Today I’m going to talk about the reason that I moved here in the first place; the magnificent Clissold Park. Fifty six acres of glorious, sprawling communal space which is used by residents and visitors for a myriad of reasons all year round. Originally the playground of philanthropist and anti-slavery campaigner, Jonathan Hoare, the park has everything that anyone could need to pass an afternoon. Two lakes, tennis and basketball courts, running circuits, a bird and deer sanctuary, a children’s play area and a skate park. In the summer the park is dominated by picnickers and friendly gatherings on the green space, while the winter is perfect for a romantic walk with a loved one; our Ivar Parka jacket is more than warm enough to stand up to a harsh winter roam around its grounds.
Abney house, which sits in the centre of the park was once the house of Mr Hoare in the the later half of the 18th century, but is now, fortunately for us, the delightful Clissold Park Cafe (@clissold_park_cafe) with the best selection of cakes for every kind of sweet tooth. In the winter you can take a table out front of the old house and warm yourself with a hot chocolate whilst enjoying the view. One quick tip for the summer months is the now not so secret Romeo and Giulietta Gelateria. Less than half a mile from the park, this place makes ice cream like you’ve never tasted before. The two challenges that it puts forward are, which one of the incredible flavours to choose (I’d recommend their walnut and fig combo), and managing to get the thing back to the park to enjoy a nice walk without finishing it before you get there. The park grounds also have an aviary which is home to Lovebirds, Parakeets, Budgerigars and Zebra Finches. Next to them live too Billy Goats, one called Bob and one called Dylan (I wonder if the keepers are folk fans). The largest enclosure is home to seven Fallow Deer, one buck and six does. Deers and Clissold Park go way back and have been residents to the grounds since 1890, when the park first became a public space.
From time to time I bump into some of our customers in the park and have a quick chat about the things they have bought or the weather. In fact, it’s quite difficult not to see someone you know or at least recognise from the community in the park, especially in the summer and especially when out running (which can be a little distracting!). At just about about one mile around its skirts, it is an ideal jogging circuit where I can easily track how far I have run or how far I am willing to go (depending on whether one of Stoke Newington’s many fine pubs got my custom the night before)! Which brings me nicely onto my next point...
Stoke Newington has pubs in abundance! So many that if you tried to go to them all in one week, you might just find yourself divorced. Needless to say, we al have something which a pub great to us. The atmosphere, the location, the food, the selection of craft ales on tap, the beer garden, whether they allow dogs, etc... The Archie Foalers have developed a few favourites to which we call in when a certain mood requires, and we would love to share them with you. For the atmosphere we love The Auld Shillelagh; just one minute towards the high street from the shop, this great little pub is always lively and a great place to have summer evening drink. Its narrow bar and busy atmosphere add to its cosy feel, and if you can make it to one of their live music nights, you won’t be sorry. For food we venture a little further down onto Barbauld Road. The Londsborough does the best roast in these parts but everybody knows it, so book ahead if you don’t want to be disappointed! For a quieter, more relaxed vibe, we would definitely recommend The Prince of Wales on Kynaston Road. Spacious and warm, this pub is off the main road so is a little more of a well kept secret. Perfect spot for a date!
If pubs aren’t your thing then you will find solace in knowing that Stoke Newington has some of the best cafe’s in London, and right next to the Prince is a little place called Ester’s. A great place for an early morning catch up with an old friend or perhaps a birthday breakfast. Back up onto Church Street there is The Good Egg. Most people know the reputation that The Good Egg has for it’s food, and it gets rather busy at the weekends so be prepared to wait a bit for its Middle Eastern inspired menu.
Many places in London have been described as feeling like its own little village within a big city, and for me, that is exactly how Stoke Newington feels. There is a growing community of small businesses selling quality goods based around unique ideas and ideologies, and as a company who cares about the things that we make and their impact on the worlds condition, we feel right at home here in this warm and positive community. Not just for the pubs, the cafes, the parks but the people who inhabit them.