On Monday I woke with the lethargy of the prospect of a whole two weeks to fill with half-term activities. We are always unprepared for these holidays because, well – we’re new at this (she is just turning three) and we are more the ‘winging it’ types – which is sometimes exciting but more often than not makes us late for things.
The night before I had chanced upon Dalston Eastern Curve Garden in East London after a quick Google and reluctantly hurried us out the house the following morning unsure whether the unknown would prove a good experience for us.
Living in East London for six years and London for over a decade I’m always floored when I chance upon a new discovery (that is apparently quite an old one) especially on a well-trodden path. Dalston Eastern Curve can be found on one of the busiest junctions in Dalston – built on an old railway line you walk through a shipping container and out the other side into a wild and thriving community garden with a cafe, seating dotted through the greenery and a play area for kids.
The long gardens are adorned with festoon lights which I assume look completely magical on Tuesday Acoustic nights. The grounds are dotted with up-cycled benches, functional seating and charming vases made of tin cans hold wildflowers on the tables. Wind-chimes and children’s craft-works hang from trees. Aarya and I soaked up all the sun over a hot morning drink in the middle of what felt like an English Country Garden.
The cafe on site was super cute and affordable – a cafetiere of coffee and a hot chocolate cost me £3 as did a second hot chocolate and a giant Gingerbread Man later that day and although theres a crafts schedule for half term although there wasn’t any on that particular Monday – but we found plenty to keep us busy. First the old-fashioned dust bowl at the end of the garden with about twenty toy vehicles which Aarya spent a lot of time just trying out each one over and over. Simple pleasures!
There was also the most charming conservatory area hung with colourful paper-mache lanterns and filled with books, pens and activity books where we ate snacks and soaked up that comforting quiet that all conservatories seem to radiate. The whole experience was so relaxing and magical (not always an easy achievement with a toddler).
If you are planning half-term activities in London make sure to add this gem to your list – and if you are not then just take a book, schedule a meeting, take your art pad or have some lunch in this amazing and inspiring environment.
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
13 Dalston Ln, London E8 3DF
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org