A hub of local life and Dalston landmark since 1915, the Rio is one of the few properly independent cinemas in London. With a newly added second screen to go with its grand art deco auditorium, the Rio shows indie and foreign films alongside festivals, classics, Q&A screenings and films for kids during the holidays. Make sure to leave time to buy snacks: they’re all from local suppliers.
Dalston’s not what it used to be. And, you know what? That’s fine. More than a decade ago this bit of East London was (lazily) used as a byword for edginess and cutting-edge fashion. These days it’s much like any other decent neighbourhood: a bit too expensive to live in; containing more wine bars than clubs and still capable of delivering a very decent night out. This genuinely diverse area also offers delicious (and affordable) food and bargain buys. Dalston’s main drags, Kingsland High Street and Ridley Road, serve as two of the main shopping streets for the diverse borough of Hackney, and its strong Turkish community makes it one of the best places in London to get a kebab, a haircut or a hammam scrub. And that’s before you even start exploring the area’s residential backstreets, dotted with great pubs and cafés. Read on for our guide to Dalston’s best bits, and get to grips with an area that’s a glorious blend of London’s many tastes and characters.
How do I get to Dalston?
There’s no tube here, but two Overground stations – Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland – run trains west to Islington and Camden, and south to Shoreditch and Whitechapel. Bus links are also plentiful.
What else is nearby?
To the west of Dalston you’ll find the chichi Islington neighbourhoods of Newington Green and Canonbury. Hackney Central and London Fields are to the east, while south lie canalside Haggerston and pretty De Beauvoir. As you head north, the neighbourhood gradually shades into Stoke Newington.
Map of Dalston:
Time Out tip:
For a total contrast to chaotic Kingsland High Street, take a walk down Wilton Way or Shacklewell Lane: two cute little thoroughfares running east from Dalston. They’re positively villagey.
RECOMMENDED: More of London’s best areas