Moving to Dalston
Are you moving to Dalston? Nicknamed ‘the coolest place to live in Britain’, this haven for young professionals, artists and students is a brilliant mix of history and culture, with some affordable property options and a great pub and club scene. That being said, some of the older, wealthy City traders join in the mix, loving the proximity to the capital.
Dalston started its life as one of four villages in the Parish of Hackney and was first recorded as Derleston in 1294. During the last century, it grew at the same pace as the rest of London, becoming a busy, bustling, multi-cultural suburb.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Dalston report includes info on:
- The best areas to live
- The good schools
- The average monthly rental prices
- The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Dalston on the Map
Incorporated in the E8 postcode, this includes London Fields, Hackney Central and a part of Stoke Newington. Dalston is in Zone 2. It is east of Islington, west of central Hackney, north of the City and south of Stoke Newington. It is three miles from the City and four from central London, with excellent transport facilities – the City and Shoreditch High Street are a mere four stops away by train and only two stops from Islington, Highbury and the Victoria Line for the West End.
- There are many overground railway stations, but no tube station. Liverpool Street is just an 11-minute train trip away.
- There are two stations, on different sections of the network, serving the area. Dalston Kingsland, on the old North London line towards Stratford and Hampstead Heath, and Dalston Junction for the Victoria Line, Highbury and Islington.
- The bus services are very handy, crossing the area in a number of directions. The 30 goes to Marble Arch, the 38 to Victoria, 67 to Aldgate, the 243 and 76 to Waterloo, 242 to Tottenham Court Road and the 149 to London Bridge.
- Cycling will take around 35 minutes via Queensbridge Road. The mayor has announced the creation of six new cycle routes, including Lea Bridge to Dalston. Although some are via main roads, segregation will be created from the busy traffic, whilst the rest will be on quieter streets.
- For other health-conscious commuters, it will take an hour and a half to walk to work in the City.
Dalston’s backbone is Kingsland High Street, with a mix of high street shops and independent cafes and pubs. Fassett Square and Ridley Road Market are famed as being the inspiration for the long-running drama, EastEnders, which is based in the fictional suburb of Walford. The market has been around since the 1880s and is still going strong.
The area is dominated by classic 18th and 19th-century terraced houses, with large Georgian and Victorian properties being sub-divided into flats, eminently suitable for the young professionals and arty, media people who love Dalston.
THE BEST STREETS
De Beauvoir Square, with Dutch gable-fronted houses, is at the centre of the 1830s new town.
Albion Square and Albion Drive, dating back to the 1840s, have flat-fronted, semi-detached houses.
Northchurch Road has semi-detached, larger villas.
The modernist German Hospital, which was later converted into flats, is on Fassett Square, along with bow-fronted Victorian terraces.
In the London Fields area, flat-fronted Victorian houses dominate while, in Parkholme Road, later Edwardian houses are more common.
Dalston Lane Terrace, built in 2016, is a mix of Georgian-style 1 to 4-bedroom properties, close to all amenities and situated close to both Overground Stations.
Dalston Lane consists of 121 new 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. The architect claims that the 10-storey structure, unique in its wood construction method, will be the tallest building of its kind in the world for a while.
Dalston Curve is built on opposite sides of the road, with 106 one and two-bedroom homes above the shops.
The 15-storey Fifty-Seven East has one, two and three-bedroom flats built above shops.
The area is very popular amongst younger renters who love the vibrant nightlife. The glut of new flats has attracted South East Asian investors.
Who Lives and Works in Dalston
With a population of 14,727 in the 2011 Census, the area is home to a mix of all the different cultures with the exception of Pakistanis. The average age here is 33, 50% males, 50% females.
56.2% of the population were born in England, followed by 2.6% Nigeria, 1.9% Jamaica and 1.8% Ireland, with 76.4% speaking English. 5% speak Turkish, 1.8% Spanish and 1.4% French.
The district is inhabited by the well-educated with 26.5% professionals and 25.7% associate professional and technical. Business public service professionals stand at 14.4%, with sports, media and culture at 14.1%.
Clearly, younger professionals are top of the list of residents, due to the great transport links, proximity to their jobs in the city, the exciting nightlife and the range of available accommodation.
While the area is lots of fun, once the singles want to start a family they seem to head for family-centric areas.
