Tucked away in London Fields railway arches, ‘FountLondon’ is a one-stop destination where you can eat, shop and play. A restaurant, nursery and pop up space are housed in three separate railway arches.
FountLondon was founded by ‘Rachel Munroe-Peebles’ and ‘Elena Mackey’ who wanted to create a space where families could enjoy a day out. Munroe-Peebles has been a resident of Shoreditch for 15 years and felt there was a lack of a good creativity-driven nursery in the area; thus ‘FountNursery’ was conceived.
She describes the nursery as being the heart of FountLondon and the careful attention paid to developing a space that encourages creativity can be felt in the nursery, whose entrance is through a little interactive garden, giving the children an opportunity to play gardener in an urban landscape.
Keeping the growing minds of children occupied can be quite a feat but with FountNursery, every corner is filled with something interesting. Blank canvases and wallpaper that can be coloured in by the children line the walls with illustrations dotted around the nursery by local illustrator ‘Molly Meg.’
Parents who want to grab a bite after dropping their children off at the nursery need not travel far, as one railway arch away is ‘Il Cudega,’ a gorgeous Italian restaurant and deli from the region of Lombardy, the first of its kind in London. Relaxing with a cup of coffee may end with a side of pizza, as the irresistible smell of freshly baked pizza wafts through. They also have a fantastic selection of charcuterie and cheese, great for sharing with friends and family.
The greenhouse, used as an educational tool for the children in the nursery, allows them to grow their own herbs and fruits, is the proud centerpiece of the courtyard, as it also provides fresh produce for Il Cudega. There are more exciting plans coming up as the courtyard will be housing market stalls and a Christmas market coming up in November.
Munroe-Peebles wants FountLondon to serve as a platform to showcase local budding brands. “These are smaller startup businesses and pop ups…so it rotates,” she says. “We look for very new businesses that can’t afford to pay for shop leases due to increasing rent in the area, and we offer them reduced rates. There are so many new businesses in Hackney and Tower Hamlets and they’re often hidden away – we just want to bring them out.”
With workshops and cooking classes on the calendar FountLondon is jam packed with endless activities for the family. The rotating roster of pop up shops will keep FountLondon fresh and people coming back for more, making it a sure fire destination to visit in Hackney.
Arches 358-360, Westgate Street, London E8 3RN
You can follow @Fount_London on twitter