Unlike Central London, where most art is found in galleries and museums, the best place to look for visual inspiration in the East End is its streets. Culture Trip recommends walking up to Shoreditch from Brick Lane to take in some of the area’s most impressive and creative murals, with Redchurch Street and Shoreditch Triangle boasting the best of the bunch.
Shoreditch is a goldmine for one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories, with more independent boutiques and vintage shops than you can shake a stick at. For ultimate cool points, Culture Trip recommends Atika, formerly Blitz London, which is one of the biggest vintage shops in Europe. Brick Lane’s Sunday market offers bargain hunters a mammoth selection of second-hand finds, not to mention incredible street food. For contemporary designers, make your way to Redchurch Street, which also boasts a make-your-own perfume lab (Le Labo).
You can’t visit Shoreditch without checking out the colourful utopia that is Columbia Road Flower Market, one of London‘s most popular weekend markets. Vendors flanking the narrow street sell everything from succulents and houseplants to opulent bouquets and herbs. Meandering through the bustling market will also give you a great opportunity to hear some old-school cockney rhyming slang.
Shoreditch is full of dedicated art spaces and independent cinemas. Rich Mix is a creative venue offering a platform for emerging artists, comedians and musicians, as well as a cinema. For a more luxurious viewing experience, complete with blankets, comfortable couches and good wine, you must visit Electric Cinema, London’s most indulgent (and comfortable) cinema experience.
As well as its great restaurants, Shoreditch is famous for its street food. Brick Lane, home of much-loved bagel institution Beigel Bake, hosts a huge market every Sunday offering global street food, from Canadian poutine to Thai delicacies. As well as its outdoor eateries, there are enclosed market areas on and around the famous street, from Backyard Market to Sunday Upmarket.
Historically, Shoreditch has always been known for its night-time entertainment: once for brothels and theatres, and now for nightclubs and bars. The bigger clubs, such as Cargo and XOYO, can be quite expensive, but there are plenty of other options for a cheaper night out. The Book Club is an event space, brunch spot and, most importantly, an affordable and hugely popular spot to let loose on a Friday.
Bored of bars? Put off pubs? If you’re looking for a more unique – and active – way to socialise, Bounce Ping Pong offers a truly distinctive experience by taking a bar and filling it with ping-pong tables. Following the overwhelming success of its flagship venue in Farringdon, its Shoreditch venue opened in 2015. Doubling as a restaurant and offering a great bottomless brunch every Sunday, there’s honestly no point going anywhere else. Bounce has everything you need.
Another bar profiting from how fun it is to play table sports, Bar Kick is a football fan’s dream, with large plasma screens showing live sports and a bar packed with foosball tables for half-time fun. Don’t go here if you’re after a quiet drink: the place is usually busy and loud. Feel free to join in with the football chants.
The world’s first pop-up mall, this shopping/eating/drinking hub made entirely out of shipping containers is certainly unique. Boxpark plays host to some of London’s most popular food pop-ups, including CookDaily, an eatery selling vegan dishes from around the world. For afters, try Soft Serve Society, a dessert spot selling freakshakes, tea, coffee and plenty of other creative versions of sweet treats. Boxpark also hosts festivals and events to help you let your hair down after a long day of eating and drinking.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Madis Kabash.