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Your guide to... Stoke Newington

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If you happen upon Stoke Newington, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a village. Nestled in north London with no tube line does give Stokey a “far out” feeling, but spend a day there and you’ll instantly understand the area’s appeal. So appealing that it’s attracted a number of famous residents over the years – including Paloma Faith, Barbara Windsor, Rupert Evans, and Nick Grimshaw, who still frequents the local pubs to this day…

We’ve got more than 250 ads to choose from in N16, so it’s definitely popular with flatsharers too. Wondering why? Let us take you through Stokey’s best bits, from outdoor space to an amazing foodie scene.

How do I get there?

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Stoke Newington is often slammed for its lack of tube line, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in a prime spot. Bordered by edgy Dalston, vibrant Hackney and bustling Finsbury Park, this neighbourhood is truly in the thick of north London.

Your easiest access is Stoke Newington station (London Overground), but if a walk doesn’t phase you too much it’s a 32 min stroll from Finsbury Park and the Victoria line or 27 mins to Manor House and the Piccadilly Line. The area is served by heaps of major bus and night bus services, so getting in and out of east and central London in the small hours isn’t a problem either.

What is there to do?

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The first and most obvious pull of Stokey is the amazing sprawl of restaurants lining its main roads, but we’ll get to that later.

You’re not short of culture here either. Rio cinema is a beautiful Art Deco buiding with a 100-year history, showing an eclectic programme of independent films. If books are more your thing, don’t miss the annual Stoke Newington Literary Festival – come June, it takes over local venues to celebrate the area’s radical literary history.

Adventure-seekers: hit up The Castle Climbing Centre for a bit of rock-hopping suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers. Or just head to Clissold Park and hit the athletics track instead – the 54-acre park also boasts table tennis, basketball, an adventure playground and a mini zoo with butterfly tunnel and aviary.

For a history lesson, Abney Park cemetery and The Old Church are both must visits. While hanging around a cemetery may sound like a darker way to have fun, Abney Park is truly magical. It dates back to Victorian times and hosts a nature reserve, as well as regular live music and events on site. The Old Church is London’s only surviving Elizabethan church, which was heavily bombed during the Blitz. It’s since been lovingly remodelled and is the true heart of Stokey, serving now as an arts and community space.

Where do I eat?

...make that, where don’t you eat. If you’re visiting N16, come with big pockets and an elasticated waistband – we can guarantee you’re gonna want to try EVERYTHING before you leave.

Brunch is best at The Good Egg. This neighbourhood restaurant has proved so successful there’s now a Soho branch, and it’s easy to see why – there’s frequently a queue out the door come Saturday morning. The menu offers Jewish and Tel Aviv twists on brunch classics, like Babka French toast with sweet labneh, a tasty shakshuka with preserved lemon yoghurt and za’atar sourdough, and a Jerusalem plate filled with eggs, pitta, dips and merguez.

Blue Legume is another good bet for a hangover-curing breakfast – the vegetable-focussed menu has every kind of egg imaginable, plus pancakes, rarebit and other morning favourites.

Italian lovers won’t go hungry here. Whether it’s oozing, thin crust Neopolitan pizza at Vicola di Napoli pizzeria, antipasti and seasonal plates at Osteria Wolf or Sardinian fayre at Il Bacio. Our favourite of all has to be Rubedo – a cosy neighbourhood wine bar that serves flavoursome European dishes alongside an outstanding wine list.

Thai is best at Yum Yum (preferably from one of their floor seats), and you’ll find the best Indian food at Rasa – a vegetarian restaurant specialising in Keralan cuisine.

And if you want to go all out in N16, do it at Primeur. Situated in a former garage space, this pricey restaurant has both style and substance – the menu changes daily, and can be found on a blackboard inside or on Instagram. The jist? Delicious small plates and a fantastic wine list. Credit cards at the ready…

And the drinks?

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Stokey excels at pubs. The Rose & Crown is a popular spot for board games and a lively atmosphere, while The White Hart is your best bet in summer – it’s got one of east London’s biggest beer gardens, and is a favourite of local celebrities (you heard it here first). Ryan’s N16 is ideal if you’re a craft beer lover.

If you’re more of a cocktail connoisseur, Original Sin is worth a look – it’s a narrow basement bar with dim lights, a chandelier, and an interesting cocktail list that’s packed with fruit and flavour. Perfect for date night.

Ruby’s is great for a proper knees up – this intimate bar has an adjoining lounge with live DJs, a dance floor and disco sounds come the weekend. Martinis and the macarena? We’re sold.

Resident of loveable Stokey? Let us know your favourite spots on Facebook.

Image credits: mildswearwords, Martin49, Ewan M, zongo.

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