East London has become a hive of activity, culture and leisure in the last few years. With the Olympic Village and Westfield in Stratford marking the growing number of places to visit. However, before the Olympic Village and Westfield Stratford became iconic places, the East End has hosted historical and traditional sites that have evolved over the decades, especially the famous Brick Lane which is the epitome of a blend of cultures and nationalities. ‘Brick Lane’ was also the inspiration for the novel by Monica Ali set in the 1980s exploring the cross cultural relationships of this hub of communities in the East End.
Today you can visit and explore the multitude of fashionable and trendy markets, only a stone throw away from The East London Hotel. The Backyard Market is home to an array of stalls ranging from food and drink, to vintage jewellery and clothes. Accommodated in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, The Backyard Market has been a shopping destination for arts and crafts lovers since it opened in 2006. Popular with fresh artistic types, its 80 stalls are a great place to pick up handmade jewellery, homemade food, unique fashion by up-and-coming designers, custom-made gifts and the odd vintage gem. Backyard Market is known for its sincere and hospitable community ambiance and the opening hours are pretty friendly, too: it runs from 11am-6pm Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday, making it perfect for a potter after a trendy Shoreditch brunch.
If you don’t know what you fancy for dinner and you just cannot make up your mind, then definitely head over to The Boiler House- here you can have it all. A large food hall that has every kind of food imaginable, and if you weren’t sure if you fancied Mexican or Italian or Polish or Chinese- don’t worry because at The Boiler House you can have it all! You will certainly be spoilt for choice.
Once you have had your fill of dinner Brick Lane will host you for dessert, and I promise that you will not be disappointed. Crossdown Doughnuts will transport you to a doughnut heaven, you will be able to choose from a multitude of doughnuts to sweeten your palate. Crossdown Doughnuts is an entire bar devoted to purely coffee and doughnuts. The sourdough doughnut connoisseurs are neighbours to the bagel shops so if you happened to be looking for a little dessert this is the place to be.
The rival bagel shops are a whole other story, they have been around for decades and add a little history to Brick Lane. Again you are spoilt for choice with the fillings and toppings from slabs of meat with gherkins and mustard to vegan options too. Both ‘The Beigel Shop’ and ‘Beigel Bake’ are popular and you might want to avoid them at lunchtimes when the queues snake and stretch out along into the street. These soft doughy bagels are, however, definitely worth the wait and will not leave you disappointed.
If you have an eye for art then perhaps you would appreciate the contemporary graffiti art in the area, particularly in Brick Lane. There are some eye catching and awe inspiring pieces that can really stretch the imagination. Just taking a stroll and taking in the sights can be thoroughly enjoyable, whilst you take in the contemporary street art on route.
If you are looking for a quieter spot away from the hubbub of the market places and the sights and smells of food and cuisine, then perhaps you would rather a walk on the quieter side. The Brick Lane Bookshop is a small oasis of calm and quiet in this vibrant and exciting part of London. Take your time to browse the shelves and lose yourself in a book or two. You can return to the East London Hotel and retire to your room with your Nespresso coffee and curl up with a good book, if you fancy a night in after all your busy adventures of the day.
Alternatively, are you up for some ‘Fun ‘n’ Games’? If so then why not head over to All Star Lanes. They don’t do things by halves. They do strikes! Think cocktails, think all American eats in Lanes Kitchen, and think awesome private events in their Penthouse. You can eat American and bowl American. With their bowling alleys and great food and drink you will not forget this place in a hurry. In the heart of Shoreditch, forget yourself and become your American alter ego. For a fun night with great American Diner style burgers and shakes with the opportunity to strike out- head over to All Star Lanes for a fun-filled evening.