Top Things to Do in Shoreditch, London

Alex Mellon / © Culture Trip
Alex Mellon / © Culture Trip

You’ll never be short of things to do in Shoreditch, East London. As the creative hub of the area, it’s home to an eclectic – and often eccentric – array of attractions. So whether you want to see some of the best street art in London, embark on an epic pub crawl or taste the street-food delights of Brick Lane, here are the top things to do in Shoreditch.

Admire the best street art in London

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Brick Lane, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
The East End is like a living art gallery, which means you should take of a couple of hours to pound the pavements in search of the best street art in Shoreditch. Head to Rivington Street to see an original Banksy or Shoreditch High Street to see the sculptured faces of Gregos Art. Better yet, forge your own path and see what you can discover.

Shop Shoreditch in style

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Shoreditch is a goldmine for one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories, with more independent boutiques and vintage shops than you can shake a second-hand hat at. Try ATIKA, formerly Blitz London, which is one of the biggest vintage shops in Europe. Weekend bargain hunters click elbows at Brick Lane’s Sunday market, where you can sample street food to celebrate your latest find. Fans of contemporary clothing head to Redchurch Street, which also has a make-your-own perfume lab called Le Labo.

Choose your favourite blooms at Columbia Road Flower Market

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Columbia Road packed with people at the Columbia Road flower market held every Sunday.
© Loop Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Just one visit and you see why this is one of the most popular weekend markets in London. Vendors flanking the narrow street sell everything from succulents and houseplants to opulent bouquets, bulbs and herbs. Getting here is easy; it’s only a five-minute walk from Hoxton and Shoreditch High Street railway stations on the East London line. It’s always fun listening to the shouts of traders who’ve been manning their stalls for decades.

Check out East London’s coolest cinemas

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Rich Mix cinema, music and exhibitions centre in Shoreditch, East London. Image shot 2014. Exact date unknown.
© Jeffrey Blackler / Alamy Stock Photo
Shoreditch is choc-a-bloc with dedicated art spaces and independent cinemas. Rich Mix is a creative venue for emerging artists, comedians and musicians, as well as a cinema. For a more luxurious viewing experience, try the Cocktail Cinema package at the five-star Courthouse Hotel.

Go on a Shoreditch pub crawl

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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Golden Heart Pub, Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London
© Kevin George / Alamy Stock Photo

With so many pubs in Shoreditch, why stop at one? Kick off at The Golden Heart, a classic old-school watering-hole, wrapped around a corner on the edge of Commercial Street, opposite Spitalfields Market. It has long attracted an eclectic bunch from the Brit Art crowd to arty locals including Gilbert and George and Tracey Emin – a copy of her piece My Bed hangs on a wall. Landlady Sandra Esquilant is one of a kind, setting the tone (and the jukebox). London ales such as Redemption Urban Dusk and Redchurch Old Ford stout and quality foreign imports are sunk at the Crown & Shuttle, a strip club turned cool urban hangout with exposed brick walls, heated courtyard garden and tasty tapas-style dishes. From here, head to the Commercial Tavern, the Ten Bells and/or Goose Island Brewpub.

Dance at Shoreditch’s best clubs

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, British, $$$
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Shoreditch has always been known for its nightlife, with some venues less salubrious than others. Now the brothels have been replaced by a reputation for cool nightclubs and bars. Bigger-name clubs, such as Cargo and XOYO, are less wallet-friendly but there are plenty of other options for a cheaper night out. The Book Club is a basement brunch spot that’s anything but bookish, with cocktails and a busy, affordable event schedule – including Sheroes, a celebration of a different female pop culture icon each month.

Taste the delicious street food of Brick Lane

Bakery, Sandwich Shop, Pastry Shop, Dessert, $$$
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Shoreditch is as famous for its street food as it is street art. A post-club breakfast trip to Brick Lane bagel institution Beigel Bake is a classic end to a late, great East End night out (it opens at 6am). If you can stay up a bit longer, browse the Sunday market for global street food such as Canadian poutine (French fries, cheese curds and gravy) and Thai delicacies. In winter, or rainy weather, head to the enclosed market areas, such as Backyard Market or Sunday Upmarket.

Do a ping-pong brunch at Bounce

Bar, Pizzeria, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Did you say ping pong? Eat and drink with a little added exercise – and competition – at Bounce Ping Pong. Hot on the heels of its in-demand flagship venue in Farringdon, the Shoreditch branch took over an underground space in Old Street and doubles as a restaurant with a bottomless brunch every Sunday. Not so hot at table tennis? They’ve introduced Wonderball, a new immersive computer-based game; so there’s something for everyone.

Go football crazy at Bar Kick

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
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London street scene in Exmouth Market, Finsbury with customers enjoying a drink outside the Cafe Kick sports bar UK
© Steven May / Alamy Stock Photo
Another bar turning the tables, as it were, on a traditional night out, Bar Kick is a sister venue to the Clerkenwell outpost. This upbeat venue on Shoreditch High Street has two floors dedicated to table-football, stand-up comedy, live sports screenings and even the odd speed-dating event. Even the bar is packed with foosball tables for half-time heroics.

Eat, drink, rave, repeat at BOXPARK

Shopping Mall
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BOXPARK pop-up mall in Shoreditch London 2012, design by We Like Today
© Arcaid Images / Alamy Stock Photo
The world’s first pop-up mall opened in Shoreditch back in 2011. Making creative use of shipping containers, it’s totally in keeping with the cool creative vibe of the area – blending fashion, food, drinks and entertainment. BOXPARK lures foodies with pop-ups from the vegan CookDaily to Soft Serve Society, a dessert spot selling freakshakes, tea, coffee and creative versions of sweet treats. The venue, located under Shoreditch High Street Overground Station, also has four bars and a late-night event space.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Grace Beard.

These recommendations were updated on April 29, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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