May 24, 2022
6 min read
A Guide to London's North East
While the north vs. south of the river debate is now pretty cliché when it comes to London chat, secretly, residents of each corner of the city are still fiercely loyal to their own ‘hoods.
Arguably, it has some of the coolest spots for going out, the hippest hotel lobbies for working remotely, parks aplenty, the city’s best heated Lido, abundant weekend markets, and… Well, scroll down to find out, in our guide to North-East London.
Where to stay in North-East London
The Hoxton, Shoreditch
When you walk through the doors of The Hoxton, Shoreditch, the first thing you see is a giant steel grid stuffed with paperbacks, which sums up the clientele: urban, hard-working, bookish types. The Hoxton Hotels are a solid choice for a meeting spot that will take you from an early morning coffee, right the way through to an after-work cocktail. Just five minutes from Old Street or Shoreditch High Street stations, the 220 rooms vary in size and price, but you are guaranteed sharp, industrial design and contemporary monochrome bathrooms in each. Oh, did we mention Hoxton Hotels are dog-friendly?
If you’re looking for lux with a historic touch, you’ll love The Ned. Once a bank, the 100-year-old building was left empty for eight years, but now the grand hall is full of City workers on their lunch break or groups of friends celebrating in style. Upstairs, the rooftop offers views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whilst underground, the ‘piece de resistance’ has to be The Vault: a private venue that was once the bank’s safe. All bedrooms evoke 1920s glamour – the best are the four-poster-bed ‘Heritage’ rooms on the Grade I-listed fifth floor.
Town Hall Hotel
Bethnal Green’s former town hall has just under 100 rooms, which still feels intimate. We love the Smeg fridge, where guests can help themselves to milk in the lobby, and the basement pool skylight. Check out the nearby V&A Museum of Childhood (one of London’s lesser known). The Corner Room restaurant menu is wonderfully decadent – for us, it’s all about the sticky toffee pudding.
Where to get coffee in North-East London
The best way to get around London is by bike. At the weekend, the canals are busy, but rolling along slowly means plenty of opportunities for pit stops. Towpath Cafe is a fantastic place for people-watching and snacking, right on the canal side.
Heading to Clissold Park? Cafe Z is family-friendly and right next to the organic farmer’s market on Saturdays. Their Turkish-style breakfasts are great if you like eating with your hands – get dunking.
Where to eat in North-East London
If the weather allows, sit outside at Rochelle Canteen. The space is an old Victorian school, which now serves as a hub of creative studios. For lunch, expect meat- and fish-heavy mains, and light, fruity desserts.
This is so much more than a brunch spot. The Dusty Knuckle was first founded by a group of friends wanting to help disadvantaged youths – they teach baking classes in an old shipping container, and offer work experience to young people, too. As for the food, it’s the best bread you’ll find this side of London. So eat up, and know that your cash is going towards a good cause.
Where to drink and dance
In the heart of Dalston, this pub is a safe choice for a pint and a catch-up with friends. With an Indie vibe with exposed brick walls and wine bottle candleholders, it’s as ‘East London’ as it gets. Don’t miss their jazz nights on Sundays.
The Bridge Coffee House
Full of antiques, lamps, old signs, and trinkets, even the cash register and vending machines are vintage at The Bridge Coffee House. Found under the bridge (no less), take your friends and marvel at the bizarre interior over tea and cake.
Crate Brewery / Swan Wharf
Further out, Hackney Wick is the home of London’s artist community. Full of converted peanut factories, illegal warehouse raves, and paint-splattered studios, it’s gritty and represents the underbelly of East London. Wander down the canal, check out Swan Wharf gallery, and sip pints over pizza in the sun at Crate Brewery.
Looking Glass Cocktail Club
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, this speakeasy-style bar has a menu full of creative concoctions. We love the cocktail names, such as ‘Pickle Millennial’, ‘Identity Blossom’, or ‘Psychedelic Garden’, and the cheese boards with cold cuts make the perfect accompaniment.
Where to work out
You’ll spot a Frame in every corner of London, from Shoreditch to Victoria, thanks to its loud branding and pumping music. Their classes are fun and will make you sweat with Power Yoga, Reformer Pilates, Destiny’s Child dance workshops, Ass & Abs blasts, and more. Drop-in prices start from £15.
London Fields Lido
This 50-meter outdoor swimming pool is open all year round – and it’s heated. Originally a project to get the local community moving, in the summer it’s brimming with all kinds of people wanting a quick dip. All ages and abilities are welcome. Passes cost around £5.
Where to shop in North-East London
Columbia Road Flower Market
If limited to just 24 hours in the city, it’s got to be a Sunday morning stroll through Columbia Road Flower Market. Full of cockney hagglers and cheeky stallholders, it’s an homage to horticulture and the pinnacle of Britain’s tenacity and humor. Get there as early as you can (from 8 am) before the crowds hit.
After Marylebone and Goodge Street, Dalston and Stoke Newington are up there for the best spots in London for secondhand shops. Start at Dalston Junction station and make your way up to Church Street boutiques. TRAID is a charity that aims to reduce the environmental and social impact of clothes.
This Victorian London favorite certainly lives up to its ‘Quality, Speciality, Variety’ tagline. Just off Regent’s Canal by London Fields park, every Saturday the streets are filled with market stalls, from sustainable clothing to handmade soaps, brownies, bread, and everything in between. Make sure you grab a drink at theCatt & Mutton
: a pub that’s been going since 1729.
This pedestrianized street is just minutes from Angel tube station. On Saturdays, booksellers and antique dealers spill out onto the street outside the permanent shops, which include fashion boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
Where to get a hit of culture
As you walk up to the Barbican, look out for the Banksy, painted under the bridge in celebration of the sell-out Basquiat 2017 exhibition. Specializing in a mix of quality art, film, dance, music, and science, the Brutalist building hosts gigs, screenings, and exhibitions. Generally speaking, there’s no need to book in advance, the Barbican always has something worth seeing, so we’d recommend just turning up.
The sister gallery to the main Mayfair location, this former furniture factory was converted into the new Victoria Miro in 2000. Exhibitions have included Grayson Perry, Doug Aitken, and Yayoi Kusama, as well as The Great Women Artists' summer show. The gallery has its own garden and a beautifully landscaped area overlooking a restored stretch of Regent’s Canal.
Specializing in Modern Italian Art, The Estorick Collection opened in 1998 in a hidden spot just off Angel’s Upper Street. From pencil drawings to vintage ads, it’s a great little gallery with compact exhibitions that won’t end in museum fatigue like the central, much bigger players.
Where to get into nature
One for the whole family, Clissold Park has a small city farm, paddling pool, tennis courts, river, and organic food allotments. The beating heart of Stoke Newington, several bakeries and pubs circle the greenery – start withThe Clissold Park Tavern
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