Hackney City Farm might not be the biggest or best maintained urban farm in London, but it’s definitely very charming! We love the friendly East End vibe and usually combine it with a visit to one of the local Sunday markets.
Hackney city farm dates back to 1984 and is a true community farm created by the locals for the locals. It’s a great way for kids to take a break from their tablets, and get a taste (or sniff) of rural countryside life in the middle of the city. These days, the farm attracts locals, as well as a lot of visitors, and even if they don’t have the biggest range of animals you can find essential ones like pigs, donkeys and goats. We really like the ducks (and the ducklings in particular of course), geese as well as the chickens which are roaming freely around the farm courtyard adding to the laid back feeling
Activities at Hackney Farm
From the many activities and projects organised by the farm, we can mention children pottery sessions, beekeeping, bike workshop and animal therapy sessions. We were really impressed learning about all the social enterprises focused on improving the community and local environment. There is a local farm shop that we often stop by to pick up local produce and you can even pay for a fruit and veg box to be picked up on a weekly basis.
Frizzante Hackney farm cafe
While there are plenty of places to go for brunch in the area, we usually prefer the on-site farm cafe Frizzante if we can find a free table. This relaxing family-friendly spot serves rustic but delicious dishes and is well worth a visit. The cafe gets hectic during weekends, so make sure to arrive a bit early to increase your chances to find a free table. We love the lentil soup which is deliciously tasty and filling served with fresh sourdough bread (£6.50). There are also kids portions of around £5 such as pasta bolognese and pasta with pesto.
Hackney organic farm shop
If you’re fed up with all the plastic packaging, bring your own container to Hackney Farm and you can stock up on high-quality foods like nuts, grains, pasta, pulses, tinned goods, eggs, herbs and oils. You’ll pass the shop on your way to the farm, so make sure to check out their well-stocked shelves of high-quality organic products.
The farm is organising separate pottery classes for children and adults. Classes run on a drop-in basis, and there is no need to book in advance. The instructors will help you design and make your clay objects, and the price includes firing in the kiln. Note that with only two pottery wheels available in total you will not be able to spend a whole class using the wheel. It can take up to 3 weeks to get your piece fired for collection. Check the website for updated timings and prices.
Fruit and veg boxes
If you would like to try local organic food you can pick up fresh seasonal fruit and veg every week from the farm via the Growing Communities veg scheme. Just select the size of veg and/or fruit bag you would like to buy, set up a direct debit and then collect weekly from the farm. There are different quantities to suit different tastes and households.
Head to Hackney Farm in East London and let the kids experience real farm animals instead of the glossy versions found on YouTube.
Attractions nearby Hackney Farm
It’s a nice little playground in Ravenscroft Park, just next to the flower market. There are also plenty of other great farms to visit in the same area, like Stepney and Spitalfields if you would like to see more animals. We love visiting East London on Sundays enjoying the many markets starting at Columbia Flower Market walking down Brick Lane and further down Petticoat Lane. These markets might not be the best for toddlers in tow, but for school-age children the markets are fascinating.