There’s something about East London, something charming about the bustling streets, the market stands and endless creativity….
It’s as though this were the true London, before commerciality set in. And of course you can argue that Liverpool Street is the most commercial of them all, but I’m talking about the smaller, more indie parts of the East, like Dalston, Brick Lane etc.
We headed to Dalston and Shoreditch over the weekend, to take family there. It’s a great place to explore on a Sunday, and if you can forgive the crowds and walk slowly without impatience, you’ll find it quite an incredible experience.
I’m writing this post in support of the East, as this summer, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City are going head to head in a battle of East vs West. The whole idea is that you show your allegiance and I my friends am very, very East. It’s a cliche, but East is where the creativity is, East has a buzz, akin to that of the art department in your school, where everything ran against the normal rules, and creativity ruled supreme.
Here are my few favourite things about East London, which you might like to explore for yourself:
Pop up shopping mall
One of the most innovative things I’ve seen in a while, this is a pop up shopping mall, never mind a pop up shop! Boxpark is a collection of shops in the shapes of ‘boxes’ (clever name non?) which house everything from bars, to clothes shops and more. If you get the overground to Shoreditch Highstreet, it’s immediately on your exit. The idea is to give businesses a place to have a base, without having to pay extorionate prices. You won’t find any high street retailers here either, meaning the brands you do encounter are something to be discovered and explored, like Box Park itself.
Down in the depths of Brick Lane lies one of my favourite bars of all time – Cafe 1001. It is a vibrant bar, where people spill onto the streets and sit at crowded benches, while eating the food on offer and soaking in the East London vibes. This bar also hosts exhibitions, plays, bands and much more. It holds an air of nostalgia for me, as this was where my boyfriend and I went on our first ever date and they had amazing dup step and neo jazz playing! Inside the bar is huge and there’s an array of couches, boothes and tables. Visit just as the sun is setting to really understand what this bar is about.
Girl put your records on
One of my favourite things about the East is also the amazingness (that is a a word..ish) that is the Rough Trade shop. The smell of records hits you like the smell of bread upon entering a supermarket. And everyone in there loves music as much as the next person. But in the corner is the photo booth, which prints out black and white photos, which are also pinned on the wall – a monochromatic display of a 100,000 faces staring back at you. I love coming in here and having my photos taken with my friends. It reminds me of being a teenager again.
You can’t visit East London, without visiting a market. There’s a myriad of designers, entrepreneurs and delicious food that all come together to make this maze of a market. The best thing about this market is that you can often talk to the person who created the work face to face, which you don’t always have the chance to do with high street stores. I know there’s markets in West London, but they really don’t beat the creativity of the East. Perfect for presents too, you can definitely get something unique here, and with Christmas not so far away, it’s a great opportunity.
One of my favourite shops, and one I always make a stop at when I venture East, is Source. It’s an adorable shop in Spitalfields Market and has the quirkiest little things in there.
Source is located at 6 Market Street. London E1 6DT
And of course, there’s also Westfield Stratford too – which is the perfect reason to head East!
Do you love East London too?
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What are your favourite parts of East London?