In recent years, London’s East End has really come into its own. Long considered a less glamorous corner of the city, areas such as Hackney, Bethnal Green and Dalston are trading on their rugged aesthetic and becoming hubs of social activity, in an inclusive, diverse way. This historically rich, and culturally diverse section of London is finally getting the respect it deserves – and we can’t get enough! Whether you’re lucky enough to be an Eastender, or looking to venture out for the day, here are a few ideas for your “Weekend in the East End”.
We love a stroll through the market on a weekend morning and East London is home to some of the finest, many of which still lie at the heart of their respective communities. Broadway Market, with a mission statement to ‘serve the whole community: all races gender and religions’, is a community project that epitomises the 21st century East London Spirit. The marketplace, bustling on a Saturday morning, offers second-hand record and book stalls, vintage clothing and a wide range of food and drink from local suppliers. There’s also a great selection of work from local artists too – making this a great spot for gift shopping. To complete the atmosphere, you can bank on seeing an impressive busker or two, also! Other markets to check out include Columbia Road Flower Market and Brick Lane Market, which both pop up on a Sunday, only a short walk from one another. Two birds, one stone!
Parks and Recreation
If you’ve never been to Victoria Park on a summer’s day you don’t know what you’re missing! A fine lake takes centre stage, populated not only by ducks but by pedalos too. Situated between Bethnal Green, Hackney and Bow, Vicky Park is a great antidote to the busy-ness of city life. Throughout summer there’s also a real variety of events held in the park. Lovebox festival, Brainchild of Groove Armada, welcomes some of the biggest names in modern music annually to Victoria Park, headlined this year by Frank Ocean and Chase and Status, while Field Day and Citadel both offer a slightly different festival experience on the same site. Really, it’s no surprise that this spot’s been voted Britain’s favourite public open space, on multiple occasions.
As the day stretches to night, there are few better combinations than a great pub and live music. The Sebright Arms, just off Hackney Road, is a great spot for live music, with music curated most nights of the week. Bands play in the basement while the upstairs hosts a sprawling pub-space with a great food menu courtesy of Lucky Chip burgers. For the nocturnal crowd, East London also features some of London’s finest dance floors – bigger club-spaces such as Oval Space, XOYO and fabric are offset nicely by the more intimate, vibes-y venues such as The Pickle Factory and The Nest, meaning you’re spoilt for choice when picking a spot for the early morning dance.
Other notable mentions
Brick Lane – Whether you visit the market or not, the Hot Salt Beef Beigel from the famous bagel shop on Brick Lane is a rite of passage for the East End tour
Old Spitalfields Market – A really tasteful shopping location with both market stalls and high street shops (Tiger, Urban Outfitters and Fred Perry, to name a few). Easy access from Liverpool St. and good food too
Geffrye Museum – The Museum of the home on the cusp of Shoreditch and Hoxton is a great day out for the family, this museum traces how wider societal changes were reflected through the domestic setting. Interesting stuff!
Many, many more…
Photo credit: flickr user George Rex, https://flic.kr/p/mKKvg6, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/