Top 12 Things to Do in Shoreditch, London

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Jo Fernandez-Corugedo

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.

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1. Admire the best street art in London

Building, Art Gallery

Street art in Shoreditch, London, United Kingdom
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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.

2. Shop Shoreditch in style

Shop

Browsing vinyl music at a fair in Shoreditch, London
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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.

3. Embark on a culinary adventure

Market

Beigel Bake, Brick Lane, London
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London is one of the most vibrant foodie cities on the planet, with an eclectic array of eateries inspired by the capital’s multicultural make-up, not to mention its entrepreneurial spirit. Shoreditch is among the very best parts of the city to sample the city’s best culinary offerings, from hearty British classics like fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding, to curry houses, Caribbean joints and artisan bakeries. The best way to get a taste for Shoreditch is to book a foodie tour, with a local guide ensuring you avoid the tourist traps and head straight to the good stuff. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

4. Choose your favourite blooms at Columbia Road Flower Market

Market

Columbia Road Flower Market, Columbia Road, London, UK
Semyon Borisov / Unsplash
Just one visit and you see why this is one of themost 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.

5. Check out East London’s coolest cinemas

Cinema

Close up of classic red cinema seats
Kilyan Sockalingum / Unsplash
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.

6. Get spooked on a Jack the Ripper tour

Building

Traditional Victorian lanterns lit at night
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The mysterious tale behind London’s most notorious 19th-century villain has captured the minds of locals and tourists alike for well over a century. Unlike other crime and ghost tours, a Jack the Ripper tour blends thrilling true crime mystique with an actual historical angle. It’s a fascinating way to transport yourself to Victorian London, where the streets were murky (literally and figuratively) and countless larger-than-life figures prowled the streets. Much of the Ripper’s work was done in and around the Shoreditch area, so there really is no place better to follow in his footsteps. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

7. Go on a Shoreditch pub crawl

Pub, Pub Grub

Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London, UK. January 2020. Street art, shops, graffiti, paintings, posters on the walls of old brick buildings in a historic location in England.
Hulki Okan Tabak / Unsplash

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.

8. Dance at Shoreditch’s best clubs

Music Venue

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 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.

9. Taste the delicious street food of Brick Lane

Architectural Landmark

Brick Lane, London, UK
Nik / Unsplash

One of the top things to do in Shoreditch is to get a taste of the great street food in Brick Lane. 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.

10. Do a ping-pong brunch at Bounce

Bar, Pizzeria, Restaurant, American

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.

11. Go football crazy at Bar Kick

Bar, Pub Grub

Close up of table football
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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.

12. Eat, drink, rave, repeat at BOXPARK

Shopping Mall

Boxpark Shoreditch, London
Rémi Boyer / Unsplash
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.

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