Granted: Shoreditch isn’t quite the undiscovered, uber cool neighbourhood it might have been a while ago... but there are still few parts of London that can match E1 for a dose of all things gritty, eclectic and arty. Oh and it happens to be where the SpareRoom office is based, so it’s definitely still cool…
Despite its gradual gentrification over the years, Shoreditch still remains a popular area for flatsharers. We’ve usually got more than 1000 ads on SpareRoom for rooms in the area. Expect to find converted warehouses, urban apartments and regenerated council blocks in the mix.
Sandwiched between thriving Liverpool Street (read: full of suits), edgy Bethnal Green and even edgier Hoxton, Shoreditch is basically where East London and its beards begin. It’s the place to go for pop-ups, street food and a fair amount of street art too – but what else draws hipsters and tourists alike to E1? Read on.
How do I get there?
Shoreditch itself is most quickly accessed from Shoreditch High Street on the Overground line, but the neighbourhood is within walking distance of several central tube stops and lines.
The busiest and best-served of all is Liverpool Street – with Overground services, National Rail, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City lines all running through it. Or catch a District line to Aldgate East and enjoy the stroll down through Brick Lane.
Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can try a walk through the city. Keep going straight across London Bridge and you’ll land in Shoreditch in a mere 30mins, with bonus views of some of the city’s best high rises and architecture on the way.
What is there to do?
If you’re into your graffiti, you’ve come to the right place – Shoreditch is plastered with it. Check out this list for a roundup of where to find it, and have your Insta lens at the ready…
Of course, a trip to Brick Lane is pretty much obligatory when visiting E1 – and you won’t be short of things to do there either. This famous street is the ultimate place to find vintage clothes in the city – namely at Brick Lane Market. Others worth a look for your funky tee fix: Hunky Dory, and Rokit.
Culture vultures should make a beeline for Rich Mix – an “independent arts centre” recently saved from permanent closure. The venue houses three cinema screens, alongside regular theatre performances, gigs, art exhibitions and workshops.
Unleash your inner child at Ballie Ballerson, an adult-sized ballpit with 4000ft of balls, disco DJs, retro sweet cocktails and guaranteed LOLs. Be a baller and dive right in – it’s East London’s most hilarious, exhilarating playground for grown ups.
If you’re in the area on a Sunday, set your alarm for an early start and make your way to Columbia Road Flower Market. The whole affair is so aesthetically pleasing it’s crying out for an Instagram (or 50), but visuals aside it’s a pretty good place to snap up a bit of botany. If you want the cream of the crop, get there close to 8am – but turn up at 2pm and you can make the most of cut-price flowers as traders pack up for the day.
Where do I eat?
Herein lies a problem: there’s just too much choice. Here are some of our foodie faves…
Start with brunch at Dirty Bones and make sure you order the chicken and waffles, complete with a shot of maple syrup and fried egg. It’s a total gamechanger, best accompanied with the venue’s bottomless brunch cocktails… Does it even get better than 1.5hrs of unlimited Bloody Mary’s?
For a quick lunch, you can’t miss the infamous Beigel Bake – a 24hr Brick Lane bakery that’s so dedicated to serving fresh, authentic bagels that it stays open AROUND THE CLOCK. Get the hot salt beef and mustard, and get a couple of plain bagels to take home. Trust us.
There are plenty of street eats in the area, but most of the best come together under one roof at Dinerama. You’ll find everything from dumplings to doughnut, and jerk chicken, kebabs and meat-free Mexican too. Or nip up the road to Boxpark where we’ve tried, tasted and approved many a halloumi wrap.
If you’re a bit over burgers and pizza and want to sit at a proper table, hit up Andina for experimental Peruvian food at reasonable prices. Or check out Strut & Cluck – serving Eastern Mediterranean small plates, with twisted flavours and tasty toppings. Best dishes include: the juicy hand-pulled shawarma topped with dates and pine nuts, charred cauliflower topped with lemon zest craime fraiche and pomegranate, and the za’atar squid. Wear big trousers, obvs.
And if you’re going ALL out? Look no further than The Clove Club. Cheap it certainly isn’t, but this venue’s modern British tasting menus are crafted by top-rated chefs and ooze with elegance. The setting ain’t bad either – it’s located right inside Shoreditch Town Hall.
And the drinks?
For unreal cocktails in a classy, speakeasy-style setting try Nightjar, where the drinks often come with a side of live jazz. Or try local favourite Callooh Callay. It’s tucked pretty sneakily away down a cobbled lane, but promises a bustling vibe and stylish drinks.
When the weather’s on your side, it’s essential to visit a rooftop – and they don’t get much better than Boundary. This destination does it all, from lazy lunches, cocktails, balmy evenings or cosy nights too (heaters and blankets are provided), all with great views of the city.
If a pub pint is more your vibe, The Water Poet is a great shout. It’s HUGE (with dining rooms, a giant beer garden and stacks of bar space), and regularly screens events and sports in its quirky surroundings.
But if a heavy club sesh is what you’re really here for, you won’t be disappointed either. Shoreditch is home of well-known venues like Cargo and XOYO which both host impressive resident DJs (go to Cargo for urban, XOYO for house/disco) in pretty cool, warehouse-style venues. It’ll be worth every minute of the inevitably long queue to get in…
Shoreditch resident with a story to tell? We’d love to hear your favourite bits of E1.
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