is well worth seeking out. Arguably one of London's larger city farms, there is an abundance of animals from all the farmyard favourites to tropical birds and even some alpacas. A beautiful shire horse gives cart rides in the summer months and there are regular events for all the family. It's free to get in and there is plenty there to keep you coming back.
Stansfeld Road, Beckton, London, E6 5LT
Closest station: Royal Albert DLR
Bus: 300, 376, 262
+44(0)20 7474 4960
With the chaos and cars of Kingsland Road, Dalston’s busy high street just around the corner, the Farm Shop on Dalston Lane makes a welcome escape. Slightly bizarre stark white décor greets you on arrival in their first room with ‘aquaponic’ fish tanks and a wall of plants. There are signs explaining that the water is circulated between the fish tanks and the plants and this is all harvested off the roof, which incidentally is where they keep their chickens! Wandering through the shop is more like a science museum with gems of sustainable inspiration and you can even hire out the polytunnels for parties complete with a disco ball! Once you’ve finished exploring the shop sells a range of delicious foodstuffs – from London honey to today’s eggs to fish to fairtrade organic coffee. There’s also often art on the walls up for grabs and the café serves the best bacon sandwich in London! Much loved and recommended for an intriguing shopping experience – who knows, you could come away with a chicken!
At the end of Columbia Road you can cross a busy road and find yourself at the Hackney City Farm. It’s a little oasis of life’s simple pleasures; you can eat a hearty meal at the bustling café before visiting the chicken’s, goats and pigs and see city children squeal in delight chasing a duck or petting a sheep. On my last visit I saw a demonstration on how to shear a sheep and how to yarn wool. In a city obsessed with style and fast living this is the perfect way to get reacquainted with your country loving self.
From ‘farm to fork’ may be expecting a bit much for a city farm but with responsibly sourced, lovingly cooked food and a farmhouse setting - breakfast at Hackney City Farm is not just about the grub. We love coming with friends, to enjoy a top quality full English, though it's great for families too. The animals (and the farmyard smell) make you feel one step closer to the countryside which beats any greasy spoon I know! On a Saturday follow breakfast with a visit to Broadway Market or on Sunday, Columbia Road Flower Market is always colourful.
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