Welcome to where it all begins!
It’s at the heart of my first two books, London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait?, it’s Alex’s first London home, and the place where so much of her story unfolds. Let’s visit London Fields!
London Fields—located in Hackney, East London—goes back a long way! Apparently, the area was first recorded in local documents in 1540! Today, it’s a vibrant neighbourhood, centred around a wonderful park called, you guessed it, London Fields. The area boasts people of all ages, but when you stroll around on the weekend you really notice plenty of twenty- and thirty-somethings, young families, a fair share of hipsters, and tons of dogs: seriously, visit London Fields and you’ll see so many breeds of canines frolicking in the grass. It’s brilliant.
In London Belongs to Me, London Fields is home to Harry’s apartment where Alex, Olivia, and Tom live. Harry’s place is real (I even scoped out the inside layout when a flat was up for sale online) and it overlooks the park near the London Fields Overground station, but I won’t be sharing photos here so the real folks who live there can have some privacy. If you visit Martello Street, you’ll probably be able to figure it out from the description in LBTM. It’s pretty easy to spot.
The park boasts so much more than just old trees, wildflowers, and benches. It has a year-round heated swimming pool (the Lido), a cricket pitch, two children’s playgrounds, tennis courts, a BBQ area, outdoor gym equipment, and a cafe at the Lido. There’s also a pretty cool pub, the Pub on the Park, which gets name-checked in Tom’s story within LBTM.
Broadway Market—not just the name of a street
London Fields is also home to the fantastic Saturday street market, Broadway Market. Not to be too confusing, but this bustling market is held on a street that is actually called Broadway Market. They sell everything from antiques and artisan foods (Cupcakes! Scotch Eggs!) to crafts and jewellery. My favourite vendors include Crosstown Donuts—sugary delights from the heavens (Freddie suggests buying a box in LBTM), as well as Eatnmess (Cookie Pies!), and Artisan Foods. Of course, all my faves involve sugar and chocolate.
Pubs and shops!
Along Broadway Market you’ll also find many of the pubs and shops frequented by Alex and her gang including the Cat & Mutton pub (it crops up again several times in London, Can You Wait?) and of course, the pie shop where Alex buys her cheese and onion pasty in London Belongs to Me, Percy Ingle. In my first book, Alex also has a job in a cafe (Tasty Munch) on Mare Street around the corner. The cafe doesn’t really exist, although there are tons of cafes on Mare Street and I got the inspiration for the cafe’s name from a REAL one in Reading, England called…Tasty Munch. I liked the name too much to not use it. 🙂
Regent’s Canal and the towpath
In London, Can You Wait? there’s a scene involving the towpath along Regent’s Canal (which is south of London Fields). Here are some of the sights that crop up in those pages. There are a bunch of houseboats that call the canal home. You can see a few in the gas rings photo below.
More London, Can You Wait? places of interest
Past the east side of London Fields, more sights from London, Can You Wait? show up. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll just share the photos and keep my mouth shut!
I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes peek into my London Belongs novels. If you have any questions about the books or how London Fields plays a role in my story, drop me a line via my contacts page. For more behind-the-scenes stuff, click ~> ‘behind-the-scenes‘!
Want to visit London Fields? The easiest way is to catch the Overground line from Liverpool Station. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll be there! (all photos taken by Jacquelyn Middleton)
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