Flamboyant, lively and bold, Shoreditch has transformed itself from being one of the poorest areas in London into the place to be if you are connected to the creative arts or technology industries. It’s full of lively, young people who prefer to live and work in a relaxed environment where the formality of its near neighbour, the City, is nowhere to be seen. The old industrial buildings have been converted into galleries and spacious loft apartments and the narrow streets are full of interesting and innovative independent shops selling everything from upcycled and vintage furniture to clothing and an array of different foods from all corners of the globe. The graffiti covered buildings are evidence that Shoreditch is a place where you are free to express yourself and be exactly whoever you want to be. Jam packed with cafes, pubs and clubs right on your doorstep, with young people spilling out on to the pavements adding to the lively atmosphere, there is always somewhere to hang out and meet friends. The boundaries of Shoreditch aren’t set in stone but roughly extend in a triangle from Old Street roundabout where established and start-up tech companies have made their home, along Old Street, down Shoreditch High Street and up Great Eastern Street. Hoxton, bordering Old Street to the north, is also an extremely popular area that melds into Shoreditch and to the south is Spitalfields with its market, eating places and shops.
SHOREDITCH - TRANSPORT LINKS
Stations: Shoreditch High Street station, Haggerston and Hoxton are all part of the overground rail links that extend to Highbury & Islington, Clapham Junction via Peckham, Crystal Palace, New Cross and Croydon. The nearest underground stations are Old Street (Northern Line) and Liverpool Street where you can pick up the Central Line, Circle Line and the Metropolitan and City. From Liverpool Street the heart of the West End takes 9 minutes and Kings Cross St Pancras just 8 minutes. Liverpool Street also runs an overground service to Stansted Airport.
Buses: Shoreditch is well served by buses. From Shoreditch High Street you can get the 47 to Waterloo, 35 to Clapham Junction via London Bridge, the 48 and 149 both go to London Bridge and the 242 will take you to Tottenham Court Road. Plus there is the N26 night bus that will bring you home from Trafalgar Square on its way to Walthamstow and beyond. If Great Eastern Street is nearer for you then you can take the 55 to Oxford Street or the 243 to Waterloo, plus catch the night bus, N55, from Oxford Street back home.
Cycles: Walking around Shoreditch it’s evident that cycles are a popular way of getting around. There are plenty of places to park your bike and three or four docking stations if you want to hire a Santander sponsored ‘Boris’ bike. tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/santander-cycles
SHOREDITCH – MARKETS AND SHOPS
Shoreditch doesn’t have any really large supermarkets but there are Tesco Express stores including a very good one on Bishopsgate opposite Liverpool Street station which is near enough, plus a Waitrose in Whitecross Street and a Co-Op on Old Street near the post office. Smaller ethnic stores are dotted everywhere and, just a short bus ride over London Bridge, you can shop at Borough Market where everything is on offer from wonderful fruit and vegetables to organic meat, fresh fish, delicious cheeses, olives, hams and pies. Last but not least, we shouldn’t forget Brick Lane full of curry houses, boutique shops and the famous Jewish Bagel Bake bakery. On a Sunday you can visit Petticoat Lane or Columbia Road Flower Market in nearby Hackney – famous for its horticultural offerings but much more than that, you will find small and interesting food outlets, boutique shops packed full of unique items and street buskers that add to the general hubbub of this busy little corner of East London.
SHOREDITCH – GOING OUT AND PLACES OF INTEREST
Shoreditch Clubs and Bars
Shoreditch is teaming with places to go from small, trendy clubs to larger venues like Cargo that offer music, dance and South American Street food, or you can try the more up market Hoxton Hotel in Great Eastern Street where they have a destination bar and very well reviewed Grill Restaurant. We should also mention the Golden Bee, a cocktail bar on Singer Street just around the corner from Old Street tube –there’s a great roof terrace and they have film screenings on a Monday night. If you are lucky enough to know someone who is a member of Shoreditch House insist they take you along, it’s limited to 1000 members only, is exclusive and very different from the other Shoreditch establishments.
If the cinema is your thing, try the Electric on Redchurch Street where you get your own arm chair, side lamp and a personal blanket to keep you warm.
Like playing ping-pong? How about this combination of restaurant, bar and plenty of space to play table tennis – if that’s your thing Bounce on Old Street is where you need to go. Lots of fun and just a little bit different.
Also, you really should visit Dennis Severs’ house at 18 Folgate Street, a Georgian silk weaver’s home that gives you an insight into how people lived three centuries ago – slightly eerie but fascinating.
London Makeup & Hair Academy in Curtain Road and the London College of Fashion has a campus in Curtain Road.
AND FINALLY, DID YOU KNOW …. Barbara Windsor, famous for her roles in the Carry On films and as the pub landlady, Peggy Mitchell, in Eastenders, was born in Shoreditch; Old Spitalfields market is one of the capital’s oldest markets dating back to 1638 when it was licenced by King Charles I and described as being on the ‘outskirts’ of London; William Shakespeare came to Shoreditch as an actor and it is thought he lived in Holywell Street - two of his plays, Henry V and Romeo & Juliet, are believed to have premiered at The Curtain Theatre which was one of London’s first theatres to be built and, in keeping with the area’s artistic and creative ethos and penchant for street art, there is a Banksy for you to admire on a wall at Cargo in Rivington Street.