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Dalston East Curve Garden

Home > London > Escape the City | Free | Nature | Parks | Picnic Spots
by Dominic Simpson (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in East London. Check out more of my writing at goodnightlondon.blogspot.com
Published October 30th 2012
Live in East London but need some green in your life?
Dalston East Curve Garden Entrance
Dalston East Curve Garden Entrance

Looking for a break from the stress of living in East London? You might have heard about Hackney City Farm and the borough's numerous parks, but there's another, less-known green space ready for you to chill out in in Hackney. An oasis of calm and green amid the never-ending building works and the hustle and bustle of nearby Kingsland High Street. The Dalston East Curve Garden is located on Dalston Lane, right next to the Ray Walker's famous Hackney Peace Carnival Mural (pictured)
Hackney Peace Carnival Mural Ray Walker Dalston
The iconic Hackney Peace Carnival Mural
. It's also only a minute's walk away from Café Oto and the Arcola Theatre, on nearby Ashwin Street.
The Curve Garden is ingeniously constructed around the derelict old Eastern Curve railway line, which linked the previous version of Dalston Junction Station (not the current hi-tech one) to both a local goods yard and the North London Line. The Eastern Curve railway line closed in 1944, its tracks removed twenty years later. Fast forward to 2009, and the site was used by architectural collective Exyzt, who built the temporary Dalston Mill. They returned the following year to establish a garden flanked by a wooden pavilion, which is what you walk through when entering through the front-door gates (pictured below). The pavilion was built by apprentices from Forest Road Youth Club.
Dalston East Curve Garden Pavillion
Dalston East Curve Garden Pavillion

Featuring the odd artwork, including some spectacular-looking (not to mention incongruous) stone sculptures of giant faces
Dalston East Curve Garden face sculptures
What's with the stoney face?
(pictured), the pavilion serves some extremely reasonably priced tea, coffee, mint tea and lemonade, along with a smattering of bottled beer (see menu picture, below) as well as little cakes for £1 which, a sign informs us, were "made with wine berries from the garden."
Dalston East Curve Garden menu
That menu in full...

Dalston East Curve Garden cakes
...and those nice cakes too for good measure

With flyers and posters lying around the pavilion advertising child-friendly and family events (including a current pumpkin lantern show for Halloween), along with homemade potteries and tables for children's drawing, there is a strong community feel to the pavilion. The workshops involve everything from planting herbs and biodiverse fauna to carving gargoyles to screen printing; there's even one that invites you to make pizza from scratch in four hours. There's also the chance to get involved with designing furniture and, on some Sunday's, be part of 'African Tango Picnics' (the picture below should give you an idea).
Dalston East Curve Garden tango
Revellers tango away (image courtesy of the DECG's website)

With lovely sofas and chairs smattered around, and a pleasant vibe from regulars, it feels like a bucolic release from city stress.
Dalston East Curve Garden Pavillion
View of Pavillion

If that's not enough, there's also a beautiful glasshouse adjacent to the pavilion, which has been dubbed the 'Dalston Pineapple House.' Inside, tropical plants and fruits grow, including – yes – pineapples, which according to the DECG's website are "a traditional symbol of welcome."
Dalston East Curve Garden greenery
View of the Garden itself

Meanwhile, in the garden itself, vegetables, plants and fruit vie for space with pumpkins and scarecrows, along with a smattering of tulips, hazel and hawthorn shrubs, and butterfly bushes.
Dalston East Curve Garden vegetables
A vegetable plot - with some pumpkins for Halloween!
.
And, in following the bend of the original railway line, it does indeed curve towards the far end of the garden. Just in case you're wondering. But don't let that put you off.
Dalston East Curve Garden scarecrow
A resident scarecrow

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Why? Hackney's best-kept green secret
When: 11am - 6pm daily
Where: 13 Dalston Lane, London, E8 3DF
Cost: Free
Your Comment
i think its a nice place to visit.
by bbooy (score: 0|2) 1654 days ago
i think its a nice place to visit.
by bbooy (score: 0|2) 1654 days ago
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