A city as exciting, electric and ever changing as London has many fashionable areas and many must-visit districts, of course, but nowadays surely none more so than where Central meets East in Shoreditch. Here’s our guide to this most vibrant and essential of London destinations…
For (street) art’s sake
Quite frankly, you can’t move in Shoreditch for street art. The popular and fascinating artform that’s grown out of graffiti adorns many of the areas alleyways, railway and road bridge arches, brickwork walls and more. Some of it’s undoubtedly wacky, other pieces downright odd and others still undeniably beautiful. The fact the area is relatively new as one of London’s must-visit locations means it’s always evolving, thus so is the street art. No question then, it’s one of the big draws of the district.
Trad meets hip at the Queen of Hoxton
Shoreditch is famed for blending urban cool with old-school London tradition and nowhere is this truer than at the Queen of Hoxton pub. Here you’ll discover an old-fashioned city watering hole peppered with fun and frolicsome features for the young at heart, such as table tennis, retro arcade machines, a pub-food-serving restaurant on the roof (for when the sun’s shining) and a small but happening nightclub in the basement (for when the sun goes down – perfect if you’ve made your base a Shoreditch hotel).
Try the bagels on Brick Lane
Food-wise, in this part of town you simply can’t beat a couple of eateries on Brick Lane. Why? Because, between them, they simply serve the very best salt beef sandwiches anywhere in the capital. And they’re impossible to miss too. The first, Beigel Bake (159 Brick Lane) is daubed all in white; the second, Beigel Shop (155 Brick Lane), in all yellow. Both are open 24-hours-a-day and both offer the finest example of Jewish-style baking imaginable – and that includes anywhere in Golders Green!
A night on the tiles? Try Hoxton Square
Hoxton Square’s where to head if you don’t want to travel too far in one night out – everything you could want for a top evening is packed into this neat little piazza, making it perfect then if you’re staying in one of the nearby Montcalm hotels. First up, the Red Dog Saloon serves some mean burgers and you must follow this with The Breakfast Club’s bacon-topped pancakes to line your stomach for the night ahead, before finally stepping into Zigfrid von Underbelly. Both exotic and comical it may sound, but this bar’s interiors and vibe are beguiling and its beers, spirits and beverages out of this world.
Go on a vinyl vendetta
Music maketh the man, so they say and, with that being the case, no time spent in Shoreditch is complete without popping into the vinyl emporium that’s Rough Trade East (The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL). What with the growing dominance of the downloads and streaming, record shops are something of a dying breed – not least independent ones – so this place, which hosts everything including live gigs, events and signings as well as serving very decent coffee, is a must for music fans.
Have a bloomin’ marvellous time!
Having first set up shop way back in the mid-19th Century, today Columbia Road Flower Market is a thriving, bustling, vibrant strip of market stalls and holds many a delightful surprise. Here then isn’t just the place to come to for a beautiful bunch of roses, but to peruse the street’s chic boutiques and intriguing outlets and even take some snaps of trendy, colourful London life – the like of which you won’t catch in the West End, that’s for sure!
Shop till you drop at Boxpark
Finally, this big, aircraft-hanger-like but stylish and unusual slant on the shopping mall is the perfect Shoreditch take on mass consumerism (2-10 Bethnal Green Road E1 6GY). Here you’ll find high-street brands like Gap, Kiehl’s and Decorum rubbing shoulders with terrific eateries dishing out delicious snack food such as Voodoo Ray’s New York-style pizza and Dum Dum Donuterrie’s, well, yes, doughnuts. Hip and stylish yet functional and down–to-earth, you can’t beat the shopping at Boxpark.