Make no mistake; there’s nowhere in London quite like Shoreditch. Bursting with attractions and venues showcasing the latest in cutting-edge and fun and frivolous art, music, fashion, food and nightlife trends, it’s an incredibly vivacious part of town – here’s a slew of its must-sees and must-dos…
Track down some cracking street art
(Redchurch Street E2 7DJ)
One of the most prominent examples of just how dynamic and exciting an area of London Shoreditch has swiftly become is its street art – not least because this cool, bold, artform can be experienced and enjoyed for free as it’s displayed on the district’s outer walls, brickwork, bridge-arches and down quiet cul-de-sacs. As noted, Redchurch Street’s a great locale for this vividly urban expression of art, as too are the likes of Brick Lane, Toynbee Street, Bell Lane and Fashion Street.
Go bagel-crazy in Brick Lane
(155 Brick Lane E1 6SB)
Ah, Brick Lane – the curry capital of the capital. But it’s not just Indian Sub-Continent cuisine down here. Oh no, for this is an iconic stretch of East London that’s also renowned for its beatific bagels via the incomparable baking at both Beigel Bake and the Beigel Shop. So much so, in fact, that even the locals can’t decide exactly which of these near-neighbouring establishments serve up the best Jewish-influenced breads goods. Why not visit them both and – try to – decide for yourself!
Step back in time at the Geffrye Museum
(136 Kingsland Road E2 8EA)
Housed in elegantly charismatic Grade I-listed almshouse buildings that date back to 18th Century, this underrated museum offers visitors a unique and fascinating opportunity to see how the ‘London home’ evolved and changed across at least four centuries (from the year 1600 all the way up to the present day). On display are not just exquisite furniture pieces, taxidermy examples and beautiful fine art, but also – more unexpectedly – almost science-fiction like gadgetry produced in the 1960s. Note: the house’s gardens are also perfect for a sunny summer’s day picnic if you’re visiting East London with the family.
Dip into Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
(152-154 Bethnal Green Road E2 6DG)
One for cat-lovers this – and then some! The reason? Because this charming little place that serves up terrific traditionally English afternoon tea comes complete with (count ’em!) 13 resident felines. So why not pop in and enjoy that most British of tasty treats alongside lounging, sleeping, playful and miaowing cats? Or, if you’re ‘lucky’ enough, you may stumble upon one of the café’s knitting nights, where picking up new skills with a pair of needles and a ball of wool’s what it’s all about – and quite the alternative to checking out one of the clubs in Shoreditch!
Dabble in table tennis at The Book Club
(100-106 Leonard Street EC2A 4RH)
Ping-pong isn’t an activity you’d necessarily associate with a Central London bar, but don’t forget this is the hipster heaven that’s Shoreditch and, thus, in many ways absolutely anything goes here. In fact, in addition to challenging not just whoever you walk in with but total strangers to a ‘bat-up’, you can check out the artwork displays, sup away at a cocktail or two or delve into a delicious dish at this nightspot-cum-restaurant-cum-art-gallery-cum-table-tennis-venue.
Be serenaded over brunch by a string quartet
(Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, 100 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JQ)
Finally, something a little more refined, nay old-fashioned to enjoy among all of Shoreditch’s eclectic, far-out delights. For this one enables visitors to indulge in a supreme weekend brunch experience (including cocktails) while a string quartet plays the hits. The hits? Yes, this is Shoreditch; so their repertoire’s made up of interpretations of the latest pop and R&B tunes. But of course it is!