Posted on 22/05/2019
In the bustling heart of Hackney you’ll find a rare historic gem: Sutton House, the oldest domestic dwelling in East London. It was built in 1535 by Rafe Sadler, Thomas Cromwell’s right-hand man and courtier of King Henry VIII. It has had many incarnations over the centuries – as a home, several schools, offices and an anarcho-punk squat and music venue in the 1980s.
Yet, throughout all this change its Tudor features – its oak panelled rooms, caved fireplaces and windows – have remained amazingly preserved. Cared for by the National Trust, the rooms are now filled with hands-on artefacts so visitors can get a feel how the house’s original inhabitants would have lived in the 16th century.
In keeping with the house’s quirky past, the Trust hosts a range of unusual events from poetry evenings to late-night film screenings, and even hosts weddings in the oak panelled Great Chamber. After your visit you can call in the shop and tearoom, which has a selection of second-hand books and a sunny, peaceful courtyard where you can enjoy tea and cake.
A one-mile stroll from the house, along Homerton High Street, is the Lee Navigation, where you can stretch your legs along the Lea Valley Walk. Heading southeast along the towpath you’ll soon come to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which was home to the London Olympic Games in 2012. There’s still plenty there to explore, such as the Aquatics Centre and VeloPark, as well as an abundance of parklands, waterways, playgrounds and cafés.