One thing I was told when I officially visited London for the first time last year was to check out Shoreditch. Ironically, it took me a whole seven months later to finally check it out and I’ve returned countless times since.
Shoreditch is an artsy area adjoining to the equally hip neighbourhood of Hoxton. Young creatives and trendsetters fill the fashionable clubs and bars that surround Shoreditch High Street, Great Eastern Street and Old Street. An eclectic dining scene features everything from trendy chain restaurants and smart gastropubs to artisan coffee shops and sushi bars. As well as, an overflowing mass of vintage and designer shops awaiting to be discovered and a range of amazing hotels to stay at. This area of London is bustling and filled to the brim with hidden gems and countless things to do.
As it can all feel a little overwhelming, I thought I could use my now, very extensive knowledge to create an ultimate travel guide to cater to all your needs.
Whilst travelling can be an incredible experience, getting the hotel right can make or break your holiday. It’s so important to find the right place to stay that accommodates to your personal needs. Thankfully Hotels.com has you covered with all the best hotels in the Shoreditch area.
This guide is going to give you the best overview and information to give you an informed decision. However, as a young creative, I highly recommend Ace Hotel. With a cool shop, flower boutique, VIP Rooftop hosting hip events, lovely staff, cafe and restaurant, incredible rooms, gym and charming lobby, all that’s missing is a giant chocolate fountain!
Kick your Coffee Fix
Coffee shops are one of those very over saturated places where there are just so many independent ones and they all look alike. However, when you wander in the first one you see and order a tall mocha latte only to be spitting it out 5 minutes later because it is utterly tasteless, then you’re left feeling a little defeated. How do you tell apart the good from the bad and which ones are great to go to when you’re wanting to get in the work-grind?
Like any artistic, hipster place, Shoreditch offers countless coffee shops and to save you some time, here are my top 5…
133 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JE
Looking for that amazing coffee you see all over Instagram? Then Aida is the place with their photogenic rose lattes, organic interiors and a big window giving the perfect lighting. What’s even cooler, it’s actually part of a store, founded by four sisters.
BARBOUR AND PARLOUR
64-66 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP (entrance on Club Row)
Barbour and Parlour is located on Redchurch Street (a whole street dedicated to coffee shops!) and not only serves great coffee, but it is also home to a barbers, a cinema and a nail salon. The perfect place for a bit of pamper and chill. It’s very unorthodox but quite an experience.
135 Brick Ln, London, E1 6SB
Undoubtedly my favourite coffee house in the area. Nestled amongst the curry houses, pop up stores and galleries of the vibrant Brick Lane, Kahaila is a snug wooden cocoon of delicious smells. With homespun, distressed wood interiors to match the simple but generous food and drink offered, sourced from local suppliers, they feature local artists and host events. What I love is that this coffee shop is a charity so all profits are channelled back into the local community! Alot of ‘wifi table-huggers’ so if you want to get some work done, this is a good place to go.
OZONE COFFEE ROASTERS
11 Leonard St, London EC2A 4AQ
Artisan roastery’s coffee shop with a lovely atmosphere and earthy decor. They also serve alcohol snacks and brunch food. This is a lovely place to visit with a friend but it can get very busy and isn’t ideal for enjoying a comfortable seat with a book, so keep this in mind if you’re visiting on your own and want to get work done. This isn’t the place for that.
213 Old St, London EC1V 9NR
This place kept on popping up whenever the mention of good coffee houses in Shoreditch arrived and upon visiting I can see why. A pulsing part of the Shoreditch music scene, this Espresso shop is also actually a state-of-the-art and uniquely designed recording studio, as well as a licensed bar by night. With so many identities, you’d think this place wouldn’t be able to keep it up but Shoreditch Grind manages to maintain its vibrant character and style throughout.
What’s a travel guide for Shoreditch AKA the birth place of London Art without a list of the best art galleries, cinemas, museums and the likes to kill your time? Looking to uncover emerging creative talent or entertain yourself? Here are the best places to go.
ALL STAR LANES
95 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
A cool Americana-themed boutique bowling alley, this is a fun place to go no matter your age or interests. All Star Lanes also offers karaoke and a restaurant, and is the perfect place to visit on a rainy day. The downfall is that the alley is rather exclusive and only offers just six lanes and booking is essential. So it’s certainly not for the spontaneous.
136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA
This museum explores London home life through the centuries, from 1600 to the present day. Full of unique pieces of furniture on display, paintings, knick knacks and some interesting futuristic-looking gadgets from the 1960s. A walk in the museum’s gardens is the perfect way to spend a sunny day.
