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 markets.
Hackney city farm dates back to 1984 and is a true community farm created to let locals and children 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 on the city farm
From the many activities and projects organised by the farm, we can mention children pottery session, 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.
Great family-friendly neighbourhood and cafe
We often visit the Haggerston Park playground nearby, which together with the flower market form a nice chid friendly “package” for a Weekend visit. 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. Note that it’s usually very crowded during lunchtime on the weekends.
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.
Looking strictly at the facilities and the animals Hackney City Farm is not taking the first place among London farms. Still, it’s one of our favourites thanks to the great vibe and the cafe.
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.