Rio cinema Take in the Art Deco Decor at the Rio Cinema

Visitors to the Rio cinema in Dalston will experience wonderful art deco exterior and interior décor which largely remains as you would have found it in the 1930s. The Rio is one of the largest independent cinemas in London, screening a variety of movies, from modern-day new releases through to community-made films.

For movie fans on a budget Monday screenings are at reduced prices, while the Sunday double bill offers two films for the price of one. Head to the Rio café where you will find offerings of locally sourced food and drink, as well as rare treats from further afield.

Hackney Picturehouse Watch the Big Screen at Hackney Picturehouse

Converted into a cinema in 2011, this former library offers an impressively designed interior for visitors to enjoy. There are five screens to choose from which includes East London’s biggest screen. As well as movies the Picturehouse stages theatre, ballet, live music and opera.

Why not head to their café-bar on Mare Street which fits in perfectly with the bustling hub which is Hackney. You can enjoy snacks and main meals, catering for different dietary requirements, before catching a movie on the big screen.

Hackney Empire Spend a Night at the Theatre

If you want to get your fill of live entertainment then Hackney can satisfy your appetite. Hackney Empire is a huge venue, originally constructed in 1901, by architect Frank Matcham.

It attracts some big names and productions (when he was alive and kicking, Charlie Chaplin walked the stage). On the smaller and more modern side, is the Arcola Theatre, a converted paint factory which is great if you’re strapped for cash – they have pay-what-you-can for tickets on Tuesday.

Broadway Market Spend a Lazy Sunday Morning at Broadway Market

It might be full of crowds, but Broadway Market is at its best on the weekend. The market will be on top form, with hot food, fresh vegetables and local produce up for grabs (they also have the most amazing Scotch eggs).

The pubs and cafes down the Broadway have a great reputation and bookworms will be in their element in the Broadway Bookshop which has a huge selection. If you’re after a recommendation then ask the owner Jane Howe – what she doesn’t know about books isn’t worth knowing.

Fassett Square Live Like a Soap Star on Fassett Square

Telly addicts and soap opera fans need to take a trip to Fassett Square. This square was the inspiration for the Eastenders set, Albert Square.

Although you may not find a Queen Vic pub, or a crazy Cat Slater crying in the street, you can find a nice spot in the communal garden and sulk about love, life and family until the credits role.

Hackney Museum Learn All About Hackney in Hackney Museum

Walking the streets gives you a good idea of how Hackney life is today, but if you want to learn about its past then visit the Hackney Museum.

You’ll discover all there is to know and uncover all the dark secrets, through interviews, artefacts and archives.

It never gets too busy here, so don’t worry about skipping it at peak times and don’t go away without a picture of the knitted town model, it’s absolutely adorable.

Hackney Walk Grab a Bargain at the Hackney Walk

This isn’t the largest collection of designer shops in London, but it could be the best.

If The Burberry Factory Shop is a little out your price range (yeah, I hear ya) then get your teeth into the likes of Nike and Matchesfashion.

It’s easy to navigate and it doesn’t get too manic if you’re not a lover of crowds.

Sutton House Get Spooked Out at Sutton House

This Tudor house was originally built in 1535 by Sir Ralph Sadler, a colleague of that lovely King, Henry VII. As one of the oldest domestic buildings in Hackney, it’s not surprising there are a few ghost stories levitating around.

The most famous ghost is believed to be Frances Machell, nicknamed the White Lady, who has passed through the bedrooms since she died in the house while delivering twins. Her friend, the Blue Lady, also haunts the bedrooms waking people in the dead of night by shaking their beds (yikes!).

If you’re feeling brave, don’t leave without seeing the squatters art from the 1980s and the Grange sculpture by Daniel Lobb in the Breaker’s Yard – it’s guaranteed to give you goosebumps even if the ghosts don’t.

Oval Space Dance Away at the Oval Space

Oval Space is one of the borough’s most beloved venues, it hosts international DJs more often than I change my socks (which is very often – just so we’re clear).

Inside it’s not much of a looker, but if you head out onto the decking there is the perfect view of the oval gas holders (where the space gets its name).

You’ll be gagging to take a picture so make sure your phone is fully charged and there’s enough memory for a quick snap. On your visit take a trip to the bathroom – the graffiti makes a very interesting read – trust me!

St Augustine’s Tower Climb St Augustine’s Tower and Peer onto the Rooftops of Hackney

You may need to keep your eyes peeled for St Augustine’s Tower. Although it’s tall, it can be easy to miss hiding behind the betting office in the town centre.

The Grade 1-listed tower was built way, way, way back in 1292, making it the oldest building in Hackney and why it appears on the Borough’s coat of arms.

The view from the top is sublime and if you’re lucky enough to get inside (it’s only open to the public on the last Sunday of every month), then take note of the graffiti on the walls, there are some ancient skulls and hourglasses on the stone next to the entrance.

Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History Be Gobsmacked by the Bizarre at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History

It’s difficult to walk past the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History and not wonder what lies behind the mysterious shop front. If you’re brave enough to step over the threshold then there is a weird and wonderful world to be discovered.

I won’t give too much away, but if you’re dying to sit next to a giant bear or see some Dodo bones then this is your lucky day. They also serve cocktails if you can handle sticking around long enough to finish a drink.

Hackney City Farm Experience Farm Life at Hackney City Farm

If you don’t want to stumble across farm life in the middle of the city, then I’m not sure we can be friends (I’m totally kidding, I’m always looking for new friends!).

Hackney City farm is full of animals and wildlife and it’s the best place to discover the smell of fresh manure. It may sound a bit gross, but it makes a welcome change from exhaust fumes and people on the underground – I swear.

The cafe is really cute and the beehives and bee workshops are so un-bee-lievable, you won’t be able to stop buzzing about them!

Hackney Wick Experience at Hackney Wick

Hackney Wick was a predominantly industrial area until the 2012 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park made it the trendy place it is today.

The canals provide a strong boating community and many of the barges are used as bookshops, pubs and shops.

The canals also provide a great walk and you can stumble across open studios or underground parties (if you time it right). Look out for Fish Island on a Friday night – you might be able to bag yourself an invite.

Beyond Retro Shop Ethically at the Vintage Beyond Retro

If you’re hunting down a second-hand piece or a vintage gem, then Hackney is a good place to start.
The best of the best is Beyond Retro, a huge vintage warehouse on the Northside of Dalston Kingsland station. They have a couple scattered across the city, but here you’ll find the greatest collection of jackets.

Museum of the Home A Walk Through Time at the Museum of the Home

Situated in a row of former almshouses in Hoxton, the Museum of the Home offers a fascinating look at domestic life through the ages. The museum was opened in 1914 and the rooms hold items dating back to the 17th century. Take a walk through rooms lovingly recreated from different periods of history.

Outside the museum is just as welcoming. Here you will find period gardens to match the periods depicted in the building, which in addition to the herb garden adds to a feeling of a little green oasis within the heart of the city.