Itinerary Location: Stoke Newington & Highbury | Duration: 3-5 Hours
The lazy day on the weekend is something of a paradox because, in order to maximise all that indulgence, the very best ones actually require quite a lot of effort.
So we decided to solve the conundrum… by doing the hard work for you. Lo-and-behold, we’ve put together a full itinerary for a magnificently easy day in Stoke Newington, filled with interesting little boutiques, verdant parks, and a whole lot of profoundly delicious food.
We start our journey at Stoke Newington Station, which is just a five minute stroll to Stoke Newington Church Street…
➊ THE GOOD EGG | ELEVENSIES
Church Street has everything you could really want from a pleasant day out in the city. There are bars, restaurants, shops, cafes, parks, bakeries and – would you believe it – churches. It’s like its own dinky little micro-neighbourhood. And despite the fact that its entire length is strollable in only fifteen minutes or so, within that small span it packs enough overwhelmingly pleasant interruptions to ensure your walk could easily take the better part of the day.
With that in mind, we’re going to kick the proceeding off with a takeaway slice of wonderful, sweet, soft babka from The Good Egg, and we’re going to get our caffeine fix from, well, The Caffeine Fix a couple of doors down.
➋ BROWSING THE BOUTIQUES | 11.30AM
Next up, as we literally tear through that babka, our next several stops will be into the street’s many wonderful little boutiques. Keep an eye out for:
Hub – This appropriately named one-stop carries a wealth of beautifully designed clothes, accessories, toiletries, books, chocolates, and more.
Nook – An independent boutique showcasing good design, whether it be in the form of kitchen tools, office supplies, living room accessories, or wellbeing goods.
Array – Ostensibly a menswear shop, look a little below the surface and you’ll find a gender-neutral, homeware-filled, accessory-laden treasure trove.
Search & Rescue – One of those places you just can’t walk past without sating your curiosity by popping in, S&R has every little beautiful, vintage, mid-century homeware you could dream of.
Mother Kelly’s Bottle Shop – Like good beer? Here are 300 bottles of the stuff from across the globe. Don’t like good beer? Well, they have organic wines, ciders, spirits, chocolate, chutneys and cheese too.
Of Cabbages & Kings – If you want to decorate your walls and/or shelves, then this print shop is the place to do it.
Two Wheels Good – “Cycling is a very broad church, we have customers and staff from all denominations.” …this pretty much sums up the inclusive mission statement of this charming little bike shop.
Then, as we each the end of Church street, we find ourselves passing the toweringly grand St Mary’s Church, and being guided directly into the Church Street gate of…
➌ CLISSOLD PARK | NOON-ISH
There’s a lot to do in Clissold Park. In fact, this park has – among other things – 55 acres of open space filled with walks, lakes, sports facilities, playgrounds, and precisely one zoo.
Right in the middle of the place you’ll find the Grade-II listed Clissold House, where one young Eliza Crawshay lived in the 1800s. She was conducting a secret affair with a local reverend, Augustus Clissold, so her father built a wall around the entire estate to keep the amorous young rascal out. And it worked… until the old man died. Then Eliza inherited everything, installed a few gates, married her lover, and now the whole place bears his name. Way to go mister Crawshay, you played yourself.
After saying hello to the swans, catching a glimpse of the deer, and taking a peek at the aviary, we can continue our journey westwards and out of the Whitehouse Gate…
➍ BOOKBAR | 1PM
…then a short 5 minute stroll up Mountgrove Road takes us straight to the doorstep of Bookbar. But wait, you ask, is this a bar? Or a bookshop? And the answer is yes. It is. Because you can browse the shelves of interesting page-turners while trading yourself to a glass of something red, white, bubbly, or (if it’s a little too early) a nice latte. Literature-wise, the place is particularly good with their recommendations, often championing books long before they become best-sellers, so feel free to ask one of the staff what they’ve come across recently.
After that, some sufficient hunger has probably been built up for you to head out quite literally across the road and around the corner to…
➎ TOP CUVÉE | 1.30PM
You could easily while away a couple of hours in Top Cuvée. Probably one of the best restaurants in North London, and it won’t break the bank either – there’s usually a decent set lunch menu to be had, too. The vibe inside is clean and unfussy, with a lot of wood, white tile, and pendant lights, in the vein of a relaxed Parisian bistro. The food is simple & delicious with a slightly rustic edge (think bavette steaks; moules with bacon & cider; pea & butter bean cassoulet, etc.), but the wine that goes with it is the real star of the show. These guys helped pioneer the natural wine movement in the UK, and they have some wonderful, interesting, and (again) reasonably priced bottles…
…which you can also get from their off-licence which is conveniently located right around the corner, and is called, you guessed it, Shop Cuvée.
➊ The Good Egg | 93 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0AS
➋ Church Street | Stoke Newington
➌ Clissold Park | Stoke Newington
➍ BookBar | 166 Blackstock Road, N5 1HA
➎ Top Cuvée | 177B Blackstock Road, N5 2LL
Fancy hanging around? Here’s our handy guide to Stoke Newington…