East London: A Beginner’s Guide

Tourist in London

East London is one of the most exciting parts of the capital, from the fashionable bars and clubs of Shoreditch and Hoxton to the bustling markets at Spitalfields and the Old Truman Brewery, and the curries of Brick Lane to the buzzing Boxpark. Keep reading for some of our top tips on what to do when you’re in East London.

Go for a curry on Brick Lane. Brick Lane is an East London institution, running from Bethnal Green through Spitalfields to Whitechapel High Street. The heart of the city’s Bangladeshi-Sylheti community, it is famous for its plethora of curry houses, and you won’t get far without being swamped with offers from keen restaurateurs trying to lure you into their establishment. It’s also home to the iconic bakery Beigel Bake, which is one of the best places in London to pick up a bagel. The vast Old Truman Brewery –now home to all manner of offices, art galleries, restaurants and event spaces – is an iconic building with a colourful history. Brick Lane is also home to a market where you can pick up all manner of items from rare vinyl to vintage fashion pieces.

Exploring East London

Go shopping on fashionable Shoreditch High Street. Shoreditch is much maligned as a haven for hipsters, but there’s a lot to like about this area, which represents more vividly than anywhere else the gentrification of East London. Home to a huge and increasing number of companies in the creative and tech industries, Shoreditch is also a great place to shop, and is full of fashionable night spots for when the sun goes down. The Boxpark, installed in 2011, is a collection of refitted shipping containers home to bars, restaurants, and shops including Nike, Dockers and Evisu. More boutique outlets in the area include Hostem, which takes an avant-garde approach to traditional tailoring, and Luna & Curious, where you can pick up hand-crafted ceramics from local young artisans. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while you explore Shoreditch, look no further than The Montcalm Hotel London City, a luxurious hotel on Chiswell Street.

Exploring Shoreditch London

Explore the markets. In a city famous for its markets, the East End is home to a bewildering array, where you can pick up anything from domestic goods to vintage clothes, hand-crafted pottery to original artwork, and everything in between. One of the more famous is the Old Spitalfields Market, which has been a hub for traders for a whopping 350 years. In some ways the market perfectly represents the modern evolution of East London: its eastern side is housed in old, Grade II listed buildings, while in the newer sections stalls trade beneath steel and glass. The market is particularly famed for its fashion, with vintage and contemporary equally well represented. Foodies will also love it, with the likes of Bleecker St. Burger, Indian street food from Indi-Go, and delicious Portuguese cuisine on offer at Taberna do Mercado. No trip to London is complete without trying some authentic, traditional fish & chips – Poppie’s has been feeding the people of East London since the 1950s, and is still the place to go for this most traditional of London dishes.