An Insider Guide to Stoke Newington with Bellerby & Co Globemakers

Globemakers Peter Bellerby and Jade Fenster take us on a local’s tour of creative, community-minded Stoke Newington, visiting social enterprise homestores, artist’s studios and characterful old school pubs.

Read more about Bellerby & Co Globemakers, and other artisans keeping Britain's traditional trades alive in Volume 37: Craft.

Where can you buy a handmade globe in London? Stoke Newington, of course. Tucked into the leafy northeastern edge of Hackney, this yellow-brick neighbourhood is known for its village-like atmosphere, creative buzz and famously poor public transport connections (the only train line to the area is the overground). But the hard-to-reach reputation preserves this plucky postcode's best virtues. Community-spirited, a little anti-establishment (post-war communist party meetings were held in the local town hall), and home to hundreds of up-and-at-it creatives living and working between its elegant Victorian terraces, old Stokey always feels one step ahead of London trends.

Peter Bellerby and Jade Fenster in Stoke Newington
Old St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington, London

Peter Bellerby and Jade Fenster, left, and Old St Mary's Church beside Clissold Park. | Photo credit: DGR Photography /

Old man pubs back in business? They've been thriving up here for a few years. Deli culture exploding in Camberwell? Stoke Newington had an Italian corner store long before it was cool. No wonder, then, that Peter Bellerby and his partner Jade Fenster chose to set up Bellerby & Co Globemakers in the area. What started off as a living room business after Peter taught himself the art of globe-making now employs a 25-strong cohort of illustrators, painters and cartographers making a range of handmade globes from the company's leafy warehouse studio beside Abney park. It's fitting that a revisited traditional trade sits in a neighbourhood that's constantly refreshing and reimagining its dustier relics.

Read on for the duo's recommendations of how best to explore this London neighbourhood - including the independent boutiques and local creatives to keep on your radar.

London's Workshop: A Creative Guide to Stoke Newington

A breakfast dish at Esters Coffee in Stoke Newington
Interiors of Esters in Stoke Newington

Breakfast at Esters, left, and the coffee shop counter. | Photo credit: Jonathan Simpson

Give us a flavour of Stoke Newington.

Our neck of the woods is a bit cut off from the rest of London. There's no direct tube, so you rarely get the tourism crowds you find in other areas of the city. It gives it a village feel. There's a mix of young families (watch the strollers), professionals, creatives and plenty of beloved local characters, with a strong multicultural community including Irish, Turkish, Jewish and Afro-Caribbean families.

Weekends and evenings can get busy when people from surrounding areas arrive, but weekdays offer more of a village vibe.

Where should we head to get a feel for the neighbourhood?

Start in Abney Park Cemetery, just off Stoke Newington High Street. It's one of London's 'magnificent seven', a ring of ornate garden cemeteries opened in the 1800s but later abandoned to nature. Get lost on the smaller, overgrown paths, taking in the gothic monuments and gravestones between the trees.

Then, head to Stoke Newington Church Street and walk towards Clissold Park. Look for the ghost signs - the old painted signage of businesses long gone painted on walls and above modern stores.There's historic churches, cafés and great brunch spots all along the road. Then, duck into the park for a stroll. This beautiful green space has a lot packed into it: gardens, a bowling green, a skating area, fallow deer, goats, aviaries of birds, and an 18th-century manor house with a great café.

Diners at Acoustic Brasserie in Stoke Newington
A breakfast dish at Acoustic Brasserie

Diners at Acoustic Brasserie, left, and a dish from the breakfast menu.

Somewhere for breakfast?

Try The Good Egg for Tel Aviv-deli style plates and cute interiors. Their sabih is life-changing, but very messy (so don't order it on a date!). Esters has a short but creative menu of breakfast options and bake all their gluten-free breads in-house. We also like the take-away pastries at The Spence Bakery.

What about lunch?

The Green Room Cafe and Flower Shop plates up casual, healthy food and has a cute back garden. Or try The Acoustic Brasserie for mediterranean-inspired food.

And an evening drink?

