London 2012: what to do near the Olympic Park

london-olympics-2012Areas around the Olympic Park have been bubbling with activity for some time. Hackney Wick in particular is a neighbourhood rich

with community and cultural life. Lower Clapton, a little further north, has seen a spate of new and interesting businesses.

Starting on Morning Lane in the middle of Hackney, grab a bite at Railroad (120-122 Morning Lane, E9, 020-8985 2858, The menu features seasonal food from various cultures, but that’s not the only draw: they hold readings and gigs in the basement space and have a tiny bookshop. If you’re after artisan sandwiches and cakes, Chatsworth Road in Lower Clapton offers great options. Our personal favourite, Cakey Muto (25 Chatsworth Road, E5, 020-8533 5788), serves cakes (obvs), Mr Hair’s Brighton pies and zany art. Bring your own mix CD, like The Hives have, and load it into the free jukebox. There’s also a great market here on Sundays from 11am-4pm.

The warehouses and industrial units of Hackney Wick, at the eastern end of Victoria Park, are home to several creative enterprises. Jamie Lowe’s antiques shop, Imperial & Standard (10 Felstead Street E9, 07754 553778,, doubles as a prop rental gallery, so he can make a living from but not have to part with his treasured items. Two doors up, the Pista Resistance bike shop (no phone, no website, not even a sign on the door – it’s that cutting edge) offers fixed-gear bikes (from £50 to £3,000) made almost wholly of recycled parts (some with beautiful Benotto frames). Swing by for a chat, or an education in the history of road riding from owner Pia. Round the corner is See Studio (13 Prince Edward Road, E9, 020-8986 6477,, owned by Hackney Wick champion Daren Ellis, and currently showing new works from British contemporary artist Nick Waplington.

Hungry? The Hackney Pearl (11 Prince Edward Road, E9, 020-8510 3605, is a brasserie with great homemade food; The Counter Cafe (7 Roach Road, E3, 07834 275920,, a canalside brunch spot, does possibly the best bacon sandwich in London. Those with a fatter wallet might try historic east London salmon smokery H Forman & Son (Stour Road, E3, 020-8525 2399,, which also houses a bar, fine dining eatery and art gallery with great Olympic views.

The Yard (Unit 2, Queens Yard, White Post Lane, E9,, a cross-cultural project between architecture and theatre junkies, plans to reopen in April this year, while word has it The Hive (Unit B16, 22 Smeed Road, E3,, a project and performance space, hosts very cool events ranging from trapeze artists to political talks and warehouse parties.

Make your way over to Stratford on the Greenway, a public walking/cycling path atop a Victorian sewer. If you’ve got the kids, hit story centre up Discover (383-387 High Street Stratford, E15, 020-8536 5555, for some hands-on imagination exercising and then The Pie Crust Café (273 High Street Stratford, E15, 020-8534 2873), which fronts as a greasy spoon, but is rumoured to serve the best Thai eats in the area.

Chloe McCloskey, publishing editor of, a hip guide to London

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