Once thought to be run-down and derelict, Shoreditch has burst through the scene as London’s newest and most exciting area for young people in the city. The definition of ‘edgy’, Shoreditch is known for its street-art graffiti, its offerings to the world of streetwear and fashion, and for its nightlife, which is made up mainly of quirky, independently-run bars and clubs. Whatever the season or time of day, Shoreditch is teeming with life and colour; here is everything that you should definitely do in 24 hours here.
For me, a trip into Shoreditch starts at Liverpool Street Station, as it drops you pretty much in the middle of the area. Stepping out onto the street here throws you into a throng of businessmen, tourists and locals alike, and gives you a view of London’s financial district skyline.
Just a 5-minute walk from the station is Spitalfield’s Market: an undercover market surrounded by restaurants, bars and cafes (usually chains). The market itself has some beautiful handmade jewellery, clothes and bags, and range in price based on the stall you buy them from.There is also a food market here, where you can try a variety of street foods from all across the globe. An eclectic mix of stores can also be found here, from cycle club and cafe Rapha to funky home decor and gifts in InSpitalfields. In the winding streets just outside the market, you can find the UK’s ‘best fish and chips’ in Poppie’s on Hanbury Street, which puts a modern twist on the traditional fish and chip shop – the chips with curry sauce are perfect fuel for a day of exploring!
Just east of the market is Brick Lane. Famous for its rows and rows of curry houses, Brick Lane also offers some of the best street art that can be found in the city. Dotted amongst the vast selection of Indian restaurants are also bars, cafes and a particularly yummy chocolate shop called Dark Sugars, which has every flavour of chocolate you could possibly imagine, alongside the most delicious, thick hot chocolate. If you are stopping for a curry here, make sure you barter with the waiters coaxing you in from the street – often, you can bag yourself a couple of free bottles of wine.
Nestled in a little alleyway called Dray Walk are a collection of pop-up shops and eccentric bars that give Shoreditch its fun, trendy name. Those for whom the high-street shop just doesn’t cut it will come here to browse through the hoardes of vintage and unusual clothing. With the bright, striking collection of Illustrated People, fashion lovers from all over the world come here to expand their wardrobes. Famous record shop Rough Trade can also be found here, opposite the Junk Yard Golf Club – a bar on top with a crazy golf course underneath.
If you’re looking for a place to rest your weary head, and don’t mind stretching the purse strings, the Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street is a hipster’s heaven, and offers New York loft-style rooms with metallic colour schemes, flat-screen TVs and a fully stocked minibar. The young, stylish and super-friendly staff, alongside the cocktail bar on the ground floor all add to the experience, making this a perfect place to stay in the heart of Shoreditch.
Shoreditch High Street itself is the perfect place to shop for London’s ever-increasing ‘sneakerhead’ community, offering stores such as Sneakers N Stuff and the pop-up stores of Box Park. Often seen to have queues outside for the newest sneaker drops, these stores are always up-to-date with the latest streetwear fashions, and serve as a meeting point for many of those with a passion for style. However, Box Park – a small shopping area made from abandoned shipping crates – offers more than just retail and fashion, with small cafes, bars, street food restaurants and even hairdressers: there is something for everyone here, and is a definite must-see for anyone in the area!
Moving towards Old Street Station, and further into the west of the city, are the cute cafes and restaurants that surround Clerkenwell Road. This is an ideal place to visit if you’re looking to escape the rush of central Shoreditch.
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