Guide to London: Shoreditch

The East End of London has become famous for it’s soaps, cockney slang, the 2012 summer Olympics and even being the location of the Jack the Ripper murders. But in recent years it has been undergoing a gentrification that has made it one of the most popular places to visit and stay in London, or if you are so inclined, to move.

On my recent trip to London, I spent some time in my favourite part of London, Shoreditch in London’s East End.

As London’s burgeoning hipster and alternative community, where you will find street food markets, a cargo box shopping district, some of the best coffee & best curry in London. And it’s conveniently located right next to Liverpool Street Station a.k.a The City.

So here is a guide to my top things to do in Shoreditch and East End to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

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What to Eat & Drink

Brunch

As an Australian, I love brunch with good coffee. So no matter when in the world I am, I will fine the ultimate place to score a good brunch offering and incredible coffee. London has started to adopt a brunching culture, which I’m sure in influenced by the Australian invasion of the UK shores. Here are my top picks for brunch in Shoreditch, perfect to fuel you for a day of vintage and designer shopping.

  • The Attendant: If coffee is your thing then The Attendant is great for you. With everything from your standard cup of coffee to cold brew they have the caffeine to keep you on your feet all day or an afternoon pick me up. Plus, they don’t skimp on the brunch menu, I don’t remember a better avocado smash!
  • The Vintage Emporium & Tea Rooms: There is almost nothing more Brick Lane than the Vintage Emporium where you can shop for amazing vintage pieces while sipping tea and grabbing a bagel and watching the world go by outside.
  • Lantana Café: The origins of Lantana come from the land Downunder, set up in London by Australians and Kiwis who wanted to deliver great coffee and smashed avocados to Aussies living in London. Must have item, the Lantana Blowout with unlimited Bloody Mary’s, Prossecco or Mimosa for weekend brunch.
  • The Breakfast Club: Besides being named after a great 80’s cult classic, The Breakfast Club is one of the best places for a spot of brunch, if you can get to the front of their line. With both a weekend and weekday brunch menu, there is plenty of choice from breakfast burritos to fried chicken & waffles to your standard bacon and eggs!
  • Albion: This café, bakery and grocer all in one features all your favourite brunch and lunch favourites at superb quality. Located close to Box Park, this bright and delightful eatery will be a hit with everyone. Plus the coffee is pretty great!

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Cheap Eats

  • Poppies Fish & Chips: Traditional British fish & chips is a must try while in London. This traditionally authentic eat in & take-away restaurant is located in Spitalfields, and will have you dreaming for yesteryear as you served to you by waiters dressed in 1950’s attire…even if you were born after 1990.
  • Pump Street Food Markets: If you are looking for a filling, cheap eat for lunch or dinner then Pump Street Food Markets is your place. With a BYOB, which you can pick up a beverage of choice next door before deciding between Falafel, Turkish, Argentinean, Popcorn Chicken, Italian and many more.
  • Brick Lane Curry: It’s safe to say that Curry is pretty popular in the UK, especially in Brick Lane. Brick Lane is where you will be spoilt for your choice of curry and quality, so stop by and take your pick for the best curry in the UK.
  • MeatMission: If you are after something hearty or indulgent then MeatMission is your place. Serving Jack Daniels onion rings, cheesesteaks, Jagermeister ripple ice cream, buffalo wings and all the American diner favourites this place doesn’t disappoint or leave you wanting more.

 

Drinks

  • Be At One: Meeting up with friends for some low key drinks without losing the atmosphere, Be At One offers in spades. Here you can meet u with mates for a drink and as it gets later you can enjoy watching the bar staff and patrons get into the mood of the evening or get involved yourself!
  • All Star Lanes: Always a favourite, All Star Lanes offer a cute cocktail bar setting if that if your preference or you can step into a pair of bowling shoes and take on a friend in a game of 10 pin bowling!
  • Barrio East: The Latin attitude of Barrio East give this the perfect atmosphere for a drink at the end of the day or to hang with mates all evening! Plus, the Mexican Cantina themed food and drinks menu will have you salivating!
  • Bar Kick: Bar Kick has a casual vibe for that Friday night party vibe where you can get a cool drink to chill with mates and bring out your inner Joey & Chandler with a game of Fuseball.

 

Shopping

  • Beyond Retro: One of Brick Lane’s draw cards is the vintage on offer and Beyond Retro has this is spades. This underground of a warehouse room has vintage and second hand pieces from almost every decade and fashion trend that you can think of.

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  • Box Park: A series of storage containers converted into a series of boutique fashion & lifestyle stores and food stalls. Throughout the year they also host different series of music events from coffee sessions to busking gigs.

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  • The Laden Showroom: While Spitalfield’s market showcases lots of different fashion and goods, the Laden Showroom profiles up and coming designers! There is always well produced fashion to be found at great prices.

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  • Spitalfield Markets: This permanent market is always bustling, especially at weekends! It’s a great place to find a gorgeous London print as an alternate souvenir, a cute new outfit or gift for loved one back home. Plus, there is always some delicious cake stall to treat yourself with!

