People who haven’t visited London before don’t tend to appreciate the scale of the city and just how sprawling it really is. There isn’t really a centre of the Big Smoke, instead there are lots of districts that make up a vibrant range of cultures and things to see.
East London has been an area of regeneration over the past decade or so, after being hit hard by the recession. It is now the city’s home of digital and technological businesses from startups all the way to global companies, including Google and Facebook.
Exploring East London
As a result of this influx of modern business, it is no longer an area that is seen as unkempt, in fact it has been gentrified to the point where it’s an incredibly trendy part of the city, particularly regarding places like Shoreditch and Dalston. The Olympics also saw Stratford blossom, as this is where the official Olympic Park sat in 2012.
The east of London is also where our M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City Hotel resides, just a few minutes’ walk from Old St Station, so you can be sure that there is modern and connected accommodation in the east of the city too. With this in mind, we have pulled together five things that you need to know about east London to make it even more fun for you to explore.
The shopping is excellent
Of course, London is well known for its shopping, as it’s one of the fashion capitals of the world and home to designers and high streets like no other. But east London is the place to go if you are interested in discovering one-off boutiques, markets and pop-up stalls. There is a great independent presence in the east, regarding arts, food and clothing, so you’ll definitely pick up a one-off when you come to this area of town.
Lots of people and guidebooks recommend Spitalfields Market in E1 and we would absolutely agree with this, as it stocks alternative clothes and great bargains. It’s a particularly famous market, so you should make sure to get there early if you don’t want to feel too crowded. However, the amount of people who flock to Spitalfields is part of the experience in our opinion, as it makes the scene vibrant and noisy.
There are also a lot of cafes and restaurants in the Spitalfields area, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to getting something to eat or drink.
For the best flea market in the city – make sure you head along to Spitalfields on a Thursday, don’t miss it.
Eat, drink and be merry
A lesser-known fact about the east of London is that Brick Lane is home to some of the best curry houses in the city. These restaurants range from the small but long standing, like Aladin Brick Lane, to those who are famed for their specialities, like Sheba’s lamb shank.
Of course, it isn’t just curry that you’ll find here, as there is a massive variety of foods and speciality places like Cereal Killer Cafe, which serves crazy concoctions of cereals from around the world and life-changing hot chocolates.
For those of you who are more interested in food markets and picking up some fresh produce, look no further than Borough Market. This is one place in particular that is celebrated for its high-quality ingredients and food sellers. In fact, many of the best restaurants in the city source a lot of their menu’s components from here. One of the best things about it is that you’re constantly encouraged to try free samples – you can spend a day here just doing that!
East London used to be a rather cut off area of the city, but the 2012 Olympics had a lot to do with changing the accessibility of this district.
Due to the east of the city serving as the base for most of the Olympic activity, it had to be well served by transport, which is why the Central line of the Tube is now heavily focused through the area to places like Bethnal Green, Stratford and even Essex.
If you fancy trying something different, the District Light Railway (DLR) will take you to Canning Town, the Excel Arena and beyond. We definitely recommend you try the DLR, it’s an altogether different experience than the Tube or a regular train.
As we mentioned, the recession had a huge effect on the east of London, which meant that rents were cheap and property values significantly decreased. Since its regeneration into Silicon Roundabout/Tech City, you’ll notice that the value of the area has increased somewhat.
Student rents can be as little at £400 per month in West Ham, which is handy to know considering standard rent is usually around twice as much.
Property bargains are to be found in the east among the likes of Bromley by Bow, Stratford and Victoria Docks, according to Purple Bricks, which is handy if you’re thinking of making a move to London permanently.
Schools are great
In general, London is packed to the rafters with schools, which is great if you want a lot of choice when it comes to education. Similarly, a lot of these schools are independent, which is becoming a big deciding factor for parents.
Not only this, but colleges have been set up in the area of Tech City to encourage further learning and study in the digital tech industries.