After visiting Big Ben and Westminster, the London Eye and Madame Tussaud’s, a traveller might get the impression that London is very … well… touristy. And we wouldn’t blame them, surrounded as we are by history, monuments, Beefeaters and the Union Jack. However, London is also an amazing hub of creativity, expression and transformation – basically, it’s pretty darn cool.

If you’re looking to soak up some of the city’s offbeat edge, there’s no better place to do it than Eat Work Art’s creative spaces in the bustling borough of Hackney. With a selection of venues that offer anything from daily markets to open air cinemas and early morning yoga, you’ll definitely find a little bit of local London within their gates.

Netil Market

Image courtesy of Netil Market. A card from The Naughty Little Card Shop.

Next door to creative co-working space Netil House, Netil Market is home to permanent traders every day of the week, with a special Saturday Market that hosts fantastic food stalls, vintage stalls and original hand-made designer crafts. Open from 11am- 6pm, you can expect to find bakers, a barber, florists and jewellers among their daily residents.

Directions from Clink.


Image courtesy of Netil360. A rooftop cinema screening.

Referred to as the rooftop of East London, Netil360 is a fully licensed outdoor area and bar with amazing views over the city’s East End. Open to all and hosting a variety of events – from early morning yoga to late night open cinemas and ‘Summer Sunday’ sessions – Netil360 is a place to experience a London summer like a local… at least, a local in the know.

Directions from Clink.

Old Paradise Yard

Image courtesy of Old Paradise Yard.

From primary school to Tibetan Monastery to creative hub, Old Paradise Yard has seen its fair share of transformation. A hub of creativity and innovation, the residents of Old Paradise include an art gallery, recording studio, a DJ school, designers and a sewing studio – not to mention the I’klectik cafe and art lab, which promotes experimental contemporary art and is open from 9am- 5pm daily.

Directions from Clink.

The Village Green @ Hackney Downs Studios

Image Courtesy of The Village Green. A market day.

Hackney Downs Studios are real champions of independent businesses. The building houses a myriad of creative businesses in around one hundred studios. Seven permanent businesses are run from The Village Green, a courtyard space at the centre of the studios, where locals stop by to mingle and check out the creative talent.  You’ll find an art gallery, vintage florists, barbers, bicycle shops and a natural wellness centre. The sense of community at The Village Green is tangible. Those working in the permanent shops and the stalls that pop up on market days are always up for a chat. Feel free to head down for some good vibes from 9am- 5pm any day except Tuesdays.

Directions from Clink.

The Russet Cafe @ Hackney Downs Studios

Image courtesy of The Russet.

The Russet offers a variety of entertainment including music, art, theatre, film and dance, as well as serving rustic seasonal food, made with love. With an inner creative space and outside Secret Garden (where they raise their own With an inner creative space and outside Secret Garden (where they raise their own quails), The Russet was founded with the intention of connecting people. Visit them Monday through Sunday for London’s version of a nice warm hug.

9am- 5pm Monday, 9am- 11pm Tuesday to Thursday, 9am- Midnight Friday, 10am-Midnight Saturday, 10am- 11pm Sunday.

Directions from Clink.

We hope you enjoy the adventure into local London, though beware- the HIPSTER is everywhere!

Planning a trip to London?  Find out more about Clink78 and Clink261, or visit our group accommodation page to find out more about our rates and best deals.

Written by Caitlin (A.K.A. The Indie Butterfly).

Caitlin is a writer, traveller and part-time superhero. Currently living in London, read more of her work on her blog, or stalk her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.