October 28, 2021

Hackney Wick - with actress Rose Wardle

Rose Wardle is an actress, currently based in Hackney Wick. Here, she explores her favourite free places to visit in the city, her go-to spots for cheap, delicious food and what she's most looking forward to checking out this autumn and winter.

Where do you rest your head? 

The Wick! More commonly known as Hackney Wick.

What’s something amazing about Hackney Wick that only the locals know about?

I think the locals who’ve lived there for a long time know just how amazing Hackney Wick used to be. There was such a special moment in time that existed before it became as built up as it is now. Having said that, there are some excellent new spaces. In particular, Doh bakery - which is a local store selling seasonal groceries and some of the best baked goods you’ll ever try (their cheese and marmite twists are unreal).

Also, Hackney Wick Underground, which the bakery sits in, is a non-profit grassroots co-working space and workshop. It houses lots of local artists, you can watch them at work and also purchase their pieces through the space’s neat little shop. And if you’re in need of a restyle, there’s even an on-site unisex hair salon - ‘Buttercut’, which I’d highly recommend!

Where’s your favourite free place to visit in the city?  

A classic but a goodie: Hampstead Heath. I would say the Ladies Pond - but post-Covid they now charge a little. That decision definitely ruffled some feathers but I understand it; the preservation of that spot is important to so many. It really is a little drop of heaven, hidden deep within the Heath. I used to go there all the time mid-week, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends - there’s a certain spot where my phone signal completely cuts out and it is absolutely glorious.

Did you discover any hidden London gems during lockdown?

Yes! My friend Phoebe and I spent the entire 2020 summer cycling around London like two 12-year-old teenage boys. And we dressed like them too. I’ve lived in east London for nearly 10 years but I’d never seen the skeleton of the city quite like we did that summer. There are still areas in the Hackney Marshes which feel like a hidden gem - I’d been there over the years to parties, but never really in the daytime. It feels like they go on forever.

What would your perfect no-spend London day involve?

Cycling around the city through all its glorious green spaces, visiting pals along the way.

Where are your go-to places for cheap and delicious food in London?

There’s a cafe on Mare Street called Vicolo that does the most incredible sandwich: chicken, sweet chilli chutney, mayo and I think pickles? It’s around a fiver - totally worth it, and whenever I go in everyone else seems to be ordering the same thing! Oh and Brick Lane Bagels, which goes without saying.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about living in the city?

That it isn’t neighbourly. I appreciate that I might have a slightly skewed view having lived in the community of the Wick for five years - but I’ve seen it elsewhere too. It’s been my experience that when you move to or live in London, you tend to inhabit an area and stay as local to it for your daily activities as you would if you lived in a town or village outside of the city.

So you still get to know your ‘neighbours’ - whether that be the shopkeepers, station staff or the other people in your shared building. 

Now things have opened back up again, what are you most looking forward to checking out this autumn/winter? 

Laura Marling at The Roundhouse. It’s one of my favourite venues and I cannot wait to be back in it with some semblance of normalcy! Gigs in general, really. One of my closest friends is an insanely talented jazz singer, Madeleine Rose Witney, so I’m very excited to be able to hear her tunes again in some of London’s best venues (rather than in a random location when I’ve forced her to sing at the end of the night..!).

As an actress, what are some of your favourite films or TV shows which have featured London?

Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, This Way Up, Catastrophe and Notting Hill (which is definitely unrealistic in parts but an absolute classic nonetheless).

In three words, what makes someone a Londoner?

True to themselves.

Rose Wardle is repped by Authentic Talent & Literary Management in the US and Victoria Lepper Associates in the UK. Picture credit: Phil Sharp

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