Top alternative things to do in east London


You’re heading off for a holiday in London for a long weekend and we don’t blame you for being excited but maybe going to all of the standard tourist spots isn’t your favourite way of seeing a new city?

As interesting as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament are – and they are pretty great – they can be overrun with people on the weekend, particularly if it’s the height of summer.

If this is how you feel, then you don’t need to worry, as London is still the perfect place for you to visit because it and the people who live here pride themselves on offering you lots of alternative and unusual places to visit and things to see.

In fact, there are new places opening all the time to showcase the best of what the Big Smoke has to offer, particularly in the east of the city. 

Not only this, but there are lots of different ways for you to get around and see the city itself – you don’t just have to rely on the Tube your entire trip!

We’ve pulled together a little list of the top alternative things for you to do and see in east London to ensure you have an unforgettable trip.

Take a trip on a canal boat

As we mentioned, using the Underground train system isn’t the only way for you to get around the city. Although it’s one of the most popular ways to travel, this also means that it’s very busy and during rush-hour, you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. 


Instead, why not take a trip on a canal boat? There are tours and boats running along Regent’s Canal every day of the week, offering you a unique and very relaxing perspective of the city. 

Hotels near Moorgate Station

Perhaps you’d like to stay somewhere a bit different too, which is why M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City Hotel is a great choice. 

It’s nestled in amongst all of the most exciting digital and tech startups in the city, making it a vibrant and exciting place for you to stay. 

The hotel itself offers comfortable rooms with plenty of charging docks for gadgets, great views and a bar that has a huge focus on gin – London’s favourite spirit. 

The Limehouse Basin

Getting back to the tour around east London, you should make a stop at the Limehouse Basin, which is at the crossway between Wapping and St Katherine Docks. 

It can come across as a huge surprise to many visiting the city, as it presents an alternative quiet atmosphere from the rest of London. It has a small lake village quality about it that you won’t find anywhere else and is decorated by cute houses and boats all along the water. 

To get here, you can take the Docklands Light Railway train system, which is another unusual way to travel around the city. 

Wilton’s Music Hall

The fact that London has a thriving music scene shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, however, one of the lesser-spotted but amazing venues to visit is Wilton’s Music Hall in Whitechapel. 

It has stood in Whitechapel for more than 300 years, making it one of the oldest music halls in London but it wasn’t always a place to see a great show.

Originally, Wilton’s Music Hall was built as individual houses that have been subject to countless alternations and reconstructions over the years. However, it was John Wilton in the mid 1800s who made the hall a place of great music and art. 

Today, you can see anything from films, music, opera and dance shows at the hall, which now operates as a charity. 

Columbia Road Flower Market

We’re sure you’ve heard of the Chelsea Flower Show but there’s a good chance you won’t be familiar with the Columbia Road Flower Market, which is a favourite with Londoners in the east of London.


You’ll find it in Bethnal Green and it won’t be hard to spot, as the flowers give the area a wonderful brightness, even in winter. Of course, it’s best to visit in summer when the sun is shining, but you can pick up a bunch of flowers or a plant at any time of year from here. 

Head along on Sundays to make sure you see the market and while you’re there dip into one of the many coffee shops, restaurants and pubs that help to make this market a great stop on your holiday.