Come out of Old Street tube station and you’ll instantly understand why Shoreditch is known as the coolest place in London. The underground station itself has amenities like a bar, pop up fashion shops and artisan coffee makers dotted around it, to show you as soon as you hit this trendy part of East London, that it’s the place to be. But there’s obviously more to Shoreditch than just one of it’s local stations.
Head outside and you’ll be hit with great places to brunch at, local street art to view, vintage markets, cool bars and a wealth of must-see streets. So we’ve curated this handy area guide to Shoreditch to ensure you make the most out of your trip and cover all the must do’s.
The best places to eat & drink in Shoreditch
It’s hard to know where to begin when exploring Shoreditch, especially so because it’s a minefield when it comes to great places to drink and dine. For those looking for a spot of brunch, we’ve got you covered.
A trip to Dishoom is a must do for anyone looking for an upmarket spin on old English classics like a bacon butty and breakfast omelette. By fusing Indian flavours with English dishes, Dishoom manages to awaken your senses and introduce you to a whole new dining experience. Imagine egg naan rolls and bombay omelettes with masala beans. It’s as exciting as it sounds so definitely take the time to visit - but book a table if you can as you can expect queues at all times of the day.
If you’ve not managed to grab a spot at Dishoom, take a trip to Dirty Bones - you wont be dissapointed. Envisage an American diner blended with upmarket decor and an exciting menu and that’s Dirty Bones to a T. Chicken waffles, pastrami hash, brunch tacos and...breakfast fries are just a few of the classics on the menu which you can combine with a boozy bottomless brunch. Choose from a selection of cocktails and you can have as many as you can handle for an hour and a half all for just £22 per head.
Other great venues in the area worth checking out for brunch are Pizza East, Hoi Pollei, The Book Club, and the notorious Cereal Killer. The latter is infamously known to have over 100 varieties of cereal to choose from and more than 30 different milks (we didn’t even know there were 30 kinds of milk...).
Let us take a guess at something. Since you’re visiting England, you’ll want to visit some great pubs? If that’s the case, Shoreditch is certainly the best place to do this. We recommend by starting off at the Howl At The Moon where you’ll find epic burgers and sandwiches for just a fiver every Tuesday and Wednesday. Afterwards you may want to wash them down with one of their many craft beers, real ales and ciders. So try a few and see which ones take your fancy.
Equally, we’d recommend a trip to Singer Tavern. Adorned with green and white metro tiles you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time to an Edwardian inn until you’re reminded of the 21st century at sight of their extensive craft beer list. Great for families or large groups of people as they have decent sized benches to gather around and enjoy a drink or two. If you head here for dinner, take a wander downstairs afterwards as you’ll come across 5cc Bar. Located in the basement of the pub, this separate bar is an increasingly popular cocktail bar that seems to be popping up all over London, whilst still maintaining to keep its unique charm.
Still in the mood for some drinks? Head over to the Queen of Hoxton, appropriately named as she’s an infamous location for anyone looking for something that blends the concept of a pub and club together. Offering an eclectic mix of fun over two floors you’ll find DJ’s spinning everything from disco to house, to hosted film nights, theatre evenings and great food. It’s also said to have one of the best rooftop bars in London with a giant tent set up most of the year to keep you warm during the winter months. In case you’re wondering, it’s located on Curtain Road and is a great way to spend an evening or two until the early hours of the morning.
It’s possible the Queen of Hoxton might be a bit too raucous for you, in which case head to Callooh Callay for an experience like no other. Nestled in the heart of the East End, this place has won multiple international awards including ‘world’s best cocktail menu’ and ‘no. 1 bar in the UK’ and ‘best bar design’. What makes it so special? Well you’ll have to visit it to find out, but let’s just say the quirky decor and fantastic selection of cocktails make it an experience like no other.
Free things to do in Shoreditch
So you’ve got time to kill in Shoreditch? Well lucky you as you’ll be spoilt for choice with what’s on offer. Especially if you’re keen on doing it on the cheap, as there’s plenty of things to do that don’t involve spending. For example, get purposely lost amongst the streets of East London and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.
From globally renowned street artists to bustling markets, each road has something exciting to offer. If you’d enjoy a spot of street art, roads like Cremer St, Toynbee St, Shoreditch High St, Great Eastern St and Princelet St are must sees as you’ll see some amazing graffiti and art that’s unlike anything else. The cream of the crop though is located on Rivington Street where you can find some original Banksy.
Try Columbia Road too as it’s famous for coming alive on Sunday’s. Market traders set up camp down this narrow street and sell hundreds of different types of flowers and plants from peonies to banana trees. Free to explore, the market sits amongst the bustling street with lots of independent stores to browse in too. From Italian delis to antique shops, it’s definitely worth taking a walk down as there’ll be something to suit all tastes.
