Ask anyone and they will have a definitive opinion about Shoreditch. Some will think it’s the trendiest spot in London to be. Others will not see what the fuss is all about. Either way, it is a simply a must when exploring the capital city, so here is a handy guide on everything you need to know.
Where to visit
Shoreditch is one of those places that all you need to do is walk around these cobbled streets and simply soak in the atmosphere. On each side, you will come across media start-up firms, cocktail bars, quirky independent boutiques and every guy donning loose clothing and a beard.
Over the winter period, there are a series of attractions on you shouldn’t miss. The Broadgate Ice Rink, which will be on until February 26th 2015, is located at Exchange Square, where the little ones can have some fun skidding on the ice while mum and dad dip into some craft beer and winter warmers at The Tasting Room.
Exploring Shoreditch London
If you are in the area on a Saturday, head to the Euro Car Parks, where the Urban Food Fest will rock up with a wide array of stalls selling tasty dishes from all over the world. Within five minutes, you can try jerk chicken, pad thai, burritos and schwarma, while vegan options and lip-licking desserts are sure to cater to all tastes.
The Old Trueman Brewery hosts an impressive year-long programme of exhibitions and displays, and until April 12th 2015, The Art of the Brick is sure to wow and astound. Celebrating all things Lego, the exhibit has travelled extensively across Asia and the US, and is now at Brick Lane of all places. These huge artworks, made purely from plastic blocks, consist of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, a T-Rex skeleton and the Venus de Milo, and if the kids start getting a bit fidgety, take them to the interactive zone where they can create their own masterpieces.
Where to shop
Your first port of call should be Brick Lane Market, which is an attraction in itself. Whether it is household goods, clothes, fruit and veg, tools, dodgy CD players or local crafts, you can buy virtually anything here, all at discounted prices. Vintage clothing and antiques ensure you go home with something truly unique – just be prepared to haggle, and haggle hard.
Exploring East London
Over in Spitalfields, the refurbished 1887 covered-market sees local traders selling their wares. You will notice that there is a certain focus each day on product types: Thursdays are dedicated to antiques, Fridays to fashion and art, and the weekend to local produce and food. Next to the market is the modern shopping center, where you can expect all your standard high-street chains.
The great thing about Shoreditch is getting lost in the narrow streets and stumbling upon quirky independent stores. It could be home furniture made entirely from recycled cans. It could be your next favourite outfit that no one else owns. The options are limitless.
Where to eat
There is a huge gastronomic scene in Shoreditch, with pretentious cafes and Michelin-starred eateries seeming popping up every day. Some of our highlights include:
- Song Que in Haggerston may resemble a school canteen but it offers scrumptious Vietnamese dishes, and some may even argue that this is the best pho available in London.
- Rochelle Canteen in Brick Lane is a real experience. You can only enter via a buzzer on a tiny door in the wall of a Victorian school, and the menu is extremely selective. Munch on some pea soup with bantam egg, eat rabbit rillettes or make your way through a platter of herb gnocchi.
- Big Apple Hot Dogs, as its name suggests, this is where to go for free-range pork and amazing condiments.
Where to drink
In recent years, Shoreditch really has become ‘the place’ to go for a night out in London, and you can see why.
For a chilled pint, head to The Fox, which is a real magnet for yuppies on a Friday night. There are snacks at the bar if you start feeling a tad peckish, while the extensive wine menu sure is impressive. If you like your drinks with a twist, Happiness Forgets in Old Street has luscious cocktails and fabulous food, while Hawksmoor Spitalfields is a basement bar where the martinis and cosmos keep flowing. The latter truly is one of the best bars in east London.
Where to party
And if your idea of a night out is partying until the wee hours of the morning, the area caters to this too.
The popular haunt here is Cargo, with its great programme of underground artists and huge label parties. In one night, you can hear dubstep, art punk, cheesy pop and indie rock, while there is also an outdoor courtyard that showcases gigs daily. And unlike its name suggests, The Book Club is a great basement club that remains as hipster as ever.
So you may be asking yourself: why here over anywhere else in London? Well, it completely depends on your tastes and what experience you want to be having in the capital city. Many come here for its thriving nightlife scene, while all the various art installations and exhibitions attract culture vultures. It sure is one of the most trendiest parts of London and you will notice a distinctly youthful vibe here.