10 Reasons to Visit London's Hottest New Neighborhood
East London skyline. (Photo: Dave Hunt/flickr)
London is a big, big city and because of that, it can be overwhelming to decide where to stay.
On my numerous visits to London, I’ve stayed in quite a few different neighborhoods, but far and away, my favorite area of the city is (predictably) the East.
East London (also called the East End) has been the “it” area for the past few decades. In the 90s, Shoreditch was the place for squatters and hipsters, bohemians and hippies.
Nowadays, for better or worse, this part of London has been undergoing the typical gentrification process. The areas of Shoreditch, Hackney, Clapton, Hoxton and Dalston are some of the coolest and trendiest areas of London right now.
In November, I stayed at a HomeAway vacation apartment in Dalston. Our apartment was a brisk 10-minute walk from the Dalston-Kingsland Overground stop, which I quickly learned is a hipster hub. The overground station sits at the end of an everyday food market (the Ridley Road Market), where we bought fresh fruit & vegetables so we could cook some meals in our apartment (though the empanada stand also got plenty of my business!).
Noticeably important in the neighborhood were an organic food shop, a cupcake bakery, Vietnamese restaurants, and a restaurant selling nothing but arancini balls. Kingsland Street runs directly down to Shoreditch (essentially all the way to the legendary Whitechapel Gallery) and seemed to be the main thoroughfare for connecting much of East London.
Here’s my short guide on just what makes East London so hip and cool — and why you should base yourself in this part of London (mainly the Borough of Hackney, but also in Shoreditch) for your next trip!
Pitfield London. (Photo: Martyn.C.Jones/flickr)
Shopping in London has long been a favorite past-time for tourists. Besides being an international fashion capital, thrift and vintage are words that were seemingly coined in London. We’ve probably got the rockstars to thank for that, but besides fashion, East London is overflowing with weird and quirky shops. I particularly like Present London — a menswear shop that sells fashion, housewares, books, coffee and other random things. Also try Paper & Cup — a local not-for-profit bookshop & cafe (coffee & cakes!) and Pitfield London, a cafe, exhibition space, and furniture store all rolled into one very cool & hip space.