If Columbia Road has got you in the mood for more exploring and shopping, head to Brick Lane where you’ll stumble across a wealth of vintage shops selling pre-loved clothes from all eras. From 90’s denim jackets to 60s mini skirts, take a step back in time as you browse through all the amazing fashions of bygone eras. Get their early though for bargains and make sure you have enough time before it starts to wind down around 5pm.
Whilst you're in the area, combine a trip to Brick Lane with a stop off at Franze & Evans on Redchurch St if you’re into seriously good coffee. It’s the perfect afternoon pick me up for some more exploring of this invigorating part of London.
Haven’t quite found that perfect vintage coat yet? Try one more shopping stop and walk down to Spitalfields market. It’s here you may just discover your new favourite small independant brand whilst enjoying an artisan baked good.
If you’re keen to try some more free activities, don’t worry as there’s more to Shoreditch than just wandering around and browsing shops. Another free activity you can try is visiting Noble St where you’ll come across some Roman remains. Lying amidst this Eastern part of London stands an old Roman wall, albeit crumbling, built there to defend the city in 200AD. So soak up some genuine history and learn about ‘Londinium’s’ fascinating past. A trip here though may very likely wet your appetite for some more historic based site-seeing. In which case, go to Monument (just a little outside of Shoreditch) where you can climb up 311 steps in aim of seeing the most spectacular views across London. Built between 1671 & 1677, the Monument was erected to honour all those that died in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and you can still climb it today for just £4.50. Tower Bridge, The Gherkin, Walkie Talkie, St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard are just a few of the classic London buildings you’ll see across the stunning skyline.
Leisure activities in Shoreditch
For those eager to get some exercise during their London stay, try buying day or week pass to some of London’s coolest gyms. If you’re on a budget Pure Gym offers a decent place to burn off those breakfast fries from Dirty Bones, and even boasts a digital studio where you’ll work out in a dark room in front of a digital screen playing workout videos.
But for those looking for something a bit more ‘instagrammable’, you must visit ‘Blok London’. With classes named things like ‘Cardio Killer’ & ‘Power Yoga’ it’s not for the faint hearted, but it is for those looking for ‘boutique fitness meets art design and fashion’. To be honest we’re not really sure what that means but nonetheless week trials start at just £30, so it’s not going to break the bank and is worth a try!
We understand that workout sessions aren’t for everyone though, so if you’d prefer to stay indoors and watch a good film, head over to the Electric Cinema. Kitted out with sofa beds to recline on, velvet chairs with footrests, an in-screen bar and cocktail menu, it’s more than your run of the mill trip to Vue. If we were to tell you that hummus and pitta bread is considered a normal cinema snack here, you’ll probably understand the vibe it’s aiming to create straight away. Perfect for couples on a romantic break away, the Electric promises a luxury cinematic experience. You probably won’t want to leave though, so it might be worth staying a little longer in their restaurant / bar to prolong the evening.
If you want something a little more down to earth and less ‘Shoreditchy’ try Time Out multi-award winning cinema Rich Mix for an independent cinema experience like no other. This place is run as a charity, and isn’t just a cinema but a vibrant arts hub offering events like gigs, theatre shows, art exhibitions and workshops. There’s always plenty going on here, so give it a try and leave feeling smug that you’re supporting a small local charity set up for everyone to enjoy.
Where to stay in Shoreditch
It’s all very well us explaining where to eat, drink and party in Shoreditch, but you’ll need somewhere to stay. Well that’s where the Plum Guide have got your back as we’ve got numerous apartments and houses in Shoreditch to take your fancy. One of which is the stunning Apothecary’s Loft, a 2 bed apartment with trendy features like an open plan living area and exposed brick walls. Near to Dishoom and Columbia Road, it’s perfectly located for those wanting to explore some of the great places listed above in the Shoreditch area.
Next up we suggest taking a look at the Shoreditch Courtyard, a luxury 2 bed flat with amazing decor. It gets its name from its adjoined botanical courtyard that reaps sun all day long. So take a drink from the wine cooler and relax under the palm trees to escape the busyness of East London in your own oasis of calm.
Or if those haven’t captured your attention, browse this next listing known as Atticus. It’s a one bed apartment boasting the best views of East London and will be the ultimate comfort stay with features like a Nespresso machine, big screen tv, bath and wine cooler. Cocktail in the bath? Don’t mind if we do..
So there you have it - an area guide to Shoreditch curated by us to offer you a wealth of activities to try whilst you’re in the area.