Emerging Neighbourhood Guide: Newington Green
An area known as a haven for non-conformists, Newington Green has grown from a little misplaced patch of space in the middle of more hip neighbourhoods like Dalston and Hackney to become a thriving culture hub that still celebrates its radical past. In the 16th century, the small green (for which the area got its name) was surrounded by woodlands and just a handful of houses. It became popular as a hunting venue for aristocrats such as King Henry VIII and there’s a street that still bears his name until today.
It’s fascinating to see the difference that transport links can make to the cultural aspects of a neighbourhood. In the past, Newington Green was a badly connected part of town that had cheap rent and a lively immigrant population. When the London Overground extended in 2010 to include Canonbury (an 8-minute walk from the Green), it was as if the floodgates had opened and with it arrived the young, artsy professionals from neighbouring areas looking for the village-like feel and green spaces that they were starting to miss.
Image by Juno Dalb
Though housing prices have soared and there have been changes to the resident dynamic, Newington Green has retained its tree-lined streets, its alternative culture, and the gratuitous feeling of being just a little bit cut off from the rest of the world. If you’re looking to explore this little town of mavericks, we’ve rounded up the most less ordinary places for you to feel right at home.
Where to Eat
Eater London called Newington Green “the ideal dining neighbourhood”. Despite being on the onset of gentrification, the area is still bursting with independent restaurants that are delivering excellent food to the community. From munching on small plates at former garage-turned-eatery Primeur or its sister restaurant Jolene (featured in our piece on restaurants that pack a punch), or some fine dining at Perilla, to sorting out your caffeine fix at little kiosk Lizzy’s on the Green, it’s no wonder Newington Green has been hailed as one of the top culinary destinations in the city.
Image by Ash James Photography
What to See
Continuing on your foodie tour, make a stop at the town favourite Newington Green Fruit & Vegetables Market for some fresh fruits and vegetables to take home. After, pop into The Alma, the Victorian pub with movie posters adorning its walls. Once voted the most loved pub in the whole city, it’s also dog-friendly and does a killer Sunday quiz night. For a taste of history, head to the Newington Green Unitarian Church. Constructed in 1708, it is one of the longest-standing landmarks of the area’s rebellious past. Definitely worth a visit!
Where to Play
Green open spaces are what keep people flocking to the neighbourhood. Clissold Park, which opened in 1889, has had a Green Flag award for over a decade. Aside from getting up close and personal with wildlife like the resident fallow deer, Clissold Park boasts tennis courts, a children’s paddling pool, and even an organic food area where locals can grow their own produce.
If you're looking to ease both your mind and body, the gorgeous Fold Yoga studio offers carefully crafted yoga classes right in the heart of the neighbourhood. The teachers make it a point to build a community within their studio and regularly host events and get togethers for locals and students.
Words by Ina Yulo
Want to learn more about Newington Green? Check out our handy infographic