Why I live in Haggerston: Martha Freud on why her cool east London area feels like old Battersea


was born and raised in Battersea and had always lived in west London, but my partner, Adam, was passionate about moving east and I was ready for a change. We’ve been here eight years now.

It feels like the Battersea that I knew growing up, which was a cool area of London that embraced local artists and different cultures. My family home was also on an early Victorian square with a school next door, so there is a lot that feels very familiar.

Best eating and drinking

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to food — there are new places opening all the time and I go back to favourites again and again.

Brat at Climpson’s Arch serves bread and butter that made me feel like I’d never eaten bread and butter before. It blew my mind.

The Towpath cafe next to the Regent’s Canal is the perfect, relaxing spot to grab coffee and cake

/ Daniel Lynch

The Towpath cafe is Haggerston’s worst-kept secret. The people who work there are so warm, and sitting on the canal is just dreamy. E5 Bakehouse on Mentmore Terrace is a gorgeous place to go for a coffee, and we’ve also got the original Chick ’N’ Sours on Kingsland Road.

My local is the Duke of Wellington on Haggerston Road. It’s an old-school, sticky carpet pub — and it’s thriving. It’s really vibrant and alive in the summer. The Duke of Richmond on Queensbridge Road is the perfect gastropub. It’s run by a family and they truly understand a children’s menu.

The E5 Bakehouse on Mentmore Terrace is a favourite for coffee and fresh bread

/ Daniel Lynch

Where I work out

My top exercise tip is: go to the Popfit class on a Saturday at Fieldworks Dance. I have a stupid grin on my face from beginning to end and come out drenched in sweat.

I work from a home studio so I like to exercise outdoors when I can. I swim in the London Fields Lido a lot and love to see the sky and the trees. It is heated year-round.

You can while away time sitting by the Regent’s Canal or take a stroll along the towpath

/ Daniel Lynch

To commune with nature

Haggerston Park has lots of different areas: the woodland, the farm and the fields. It’s really beautiful to walk around and not too big.

Every year the wildflower meadow returns in London Fields and it’s such a vision. People enjoy and respect it so much. In Stonebridge Gardens, which is our local park, they’ve stopped mowing a metre or so around every border. They’re giving those areas back to nature.

I also love walking down the canal to Victoria Park, especially at the weekend when all the food trucks are out.

The annual wildflower meadow in London Fields is ‘a vision’

/ Daniel Lynch

For a culture fix

I love Dalston Library on Dalston Square. We go there a lot as a family and the staff are so welcoming. Libraries are one of our most unappreciated services.

There’s the E8 Art Trail twice a year, when artists open their studios and you get to go in and see how they work. We tried to go to the new Young V&A on a recent school strike day but everyone had the same idea — the queue was around the block.

I’m really active at the local school and it does amazing international food evenings. It’s a diverse neighbourhood and it tries to celebrate all of the different communities.


Grocery shopping

We get our fruit and veg from Growing Communities, a non-profit scheme that sources everything as locally as possible. It’s so nice to eat like that — I feel in touch with the seasons through the vegetables that are stocked in our larder. You really notice when spring comes in.

I’ll top up at Broadway Market and all of the organic shops down there, or at Netil Market.

The thriving Broadway Market is full of locally sourced and organic produce

/ Daniel Lynch

Getting around

The low-traffic neighbourhoods make cycling feel really safe around here, so I cycle as much as I can. I love it.

Haggerston Overground connects to Whitechapel for the Elizabeth line and Highbury & Islington for the Victoria line. Being from Battersea, it feels like the most connected place on the planet.

Dream street

Albion Square, where I live! The community is so tight and the relationship with the local school is beautiful. Everyone looks out for each other.

Something you only see in your area

Before it banned barbecues, London Fields was like a festival every weekend, with the smoke and the sound systems and the smell of fried chicken. It still has some of that feeling when the sun shines.

London Fields has a festival feel on sunny days

/ Daniel Lynch

What’s the catch?

It’s a personal one — apparently there’s very good nightlife around here but these days I like to be in bed by 10pm.

In three words

Inclusive. Creative. Celebratory.

Martha Freud released her debut capsule collection of limited-edition candles and tableware last year (marthafreud.com)


There is a cluster of ‘Outstanding’ primary schools in the area, including Queensbridge Primary School, Hackney New Primary School and Sebright School.

Haggerston School is a ‘Good’ secondary, as are Waterside Academy and The Bridge Academy.

What it costs

Buying in Haggerston

Average flat price: £507,160

Average property price: £712,340

Renting in Haggerston

Average flat, pcm: £2,320

Average house, pcm: £3,770

Source: Hamptons & Land Registry


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