Living in Clapton: travel links, parking, schools, best streets — and the average cost of monthly rent
It has been 17 years since the press reported on the seven murders in seven days on “Murder Mile”, back when the stretch running between Upper and Lower Clapton Roads was infamous for being Britain’s deadliest road.
A lot has changed in the years since and, although the area still has a gritty feel, high house prices and rents have pushed die hard Hackney hipsters out from such areas as London Fields and Stoke Newington and into this former no-go zone.
The lowdown on Clapton
As for shopping, it’s a staunchly independent neighbourhood where very few high street chains have ventured as yet.
Coffee shops and dive bars abound, while even the supermarkets are still locally run.
Who lives there? Renters in this oh-so-hip area are strictly under 40, with hipster jobs – often freelance home workers with a commute that involves little more than a stroll to one of the area’s many wifi-providing, cold brew purveying coffee shops.
Parking in Clapton
A residents permit for an emission-free vehicle costs £10 for the year. Other types of vehicle are priced according to emissions in four bands from £61 to £214 per year. There is a £50 supplement for diesel vehicles.
Crime in Clapton
Crime in the area is average for London with eight crimes per 1,000 residents. The most commonly reported crimes are harassment, burglary and theft from a vehicle.
Fitness clubs in Clapton
King’s Hall Leisure Centre on Lower Clapton Road is the nearest Better-run facility with a swimming pool, gym and sport studio and there are sports pitches and tennis courts in Millfields Park.
The east London hipster option is Blok in the industrial-chic revamped tram depot just off the Lea Bridge Roundabout.
Average cost of renting in Clapton
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Best Clapton streets to live on
“Thistlewaite Road, Mildenhall Road and Evering Road are all prestigious. Houses very rarely come up to rent — the typical rental property is a one-, two- or three-bedroom flat in a period conversion,” says David Sipple, branch manager of Castles in Hackney.
Clapton travel links and accessibility
Hackney’s lack of Tube connections used to be one of the factors that dampened its popularity but even at its furthest-flung outposts, the borough is now plugged into the vastly improved Overground network.
Trains from Clapton to Liverpool Street take 13 minutes and there are also plentiful bus routes throughout Upper Clapton.
Best schools in Clapton
Primary schools with a “good” Ofsted rating include Southwold and Harrington Hill.
Supermarkets and food markets in Clapton
There’s a Tesco Express on Upper Clapton Road and a Co-op on Mount Pleasant Lane, as well as a raft of local grocery stores selling an array of international produce.
The area has shrugged off its “Murder Mile” label but there are still streets where you wouldn’t walk late at night, according to Sipple.
What the locals say:
‘This area has kept its essence. It feels local’
Vicente Cocovi and Jorge Garriz pay £2,200 a month to rent a three-bedroom maisonette in Upper Clapton (Adrian Lourie)
Looking back at his teenage years, Vicente Cocovi, now 34, says: “I knew then that I needed to live in London. The UK was exploding in terms of culture and was always a reference for the things I liked, so I wanted to be part of it.”
Born in Valencia, the spatial designer, known as Coco, adds: “Spain is home, but London is the home I choose.”
He lives in a three-bedroom maisonette in Upper Clapton with his friend, Jorge Garriz, also 34, who runs cultural events business Jorge Does Events and volunteers as a programmer at the Fringe Queer Film Festival.
They pay £2,200 a month for the whole house, counting themselves lucky to have had only two minimal rent rises since 2014.
Both have considered buying using shared ownership but have been put off by Brexit, for financial reasons, rather than cultural ones.
“Hackney is 75 per cent Remain and it feels like that in the whole borough, you can breathe that atmosphere of Remain,” says Coco. “There’s lots of ethnicities, people of different cultural backgrounds in the area, we feel very comfortable being Spanish.
“We like seeing the positive change in Clapton. We used to live in London Fields and we saw gentrification taking over until it was just for bankers, whereas here the change seems more organic. It has kept its essence and it still feels local.”
Shopping in Clapton
Jorge loves Pages of Hackney independent bookshop in Lower Clapton Road for its great selection of stock and interesting events.
World Foods, a local Turkish-run deli, and the Saturday farmers’ market at St Paul’s Church are both favourite spots for foodie treats.
Eating and drinking in Clapton
Mosaic Clapton is a family-run café that’s been serving up coffee and breakfast for the past 20 years.
Jorge also recommends Sodo Pizza for an informal dinner; The Crooked Billet pub for cosy winter drinks and the Princess of Wales “for pints and sunsets with friends overlooking the River Lea”.
Culture in Clapton
Founded in 1932, the Tower Theatre Company is one of inner London’s oldest and busiest amateur groups with up to 20 productions a year.
Jorge and Coco also enjoy readings and talks at Clapton Library and gigs at the Round Chapel.
Green space in Clapton
“Millfields Park and Hackney Marshes are on our doorstep for endless walks, summer afternoon drinks or just sitting with a book,” says Jorge.