The Best Bits
Entertainment is a growing industry here, with the downfall of the district being its lack of green spaces, resulting in the area having to improvise.
Pop-up gardens are the latest trend, while the Roof Park is an event space, carpeted with Astroturf. The summer events at this lofty park include BBQs, plays, yoga, music nights and bars – along with panoramic views of the river and city, and entrance is free. The roof park is open every Wednesday in winter where the screening of winter classics will take place. Weekend nights will also have scheduled events.
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is a peaceful community garden and café opposite Dalston Junction station.
The nearest park is London Fields with two kiddies play areas, an outdoor gym, wildflower meadow, designated BBQ area, the Lido Café, table tennis, two tennis courts and the famous London Fields Lido. This Olympic sized swimming pool is open all year round and has a sunbathing deck and on-site swimming lessons.
Hackney City Farm is the next closest park, just a mile away.
Independent shops, restaurants, takeaways, barbers and nail bars line Kingsland Road. Kingsland Shopping Centre has branches of the likes of Iceland and Sainsbury’s.
Ridley Road Market is one of the oldest street markets in London and has around 200 stalls, focussing on foods of the world.
A night market, Dalston Yard Street Feast, is open on Friday and Saturday evenings, from 5 pm until midnight in the summer months, closing in October. It has 16 stalls and 12 bars.
During the Middle Ages, Dalston housed a leper hospital.
Dalston Culture House is home to the Vortex Jazz Club, with devoted space for art exhibitions and a café and restaurant.
The Arcola is amongst London’s leading off-West End theatres, but the whole London theatre experience is just a quick trip away.
A leading London venue for new music, Café Oto is on Ashwin Street.
The Little Shop of Horrors was launched by Viktor Wynd in 2009. It is now the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History. From dodo bones to Old Master etchings, the museum consists of the Upper Galleries with its bi-annual art exhibitions and the Wunderkabinet, displaying curious historical relics in the basement. A coral reef aquarium and tiny gift shop and an equally tiny, yet macabre, cocktail bar are on the upper floors.
On Beechwood Road, the Holy Trinity church is known locally as the ‘clown’s church’ in honour of Joey Grimaldi, with his own stained glass window. There is a special clowns’ service every February.
Sutton House is Dalston’s most haunted. Built by Sir Ralph Sadleir, courtier to Henry VIII, tables have been seen to levitate and the ghosts of 3 lurcher dogs wander the halls. It is the home of the Grey Lady, who is said to wait in the old nursery for her two children who died as babies.
Bringing the Kids
There are 91 primary and 44 secondary schools in Hackney. Remember that state schools are fee-free, while private and international schools charge fees. State schools use the catchment system, so you would need to reside in your chosen school’s catchment area.
Dalston’s primary schools are all judged ‘good’ or better by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in the UK. Those rated ‘outstanding’ are Our Lady and St Joseph Roman Catholic school in Buckingham Road; Queensbridge Primary in Queensbridge Road; and Holy Trinity Church of England School in Richmond Road. Newer schools are Hackney New School and Halley House.
The ‘outstanding’ secondary school is Mossbourne, Downs Park Road, while Petchey Academy, Bridge Academy and Hackney New School are all judged ‘good’.
The closest private top-performing private schools are in the City, City of London Boys School, Queen Victoria Street and City of London Girls School, in the Barbican.
While there are a number of International Schools in London, these are expensive and have a limited intake, with long waiting lists. These schools are ideal for kids who have previously been educated in the system, or those on a short-stay assignment.
There is any number of excellent universities in London, offering a huge number of courses.
Moving to Dalston
London is an expat’s dream location and Dalston is so close to all the action. With a surfeit of culture and a renowned financial district, the whole family is catered for – there is never a cause to be bored, no matter what age group. Many of the terraced family homes have small gardens, the local state schools are rated ‘good’ and above and London is a city of dog walkers, a perfect form of exercise for the family. And the capital is just a short trip away, with a cornucopia of theatres, museums, cinemas and family theme parks. And beach resorts, such as Southend, Ramsgate and Margate, are an hour or two away on the train.
The British property rental system is tricky, as is finding the right school in the right area. Using an expert relocation agent, with experience in the area, will smooth the way to a stress-free move.
Average Monthly Rent - Dalston