With tons of graffiti and street art, trendy bars, alternative nightclubs and more hipsters than you can count, if you want to see a more alternative side to London, then Shoreditch is the place to be.
For many years the area now known as Shoreditch, which stretches from Kingsland Road to Old Street Station, were considered a crime-ridden slum. With the infamous Jack The Ripper murders in the nearby Whitechapel, and countless bombings during the Blitz, visiting Shoreditch was the last thing on any tourist's mind.
But by the 1990s this all changed when creative contemporary artists like Damien Hirst started moving to the area, and buzzing, trendy nightclubs started popping up all over London's East End. Today, Shoreditch is now considered the epicentre of London's thriving art scene, and is packed full of all sorts of galleries, art museums and street art pieces (some by the likes of world-renowned street artists like ROA and Banksy).
Out of all the different activities to do and things to see in Shoreditch, checking out its street art is a must. There's a ton of galleries and museums like the Brick Lane Gallery and the Whitechapel Gallery, but the crème de la crème of London's art scene is along streets like Brick Lane, Club Row, Bateman's Row, Fashion Street and Bacon Street.
A lot of people venture to Shoreditch just to check out its many markets which always draw a huge crowd (especially on Sundays). The Old Spitalfields Market and the Old Brick Lane Market are not to be missed by any first-time visitor to Shoreditch, and The Sunday UpMarket and the Columbia Road Flower Market are a must-see as well.
But if there's anything for certain in Shoreditch, the neighbourhood sure knows how to throw a good party. From circus-themed pubs to comic book bars, Shoreditch boasts some of the most unique bars and popular nightclubs in London, such as the Village Underground, the Queen of Hoxton and The Princess of Shoreditch.
Shoreditch also boasts some of the best venues in the city showcasing everything from big-name artists to even up-and-coming indie bands from all over the world. The venues cover nearly every musical genre on the planet, (but lately there's been more of a focus on the dubstep, nu-jazz, drum & bass, garage and reggae genres). If you want to watch an unforgettable music performance in Shoreditch, then you really can't go wrong with venues like XOYO, The Blues Kitchen, Nightjar and Plastic People.
And although there might not be as many landmarks and attractions in Shoreditch when compared to Westminster, Soho or the City of London, The Geffrye Museum (at 136 Kingsland Rd) is arguably one of the most famous attractions Shoreditch has to offer.
- If you only have a limited amount of time to spend in Shoreditch but still want to see some amazing street art, ROA's crane on Hanbury Street is possibly one of the most famous, as well as Stik's pieces along Brick Lane.
- If you want to avoid the busy crowds, try to arrive as early as possible on market days, or during the week for bars and nightclubs.
- If you want to go to a club night event or a music gig, you may want to see if you can book your tickets online beforehand as venues can get filled up quite quickly.
Prices and Hours
Generally speaking, Shoreditch tends to be one of the cheaper neighbourhoods in London; however, due to its growing popularity, prices as its many bars and restaurants seem to be climbing by the minute. Because of this, be prepared to spend quite a bit of cash if you plan on partying in Shoreditch on the weekends or heading to the area's more popular venues and restaurants.
The majority of bars and nightclubs tend to close around 1 a.m. on weekdays, or as late as 3:30 a.m. on weekends. Some bars even open as early as 4 p.m. during the week or 12 p.m. on weekends, but don't expect the area to be buzzing until later in the night. Also, if you have a specific place in mind, be sure to check out its official website before you visit as opening and closing times vary in the area.
Some bars may have a small entry charge between 8:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. which could cost anywhere from £2 to £5. Other clubs and bars offer great happy hour deals like two-for-one drinks or cocktails for under £5.