 

Things To Do

  • Jack the Ripper Tour: It took me a while to get around to taking this tour and now I recommend it to anyone going to London as a must do, especially for anyone still intrigued by this unsolved case. Pop your detective hat on and spend a few hours walking around the Whitechapel & Shoreditch area picking up clues!
  • Tower of London & Tower Bridge: While not located in Shoreditch, the Tower of London & Tower Bridge are both located a mere 30 mins stroll away. These iconic structures are a must visit to get that perfect tourist shot, and to take a squiz at the crown jewels to see what you could have access to if you were to marry Prince Harry.

 

Where To Stay

A stay in Shoreditch wouldn’t be authentic without giving Airbnb a try. Not only will, you in most cases, save a load on accommodation but you will be at the heart of the action as there aren’t too many hotels located right in Shoreditch. Airbnb offer many amazing accommodations from the current fad of warehouse style accommodation to penthouses, lofts to traditional London flats.

If you are staying further away and want to experience the nightlife in Shoreditch, the night tube does run on weekends from Liverpool Street on the Central line.

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7 Train Journeys to add to your bucket list: Europe Edition

While plane travel will get you from A to B in a short amount of time, it can also be crazily hectic and stressful, from the expensive trip to the airport, the long lines at security not to mention dealing with everyone else on the plane and at the airport! When I started travelling by train, I found that not only did I get to see the incredible sights along the way, but it also formed a part of my holiday rather than just being my mode of transportation.

So I decide to put together a list of train journeys that will get you from one destination to another but will also take you back in time, to hard to reach places, show you incredible scenery or even take you somewhere magical.

This is the Europe edition…

 

1. Get to Paris on the Eurostar

Dreaming of traveling through Europe, I couldn’t wait until one day I would catch the Eurostar from London to Paris for a weekend getaway! A trip on the Eurostar is my favourite way to travel between London and the continent being hassle free, mush less stressful and makes me feel super classy. It’s the perfect commute and in just two and a half hours from the heart of London you could be eating croissants in the heart of Paris or dining on mussels in Brussels.

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2. Cross continents on the Trans Siberian Railway

The Trans Siberian Railway is your alternate route to the European continent from Asia, that will take you off the beaten track and is definitely an adventure to tell the grandkids about or at least brag to your mates on Instagram. If you take on the most popular route, leaving from Beijing, you will travel along the longest railway line in the world, through Mongolia then cross from far East Russia all the way to Moscow, stopping along the way at some of the world’s most iconic sights including the Gobi Desert, the Great Wall of China and Moscow’s Red Square.

3. Go somewhere magical on the Hogwarts Express

This adventure is one is for all the aspiring wizards out there! If you never received you entrance letter to Hogwarts, like me, then you no longer have to live a completely muggle lifestyle because you can fake your way to experience the magic by taking the Jacobite Steam Train through the Scottish countryside.

Most recognisable around the world for it’s role in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express, a train ride on the Jacobite Steam Train will transport you across the West Coast of Scotland where you will take in the exquisite scenery that J.K. Rowling describes in the Harry Potter novels. As you are transported by steam engine, you will be able to take in the incredible countryside featuring highlands, valleys, lochs, glens and most importantly a crossing of the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan viaduct – the most memorable imagery of the Hogwarts train journey from the Harry Potter films.

 

4. Glacier Express

Switzerland is more than just their chocolate and the picturesque snow capped mountains perfect for skiing! They also have watches, banks and fondue…. And the Glacier Express. The Glacier Express runs from Zermatt to Davos or St Moritz and will take you through deep gorges, enticing valleys, through tunnels, over hundreds of bridges and of course through those picturesque snow capped mountains. In just seven hours, you will see the most impressive sights of the Swiss Countryside as well as getting to your next destination on the other side of the country in style.

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5. Arctic Circle Express

Lapland and the Arctic Circle sound almost mythical to exist, even after you’ve made a trip there! All throughout the year the Arctic Circle and Lapland regions of Norway and Sweden contain absolutely stunning scenery from the mountains and fjords to the extreme daylight and night time. Travelling on the Arctic Circle Express into far north Lapland will take you well past the arctic circle where you will get to experience the culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Geirangerfjord!

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6. The Transylvanian Odyssey

If you want to see a different side of Europe, then the Transylvanian Odyssey will take you through the Transylvanian and Balkan regions. Boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express in Budapest, travelling through the Hungarian countryside making your way towards the Transylvanian region, where you will need to keep your cross and onions handy as you will stop at Sighisora the rumoured birthplace of Dracula and Brasov to visit Bran Castle, also know as Dracula’s castle! The Journey then continues through the countryside and cities of Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Croatia, Slovenia before finally arriving in Venice, Italy for a final gelato!

 

7. Step back in time aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Since recently completing a huge renovation back to it’s Art Deco origins, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express will transport you back in time to the golden age of travel, the 1920’s! Your time on board the Orient Express will prove that trains are more than just a means of transportation as you sip cocktails in the bar car in black tie or relax in your private room, you will make your way through Europe’s exquisite scenery, stopping at some of the continent’s major cities in complete luxury and style.

There isn’t only one way to experience the Orient Express as it can take you on a variety of routes throughout Europe, perhaps you are interested in the classic London to Venice route via Paris or a historical adventure, taking a similar route as the original 1883 inaugural journey donned in your best sequined flapper dress that will take you from Paris to Istanbul via Budapest and Bucharest. Now I just need to save up all my pennies!

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Which of these train journeys would you like to add to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments.

 

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