We love Columbia Road for the people, the diversity, the culture, the grit and the fact that everything and anyone are accepted.
We live in a renovated and extended East End terraced house. It was affordable when we first moved here 22 years ago. We were drawn to the house because there is a communal green in front of it which everyone uses like a garden. It seemed so lush compared to no green space in sight in previous rentals.
Columbia Road Flower Market is round the corner, Shoreditch is on our doorstep, it was where we wanted to be. The neighbourhood has an energy that we really gravitate towards. It feels like you live in a village.
Best eating and drinking
Brawn for consistently great food, Campania for the best Italian possible, Laxeiro for good, affordable tapas.
The Royal Oak is a legendary pub and although our friend and owner for years has left now, it will always have a soft spot in our hearts. All our favourites are on Columbia Road itself.
Where I work out
Normally you’ll find Kyle doing chinups in Haggerston Park, running round Victoria Park or lifting some weights in the Shoreditch House gym. Jo does yoga at Stretch on Ada Street or on Jesus Green.
For a culture fix
Our lifestyle store Goodhood on Curtain Road, of course. If not there, head up to Broadway Market and visit Donlon Books and Artwords bookshop.
To commune with nature
There are so many amazing parks nearby. We like Victoria Park for its massive expanse and Epping Forest to get a bit more lost in nature. There is a secret tree swing there too.
Haggerston Park is a bit hidden and never too packed. There is a wall that goes all the way round part of it and inside there used to be a housing estate that go bombed. Because of the wall you can’t see the main part of it. There is a really nice little woodland area. Our kids did their forest school classes there. It has a tennis court and Hackney City Farm is on the edge of it.
The Grocery on Kingsland Road has everything we need and it always plays music. How often do you go grocery shopping and hear good music as you shop? Hackney Essentials on Columbia Road is a great arrival to the street. They sell homeware and fine foods from local producers.
We generally walk everywhere. A stroll along the canal is a particular favourite thing to do.
Columbia Road has a good mix of independent shops and barista coffee spots, great restaurants and a decent pub. All with friendly faces within a stone’s throw from our house. Coffee and sourdough, as clichéd as it might be, are fairly important to our lives.
Something you only see in Columbia Road
Our community. After living somewhere for 20 years you get to know a lot of the faces. That’s what makes this place special for us.
What’s the catch?
Maybe it’s a bit too much of a destination now — and the house prices have become generally unaffordable which I think has changed the vibe in recent years.
In three words
Kyle: Friendly faces everywhere.
Jo: Cultural melting pot.
What it costs
Buying in E2
Average sold price: £651,406
Renting in E2
Average rent pcm: £1,965
Columbia Road has several nearby primary schools rated outstanding or good including Virginia Primary School, Columbia Primary School and Hague Primary School. For secondary education, Darul Hadis Latifiah Secondary School & College, Haggerston School and Oaklands are all deemed good.