East London

Streetart
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Walk on the Wild Art Side

Ok, so you’ve never been to Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Convent Garden, Westminster, Soho or the West End of London. Fine. Then you absolutely owe it to yourself to experience these classic places during your first visit to the British capital.

However, if you’ve already crossed them off your “bucket list”, head over to East London for a walk on the wild art side of town!

East London is made up of six boroughs and part of a seventh, Hackney, where I recently spent a couple of days exploring the neighborhoods of Shoreditch, Spatelfields and Brick Lane.

Though currently undergoing a seemingly out-of-control gentrification process, there’s still time to experience the genuine, gritty vibe along the same streets and narrow alleys walked by William Shakespeare and stalked by the notorious Jack the Ripper. Up until a decade or so ago, this area was infamous for being rough and tough. Today, most of East London – at least during daytime – is a family friendly destination.

Start from the Aldgate Underground Station and stroll along Commercial Street towards the somewhat posh but visit-worthy Spitalfields Market with origins from 1682. At the statuesque Christ Church, turn down on either Fashion Strett or Fournier Street to reach the colorful, shabby-chic Brick Lane where a profusion of vintage shops, curry houses, cafés (including the famous Cereal Killer Café) and the Truman Brewery with its galleries, shops and eateries await you.

Brick Lane and adjacent side streets and alleys will keep you immersed for at least a few hours and eventually, when you reach Bethnal Green Road, you can hang a left and head through a few blocks of Shoreditch and wind up back on Commercial Street.

Wall-bound Artistry

The street art scene around this part of the East London is nothing less than astonishing. You can literally spend days trying cover it al. Though some of the area’s graffiti scene seems to have been commissioned, there’s also an abundance of more anarchistic, religious, tribal and politically poised wall decorations and poetic prose to absorb.

Where to eat

Commercial Street has a plethora of restaurants to choose from. We tried the gorgeously funky Yuu Kitchen with its tattoo art inspired decor. Their menu is packed with a selection of treats from all over the world – including bite size concoctions from Asia, South America and Mexico. For its location, Yuu Kitchen is surprisingly affordable, too. We spent less than £65 for five different really tasty dishes, two rounds of a local draught beer and a single shot of smooth Japanese whisky (Nikka). Service was relaxed yet attentive and I highly recommend sitting by the open kitchen to get the fullest experience here.

Where to grab coffee

On the corner of Gun Street and Brushfield Street is the ultimate cozy pitstop; Verde & Co, a tiny café with a great selection of coffee, chocolate, tea and luscious confectionery.

Shopping

AIDA
A multi-concept store with fashion and homeware that reflects the creative, vibrant area in which they are based.
133 Shoreditch High Street

ARTWORDS BOOKSHOP
They specialise in gorgeous books on contemporary visual arts and  culture, covering subjects like fashion, graphic design, architecture, photography, fine art and visual & critical theory.
69 Rivington Street

BLITZ
It’ the biggest and best with over 20,000 hand-selected pieces and fresh deliveries each and every week. Blitz is the ultimate shopping experience store when it comes to vintage.
55 – 59 Hanbury Street

LABOUR AND WAIT
Store with carefully selected new and vintage designer homeware, stationery and clothing items.
85 Redchurch Street

TRIANGLE
Triangle was developed by three friends that have the same belief in good design. They select products via a basic framework: is it simple, useful or beautiful. These characteristics are the foundation of their shop.
81 Chatsworth Road

BRICK LANE BOOKSHOP
You will find work by local artists, guides to East End coffee shops, hidden walks and street art, London photography book and lots more.
166 Brick Lane

Hotel tips

Leman locke
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Leman Locke

Everything here seems thoughtfully curated and carefully hand-picked. The suites are almost double the size of the typical boutique hotel room and they range from 30 sqm to 39 sqm, all with fully equipped kitchen, big windows, washer, dryer, Locke Dream bed, super fast free wifi and bedside USB-outlets.
We particularly loved the blond wooden floors (instead of the usual, wall-to-wall shaggy carpet) and the expansive views from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Hoxton
© Image The Hoxton

The Hoxton

210 rooms, in Shoebox, Cosy and Roomy sizes, all feature parquet floors, large mirrors, industrial details, and contemporary monochrome bathrooms.

Whether you’re up for breakfast, a little later for brunch, or fancy a feast at any time of day, The Hoxton got it covered. Open seven days a week, they rise bright and early at 7am and serve food and drinks until late.

Ace Hotel
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Ace Hotel

When you stay at the Ace you it feels more of staying in a friend’s Shoreditch apartment than in a normal hotel room. The lobby is a popular hang-out, — a place to work, relax or wheel and deal 24 hours a day.

Town Hall
© Image Town Hall Hotel

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments

Every room and suite has been individually designed. Many retain grand Edwardian period features, others have an up-in-the-eaves-loft-style chic. All rooms are exceptionally spacious, feeling more like a pied a terre in the city than a traditional hotel room.

Z Hotel
© Image Z Hotel Shoreditch

Z Hotel Shoreditch

The hotel is a designer conversion of a former office building, with 111 bedrooms arranged over lower ground, ground and three upper floors. All of the pillows and mattresses are handmade from natural materials and each room also houses a sleek 40in television with free access to Sky channels.

Point A
© Image Point A Hotel

Point A Hotel

A smart budget hotel with 181 rooms feature flat-screen TVs, safes, and hairdryers. Nice touches to enhance your stay include free toiletries and premium bedding.

Yuu KitchenShoreditch Shoreditch Shoreditch Shoreditch Shoreditch Shoreditch Cereal killerShoreditch Shoreditch Shoreditch Shoreditch
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