Sunday is a day of dreams. As easy as Lionel Ritchie, with a soft hangover hanging in the air, it was a day made for eating, strolling, relaxing and rebooting. (Speaking of which, check out our guide to Hackney’s best pubs.) And guess what? Your Sunday is about to get a whole lot easier because we’ve done all the hard stuff for you, planning a full day out of enjoyment in East London. All you’ve got to do is follow our lead and stuff yourself with all-you-can-eat lasagne at the end of the day. Simples.
9am – Columbia Road Flower Market
There couldn’t be a brighter or sweeter smelling way to start a Sunday than Columbia Road Flower Market. The road began its life as a pathway for sheep to be driven down on their way to the slaughterhouses at Smithfield but now the scenes couldn’t be more different, with rainbows of colour lining the street and jovial pitch owners shouting out with that cockney twang that never fails to make you smile. Say hello to George (our fave stall owner) – he’s been on the market since 1949 and he’s got a few stories to tell.
After you’ve ambled through the market, make sure you stop for a coffee at the picture perfect Lily Vanilli bakery. Her Instagram feed is the prettiest around – and her cakes taste even better than they look. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and you’re feeling nostalgic, the excellently named Suck and Chew has just about every single sweetie you could dream of, lined up in glass jars like the good old days. There are also some great vintage clothes shops and cute independent galleries in the area, and if you’re looking to buy a gift for someone, Choosing Keeping has a gorgeous array of hand-decorated notebooks and special craft fountain pens that will send any stationary-obsessive into a total spin.
11.30am BRUNCH (what else) at Mr Buckley’s, Hackney
Mr Buckley’s recently turned three years old and they’ve only got better with age. A mecca on the now almost-too-cool Hackney Road, the restaurant is named after William Buckley, who upon being denied entry to the exclusive Hackney Road United Radical Club, attempted to burn the building down whilst 250 people were attending a ball. The ashes have long cleared and what stands instead is an understated development serving up a great brunch on the weekends. The menu includes all the classics but the grilled cheese sandwich (with a fried egg on the top if you’re feeling in need) is really something special. Team that with a Bloody Madison, a twist on the Bloody Mary made from bacon-infused bourbon, and you’ll be ready to take on even the meanest of hangovers.
2pm Explore the Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road
Pottering around this stunning set of 18th century almshouses is a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon and presents a welcome break from the hordes of queues outside the bigger names on the London museum circuit. The collection focuses on the home and the way we live, showcasing the changing tastes and styles in 11 period rooms, spanning from 1600 to present day. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens, it’s an absolute oasis in the heart of the city and if you haven’t been before, it’s our tip top pick for the weekend.
4pm Take a stroll down Regents Canal to London Fields
Regents Canal is a 14km canal, linking the Paddington arm with the River Thames at Limehouse. Always buzzing with cyclists and joggers, joining the route at any section is a pleasurable way to stretch the legs and get a bit of London in your lungs before Sunday lunch…Dinner..? Linner? Lupper? (Brunch always throws timings a bit off-kilter). Potter all the way down until you reach Broadway Market and prepare yourself for the best part of the day….
6pm Sunday Lasagna is the new Sunday Roast at Lonzo, London Fields
Sundays are made for eating indulgently. For a delicious alternative to a roast, head to Lonzo near London Fields, where an all-you-can-eat lasagne feast awaits. Aptly named ‘Nostalgic Gluttony’, you can expect heart-warming, soul-nurturing food. Lonzo was opened by one of Hackney’s favourite Italian restaurants, Lardo, earlier this year. They’ve converted the warehouse space, filled it with lights, wine shelves, a stove, the irresistible smell of hot bread and a huge wooden table in the centre of the room.
Guests can come in, pull up a chair, taste the wine, nibble on some freshly baked bread, before tucking into some crispy on-top, gooey in the middle lasagne. The menu changes from week to week, but a Secret London favourite is the oxtail and beef cheek lasagne. Vegetarian options, which are equally delicious, include a pumpkin and goat’s cheese variation, and you can have as much of the stuff as you want, meaning you’ll be well on the way to a Sunday evening food coma. And if you have room (make room, it’s worth the bloat), then top it all off with a slice of sweet apricot tart and ice cream.
Now we’re ready for a snooze.