We are spoiled for choice in Stoke Newington; we'd have different recommendations depending on the time of day, day of the week, and the weather. For something casual, though, The Auld Shillelagh is a real local's pub with lots of character. Same with The Three Crowns and The Shakespeare.

If you're wanting cocktails, slip inside the art deco interiors of Fontaines - our order is a paloma. For wine, try Yield N16. It's great for natural wines and has a really romantic outdoor area.

The window of Made in Little France, Stoke Newington
The interior of Made in Little France, Stoke Newington

Stoke Newington's independent wine shop, Made in Little France.

We're meeting for dinner - where are we going?

Where do we start? Escocesa, for Spanish tapas (pick the bar or the high tables for added ambience), or the Black Pig with Pearls for generous tapas servings and excellent service from Melvin. This ambient spot really feels like a home-from-home. Perilla is great for something special.

Any other gourmet suggestions?

You can pick up deli goods from Stokey's Delicatessen - their charcuterie is impressive. Made in Little France is a great independent wine merchant. Gallo Nero is a slice of Italy in the heart of Stokey - it's the real deal. We're talking proper parmigiano reggiano (26 months matured), slices of salame napoloi and stacks of Sicilian panettone. The tiramisu is to die for.

If you're wandering around on a hot day, duck into Romeo & Giulietta for fresh homemade gelato and ever-changing flavours, including proper, creamy vegan scoops.

What about cultural musts in the neighbourhood?

Check out St Mary's Old Church. It's a former chapel transformed into a not-for-profit arts organisation. They host events, performances and activities for the benefit of the local community. It's the only surviving Elizabethan church in the whole of London. In summer, their outdoor stage is used for live music.

Products on sale at Rouge shop, Stoke Newington
The store floor at Rouge Shop in Stoke Newington

Rouge Shop's curation of furniture, ceramics and textiles from Northern China.

Any other artisans or crafters doing interesting things in Stoke Newington?

There's businesses and artists tucked into every crook and cranny of this neighbourhood. For a flavour of what's hidden away in Stoke Newington, consider our studio neighbour, the incredibly talented John Nolan. We can spot his insanely realistic animatronics, which are used in blockbuster films, from our window.

We recommend homeware store and social enterprise Revere the Residence, founded by Kate Revere. The store employs young adults with a disability, as well as parents of disabled children. Kate was inspired by her teenage daughter, Piper, who is autistic, profoundly deaf and very creative. They both have a passion for interiors, styling, art and finding unusual homeware objects from new independent creators.

We like Rouge Shop, too. It's been here since 2005 and offers a careful selection of rustic, vintage and contemporary furniture from Northern China, plus handmade ceramics and unique textiles. They also run craft sessions in sashiko stitching and indigo dye workshops.

If you're interested in exploring the creative community in the area, the Chocolate Factory opens their doors to the public once or twice a year. Its studios are home to artists, authors, illustrators, ceramicists, printmakers and more. You can visit, view their work and buy direct from the makers.

Modern craft objects at FOLKA
Inside Stoke Newington's Folka shop

Crafted goods on offer at FOLKA, left, and the shop interior. | Photo credit: Ola O Smit

Any must-visit boutiques or shops?

Try Array for gender neutral clothing and Sonia Taouhid for beautiful handmade garments produced by a boutique atelier and custom-made to your measurements. Head to art historian and pajaki-chandelier-maker Karolina Merska's FOLKA for objects of modern craft, folklore and one-of-a-kind pieces from around the world. Prep deals in nice kitchenware and Bless offers an ever-changing edit of beautiful lifestyle goods.

Tell us about a place only locals know…

The neighbourhood is famed for its Turkish food - there's gözleme restaurants around every corner. Two of the best-known spots are Cirrik and Testi, but if you head down Green Lanes you'll find some other amazing restaurants. The Turkish grocery stores are also a treat.

Where should we go for a walk on Stokey's wild side?

Take the New River Path to Islington and you can follow the old waterway surrounded by greenery and wildlife. You'll see the stream in some sections, but in others - where the river has been built over -you're following the path it once took. It's a unique part of London you can only see on foot.

Discover more stories from our Craft issue here.
Hero photo credit: William Barton /
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