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East London Boutiques, Cafes and Markets

Discover a vibrant part of the city that is unique and fun
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.7 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  During the past few years the Shoreditch area of East London has transformed into one of the hipper places to live and shop. Lower... more »

Tips:  While both the Liverpool Street and Old Street tube stations are nearby, you may want to consider taking a taxi. This is especially... more »

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Points of Interest

Begin your journey at the Liverpool Street tube station accessible from the Central (red), Circle (yellow), Metropolitan (purple), and Hammersmith and City (pink) lines.

As you walk through the station keep an eye out for film crews, flash mobs and guerrilla advertising campaigns. Liverpool Street Station is a frequented site for these events... More

True to its name, this market started outdoors in 1638, held in what was then simply known as Spital Field. While the city has changed greatly since then and the site is now enclosed by the historic Horner Building, the market is still very much alive.

One can buy pretty much any and everything here from records to books to pastries to handmade ... More

The Old Truman Brewery, right off Brick Lane, is fast becoming one of the most interesting and fun locations in London, both day and night. You can enter off Brick Lane itself, but the less crowded way in is off on Hanbury Street right where Wilkes Street dead ends.

The 10 acres of land that used to house the Truman Brewery now holds galleries, ... More

4. Sunday Up Market

The Sunday Up Market is perhaps the best confluence of small retailers, bakers and artists in the city. Set up to connect designers directly to clients, the market avoids typical tourist fare. Prices are reasonable for incredibly high-quality items. To find the market, keep an eye out for the signs with brightly colored arrows.

If you are hungry,... More

5. Duke of Uke

There really is nothing better than a shop dedicated wholly to ukuleles. It sells everything from inexpensive beginner ukuleles to costly ones for the expert player, to styled and painted ones that make great gifts for kids.

Be sure to ask if there are any good ukulele concerts coming up and keep a special eye out for the Ukulele Orchestra of... More

As you leave the Old Truman Brewery, head north on the famous Brick Lane. A bit to the south are dozens of Indian, Pakistani and Bengali restaurants that you might want to think about returning to for dinner another night. For now though, keep walking north.

On the weekend, Brick Lane gets really crowded as half of the street is usually taken up... More

7. London's Bagel Rivalry

Once a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, this end of Brick Lane still sports two bagel (spelled "beigel") shops with a fierce rivalry. Both Britain's First and Best Beigel Shop at 155 and Brick Lane Beigel at 159 are worth a try. The lines may seem long but they move quickly and you will likely be amazed at the low prices. The salt beef... More

Note: This stop is specific to Sunday only. It is well worth planning your trip around a visit to the Columbia Road Flower Market or returning on a Sunday as a visit will not soon be forgotten.

The Columbia Road Flower Market is London like you might expect Oliver Twist may have found it. Every Sunday the otherwise quiet Columbia Road comes alive... More

Toward the end of the flower market you will find the cobbled Ezra Street. Head off from the hustle and bustle of the market to find a lovely little square. On Sundays, bands (from country to klezmer to vintage rock) set up here and play for change.

At the north end is Jones Dairy Cafe where you can find local British food products. The shop... More

Hackney City Farm is a wonderful example of the urban agriculture movement allowing children and adults to participate in a number of activities or simply tour the grounds. Tours are available all day should you want to structure your trip a bit more. The animals are all approachable and for the most part friendly. If you feel so inclined, you can... More

Frizzante Cafe is conveniently situated on the grounds of the Hackney City Farm, lending it a wonderful atmosphere that seems far away from the bustle of London. It is hard to find fresher food as they source much directly from the farm surrounding your table. The food has a Mediterranean focus that varies with the season and focuses on... More

12. Labour and Wait

Labour and Wait is one of the loveliest shops in London. It carries goods primarily for the home and garden from designers around the world with a focus on simple vintage-inspired designs. From apple peelers, to pruning knives to thick blocks of handmade soap, you will likely want to buy one of everything.

The apron-clad staff care about the... More

The Royal Oak is your typical British pub where you can find a good cheap pint should you so desire.

On Sundays, the pub adds a cafe out back off Ezra Street. It serves spectacular bagel sandwiches (if you get there early enough) and coffee drinks to order. It is also a good spot to use the bathroom if needed.

14. Treacle (Sunday Only)

Mini or "fairy" cupcakes will greet you from the window, beckoning you into this throwback to the urban British teahouse. Inside your nose will fill with the scent of freshly baked cupcakes, which you can often get still warm from the oven. They also sell vintage-inspired kitchen wares, but it is perhaps best to focus on the cupcakes.
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The Story Deli, also known as "the Story Deli at the Scooter Shop," is understandably on most people's list for "best pizza in London." The crusts are delicately thin and crispy and the toppings are generous and fresh. The decor is funky and the atmosphere intimate. There are no bathrooms and it is bring your own booze, making ... More

16. Root Master Restaurant

Playfully taking its name from the iconic Route Master double-decker buses found around London, the Root Master is a vegan restaurant actually built inside an old bus. The kitchen is on the ground floor and seating is on the second level.

After ascending the narrow stairway you are met by a wonderfully cozy space with a great pillowed booth in... More

17. Supernice (Sunday Only)

Marking the start of the flower market proper is the small purple-walled shop Supernice. It highlights U.K. designers and innovative wares for the house, including wall decals. One can also find some of the best cards and postcards inside to keep or send home to show your friends and family how cool you are.

18. Verde & Co. Ltd.

Verde & Co. Ltd. is serious about sourcing top-quality foods and this can be seen in some of the prices. You can get a good and reasonably priced cup of coffee and the sandwiches are delicious. Also, be sure to check out (and treat yourself) to one of its many chocolates.

You will likely notice Spitalfields Market on the other side of the... More

19. Old Street Tube Station

While there is not a huge amount to do around the Old Street Station itself, it is an easily accessible end point for the day's trip. There are many entrances surrounding the roundabout, but do watch for traffic as it can get pretty busy.

The station is on the Bank branch of the Northern (Black) Line. If you use the station as your starting... More