Lying between the heart of Central London and the financial district known simply as The City, Shoreditch is something of a combination of them both – arty and full of great nightspots, but also modern, eclectic and ever evolving. There are also some unique things to see and do in the area which may tickle your fancy…
The street art of Rivington Street
(Rivington Street EC2A)
If today’s Shoreditch is famous for anything then it’s undoubtedly for the street art that litters the place. Some may dismiss the colourful work to be found here, there and everywhere as mere graffiti, but a mere glance about the street’s walls is sure to quickly convince you it’s something much more. Not least because some of the art in this particular street (in total, at least 20 different pieces within a 2-3-minute walking radius) is the work of the controversial but acclaimed street art legend Banksy. And he’s joined here by fellow leaders of the field Thierry Noir, C215 and David Walker. Indeed, Noir’s an absolute legend of the street art world, having painted the Berlin Wall practically every day between 1984 and ’89 – before it was pulled down from autumn that year onwards as the Cold War thoroughly thawed.
(129 City Road EC1V 1JB)
Taking its cue from the legendary US speakeasies of old (and why not? Even one of the historical eras ‘from’ which you can order cocktails here is the Prohibition age), this place is a great bar; a truly hidden away place that only those in the know will be able to hunt down due to its deliberately trendy, totally unassuming frontage. But don’t be deceived; this is an uber-cool nightspot, all right – the vibes ably assisted by discreet jazz/ swing in early evening, giving way to jazz/ blues live acts late at night. Maybe just the tonic for a night of lively imbibing and more should you fancy kicking back while one of those spa breaks London?
Wesley’s Chapel and Museum of Methodism
(49 City Road EC1Y 1AU)
Shoreditch isn’t just about the latest looks and modern hipster trends in nightlife, though – nor the most state-of-the-art and stylish accommodation in the city, such as the hotels in Shoreditch like M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City. Oh no. A good example is this fascinating little site. John Wesley was the founder of Methodism in the Christian church and this chapel was, yes, where it all began more than 250 years ago – his tomb’s located in the chapel’s rear. You’ll find the museum down in the crypt; it’s dedicated to tracing his life and the history of his religious movement.
(38 City Road EC1Y 2BG)
Another site of religious importance and another of historical curiosity in the heart of the Shoreditch area is this Nonconformist burial ground which dates all the way back to the 1660s – the decade of the second Plague and the Great Fire of London. Its biggest claim to fame and major appeal for visitors is the fact it’s the resting place of the legendary novelist Daniel Defoe, iconic poet William Blake and preacher and writer John Bunyan. Two hundred years after being originally laid and a staggering 123,000 burials later, it was closed as a cemetery to become a public garden, from which point on it took on its present appearance – with its current walls, gates and paths. Both a fascinating and pleasant, quiet spot for (possibly) some much needed reflection and pause in this most dynamic and hectic part of London Town.