LONDON SHUFFLE CLUB
4 Ebor St, London E1 6AW
We stumbled upon this by accident and what a happy one it was. If you’re looking for something fun and different to do, I couldn’t recommend this place more. Great cocktails, some yummy food (vegan pizza hello!) and a game of shuffle board with your pals.
THE QUEEN OF HOXTON’S ROOFTOP
1 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3JX
Situated above one of the most popular clubs in east London, this rooftop bar offers the most amazing views in Shoreditch and will make you feel like you’re a VIP. In the summer there is often a barbecue, so Vegans be warned, the smell isn’t pleasant.
Markets is what the Shoreditch area is famous for, particularly Brick lane! From fashion, to food to everything in between, if you’re looking for a cheap bargain or ultimate steal then this is without a doubt the best area to wander through in the whole of London. I’ve personally been to a lot of markets throughout the city and no where does it better than this neighbourhood. The perfect thing to do if you’re Sunday is feeling slow and boring.
COLUMBIA FLOWER MARKET
Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG
If you have nothing better to do on a Sunday morning, then head down to the Columbia flower market.
The market opens 8am, closes at 2pm and get’s very crowded from 11am onwards. Therefore, it’s recommended to go when it opens if you want to get some pretty shots and have a good browse. Otherwise, there isn’t a lot else to do around, so it’s best to go if you want to buy some cheap flowers.
If you do decide to go down, make a day of it and fit in a few other things from this list. Fashion blogger tip: I occasionally like to pick up a load of cheap beauties if I have a photo shoot that requires a pretty prop and then have them sitting pretty in my kitchen window, straight after.
146 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL
If you want to experience utter market madness and the ‘artsy London’, the American media is always portraying, then Brick Lane should be your first place of conquest. Full of talented hands, originality and the promise of finding something unexpectedly wonderful. Open both Saturday (11am-6pm) and Sunday (10am – 5pm), the Backyard Market is set just off Brick Lane past the Tea Rooms, featuring over 50 stalls. You’ll find trendy designer clothes unavailable in the shops, home cooked food (so many amazing vegan goods!) and arts and crafts all jostling for space.
Sclater Street Bethnal Green London E1 6SB
This is the cheapest place, I know of, to buy fruit and vegetables in London. Everything is sold in 1£ bowls which on average are pretty full. Every few months I drag my boyfriend, Elvis, to pick up a few boxes of avocados (usually 15-20+ per box) for £2.99! (sometimes, £3.95 depending on the time of the year) You go to any grocery store and you are looking at 2 avocados for £2.00. This way, it’s looking at approximately 19P per avocado. How insane is that saving! Moreover, my boyfriend is a great haggler and we usually get them even cheaper. Then, we just freeze them and defrost the night before and voila! A super cheap yummy healthy breakfast for yours truly. Just make sure to get their earlier than later so you don’t miss out on picking from the best.
The market is also right next to BoxPark so you can pick up some fresh fruits and veggies before browsing around the shops.
Venture through the streets
Everywhere you turn, amazing graffiti street art will bless your eyes. After all, Brick Lane is world famous for its street art, which features artists such as Banksy, D*Face and Ben Eine. The street art is constantly changing, new work is created, new artists come to the area. From one day to the next exciting finds will always be made so simply walking around the streets is quite special on it’s own.
Shop t’il you drop
As we have already established, Shoreditch is the crazy, eccentric, art-freak uncle of London. Therefore, it is no surprise that this area of London is overflowing with the best unique fashion pieces just waiting to be uncovered. If you’re looking to step away from mainstream fashion, the same old high street brands then there’s no better place to explore than the streets of Shoreditch.
BoxPark is the worlds first pop-up mall with the whole bottom floor consisting of wicked brands and independent designers. Fusing the concepts of modern street food and placing local and global brands side by side to create a unique shopping and dining destination, this place is the definition of idiosyncratic. Bonus! There’s a little vegan beauty pop-up shop!
4 Holywell Ln, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3ET
Where retail therapy meets in-store alternative therapies. Celestine Eleven is a Fashion boutique/holistic centre offering books, women’s clothing, wellness products and treatments. Celestine Eleven has a small chic department store vibe offering everything you never knew you needed, but which you definitely do. I find it difficult to leave empty-handed.
151 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3QE
Constantly listed as one of London’s best shops by various Londoners, the Shoreditch shopping list wouldn’t be complete without Goodhood; a lovingly curated selection of womenswear, homeware and accessories. If you are a minimalist, this will quickly become your haven.
LUNA & CURIOUS
24-26 Calvert Ave, London E2 7JP
Quintessentially English teacups, carefully crafted ceramics, handmade jewellery, quirky clothes, and a load of knick knacks, this is an adorable place that you really must visit. Every month, the shop offers up space to a team of emerging designers to display their work.
