Village London: Shoreditch and Hoxton

Band playing in Shoreditch, (photo by MT Evans)
Band playing in Shoreditch

East London was the first stop for many of the immigrants whose labour helped fuel the Industrial Revolution and build the docks through which much of the British Empire's trade passed. Poverty and overcrowding were endemic. Today, many areas remain poor, but others have been gentrified. Shoreditch and Hoxton is now one of the coolest areas in London, with a thriving contemporary art scene, fantastic markets and a great nightlife.

Tube stops: Liverpool Street on the Central, Hammersmith & City, Circle, and Metropolitan lines (for Shoreditch), Old Street on the Northern line (for Hoxton). Or Dalston Junction overground for both. 

 

The postcodes E1 and E2 have the highest concentration of artists in Europe, and are a thriving cultural quarter. Many people come for the galleries, but most flock here for the drinking, the eating and the general vibe. Shoreditch and Hoxton are great to just wander around seeing where you end up. Here’s a sample of places to get you started.

Galleries

Victoria Miro (16 Wharf Rd), an elegantly converted warehouse in which to see Peter Doig, Chris Ofili and Grayson Perry. Parasol Unit (14 Wharf Rd) is a swanky, not-for-profit space with an artist-in-residence scheme and first-rate exhibitions. White Cube (48 Hoxton Square) is an essential destination for artists famous or about-to-be. Store (27 Hoxton St) also shows rising stars. Rivington Place public gallery has a permanent collection of international contemporary art. Rocket (Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St) exhibits well-known photographers. Finish your gallery tour by walking down Redchurch Street where you will find many smaller galleries and a fantastic old-style London pub The Owl & the Pussycat (34), and...

Cafes, Bars, Restaurants

Macondo (Unit 2a, 8–9 Hoxton Square) for coffee, cake and snacks. Yelo (8–9 Hoxton Square) – great Thai food upstairs, trendy bar downstairs. The Breakfast Club (2–4 Rufus St) for all-day fry-ups. Les Trois Garcons (1 Club Row) is a great restaurant upstairs from Loungelovers, a cool cocktail bar. Arguably London’s best takeaway cup of coffee can be had from Prufrock Coffee, tucked inside menswear store Present (140 Shoreditch High St). Down the Kingsland Road is the way to go for fantastic cheap Vietnamese food. 

A Museum and a Market

While here, visit The Geffrye Museum (136 Kingsland Rd; www.geffryemuseum.org), a series of rooms decorated in all the most popular styles from 1600 to the present day, set out in elegant 18th-century almshouses surrounded by period gardens.

If you are in the area on a Saturday, try Broadway Market (London Fields), a great little market for vintage clothes, food and authentic London bustle.

 

The annual Shoreditch Festival starts tomorrow - a free programme of events running until the 22nd July, including the Hoxton Street Party. Click here for more information.