Planning a trip to London? If so, have you ever considered visiting Shoreditch or Hoxton? Many people around the world aspire to visit to London, but when they do, their wanderlust seems limited to the popular areas of Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Portobello road.
One place that should be high on your list when you visit is East London. This neighborhood is a bustling corner of London filled with graphic artists, architects, tattooists, clothes designers, street artists and creatives from food industries.
Here are five reasons to add East London to your visit of the city when planning your London itinerary:
1. Food. Brick Lane has long been considered the home of London’s best curry. There are almost too many curry restaurants to choose from, with nearly every restaurant along Brick Lane offering the finest Indian cuisine this side of the Kashmir. Try one, or try all. The true question in determining your culinary selection: are your taste buds up for a challenge?
If Indian is not your cup of tea then how about Cereal Killers? This is a cool cafe that will lead you to sweet temptation and has people lined around the block just to get a small taste. Or, if you are up for food served with the charming history of the city, then try Bagel Bake. Once you have tasted the salted beef and bagel with a side of pickle you will immediately understand why they are open 27/4 to serve their tasty delights to sleepless London patrons. East London is also where you will find ‘Poppies.’ This was voted the best Fish and Chip shop in the whole UK.
If you want to treat your culinary tastebuds all in one day with a guide to take you around the best spots, then I’d suggest a food tour in East London. If you are flying on a budget and cannot afford a tour, that’s not a problem because East London is cluttered with some of London’s coolest cafes, bars and restaurants that can also walk on your own without guidance.
2. Artistry. Creativity lives and breathes in the heart of the East End. Street art (or “graffiti” as it’s often referred to) is what gives East London its sugar and spice. It’s no longer about just leaving your mark. It’s a way to connect to the people: to inspire and to rebel. Contrary to what people normally think about street art, it’s no longer just about a teenage kid scouting walls to paint in the dead of the night. Some of the pieces you will find are commissioned by store owners or local business management groups in the area. One of the best tours I have been on is the ‘Alternative Tour.’ This is usually guided by some of London’s street and aspiring artists, who know a thing or two about the local culture. Who better than to give you the low down on the artist concepts and motivations for some of the pieces you will encounter than someone who is into the art itself?
3. Fashion. If you are into vintage, modern or ultra chic fashion, then East London is where its happening. It has one of the biggest vintage markets in London, as well as show rooms, sample sales and markets where new designers sell their best creations. Vintage shops, such as This Shop Rocks or Labour and Ware, are a must-visit, in addition to the markets nearby.
4. History. East London was the place where Jack the Ripper took his first victim. If you look at the place now, with its skyscrapers towering above you, you could never guess that this was a rundown and dangerous place to live a long time ago. So much so, that a lot of Jewish people who were fleeing persecution in Europe were housed in this very neighborhood which used to have a soup kitchen offering free food to Jewish people with no income or jobs. The place has since changed and is now one of the most sought after places to live in London.
5. Bar Scene. Starting from Spitalfield markets just behind Liverpool Street you will find bars with modern, traditional, and quirky settings with secret entrance codes or hidden entrances all serving up the best cocktails to remember, night spots for shaking a little or just letting live bands entertain you. If you plan on visiting the summer months then a rooftop bar is a good way to go. for this head to Boundary Rooftop. You can also check out “The Book Club;” a spot that is coffee-house-by-day and then come night fall turns into drinking den with live music, art and filming events. If you want to be in on the a little secret then also check out the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. This place requires a secret code to get in. I’m not one to reveal secrets, but I am sure Google can help you out with this one.