ROUGH TRADE EAST
Old Truman Brewery 91, Brick Ln, London E1 6QL
I went to Nottingham Trent University to get my degree, so was already familiar with the Rough Trade in the city center and loved it a lot. Now that I’m spending most of my time living in London, I love popping into the Rough Trade on Brick Lane. Perfect for music lovers, this place is a music emporium with all the best records; a coffee shop, knowledgable staff, books and hosts in-store gigs. A great place to chill with your friends and blow your money on some new tunes. In my opinion, you won’t find a better music store in London.
Vegan Food Spots
One thing London isn’t sparse on is the incredible Vegan options sitting around every corner and Shoreditch is perhaps the prime of them all. If you’re looking for the ultimate list of the hottest vegan food spots to tickle your tastebuds, then you’ve clicked on the right blogpost. I’ve done the hard work of eating my way around Shoreditch- just for you!
COOKDAILY in BOXPARK
2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6GY
CookDaily is a vegan food stall on the 2nd floor of BoxPark offering countless (countless being an understatement) Asian-inspired noodle or rice bowls. Most come with the option of adding tofu or plant-based chickn.
Other vegan options in BoxPark
Beatbox offers vegan mushroom pies.
Poptata does fancy fries with vegan cheddar
Osteria della Pasta has 4 vegan sauces & pastas.
Nosteagia has a vegan bubble waffle! Drool.
Unit 9, Avant Garde Building, London E1 6LD
With 4 burgers to choose from (and an occasional limited edition) 4 sides, 4 shakes (you can make it alcoholic), and a whole range of other drinks to choose from. It’s no wonder that V Burger are doing so well in the two years since it’s launch. Although their burgers are very nice, they weren’t to my personal taste. More sauce please? However, I love that they promote conscious consumerism for the planet and their ‘fast food’ approach with restaurant quality was a refreshing change.
104 Brick Ln, London E1 6RL
This is undoubtedly my favourite burger place. Sitting on Brick Lane, Mooshies is a casual vegan burger bar, with 4 kinds of burgers (they bring out special edition ones throughout the year) and 7 sides. They also serve vegan desserts from Vida Bakery. As someone who is big on getting her money’s worth, Mooshies serves up a whopper of a burger and their plantain guacamole side is ingenious. To add, they can do everything as a gluten free option so this is perfect for allergens, looking for a decent vegan burger. Their fillet-om-phish, is a personal favourite of mine. The only downfall is it’s open seating so you can end up on a table with a group of people you don’t know.
ESSENTIAL VEGAN CAFE
6 Calvert Ave, London E2 7JP
The Essential Vegan Cafe is a casual Brazilian cafe, ran by three sisters, with a lovely atmosphere that allows you to get away from the city in a safe haven of yummy food. They offer a unique menu consisting of Brazilian-inspired burgers, small bites, and a few other mains. They also have a tasty selection of vegan desserts and offer a cute breakfast of pancakes and scrambled tofu. To add, they allow dogs, the staff are lovely and they have art from local artists sitting on their walls.
CURB YOUR CAKE CRAVINGS
139 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
A Vegan and gluten-free bakery offering cakes, cupcakes, brownies, hot drinks and soft serve ice cream. Their selection is always diverse and you’ll have difficulty coming to a decision. Unfortunately, some of the cupcakes are better than others with some being drier which I think could be the cause of them all being gluten free as I know personally that this can be harder to bake. You can also order some cakes and treats online and have them delivered to your London hotel!
BRICK LANE BEIGEL BAKE
159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
Beigel Bake is an institution, making the best bagels you will have ever. Think I’m spreading my bagel love to thin here? I dare you to go and try their goods and disagree with my statement. They serve American-styled bagels in all sorts of crazy concoctions. They have rainbow beigels! Although I personally suggest grabbing a plain one and slathering it vegan cream cheese or peanut butter from the grocery store around the corner. Their biggest downfall however, is at the front of the shop they make smoked meat sandwiches involving excessive slabs of animal flesh which can knock your appetite.
157 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
Although this isn’t a solely vegan place, they offer a large range of vegan doughnuts, made for the ultimate indulgence. Oddly, they were exactly like some of the other independent doughnut places I’ve had the chance to hit across the U.K. Anyone remember me raving Doughnotts when I was at university? Not sure whose copying off of who or if i’m missing the punchline. Nonetheless, you cant not pop to London and not have one of these babies. The PB and J is hard to finish but you won’t be disappointed.
* In collaboration with Hotels.com. Spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own. Read the disclaimer for more info.
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