Guide to Shoreditch, London

London’s Cool, Creative, and Original Hipster Hub

There’s something wonderfully eccentric and different about this part of town. Whether you’re into street art, vintage markets, or fantastic independent restaurants, nowhere sets the London trends quite like Shoreditch.

Luke Abrahams
20 May 2023

Shoreditch is the home of London’s original hipster scene. Now, it’s a hub for the city’s emerging start-ups and tech companies. In the past decades, these companies have transformed this once-dilapidated part of town into a seriously trendy oasis of alternative designer shops, innovative restaurants, and cool hangouts. Metamorphosis aside, remnants of its gritty past still remain in the form of cobbled lanes, markets, and Victorian drinking dens. Another draw is Brick Lane, long home to London’s finest curry houses and bagel shops, along with Columbia Road Flower Market – often dubbed the city’s best spot to pick up a bargain floral. Shoreditch is also the undisputed queen of brunch and fun. Street food reigns supreme in all corners, and if you head to Old Street, there’s also a brilliant selection of bars to party the night away in. In a nutshell, Shoreditch is all about the thrill of trying something new and ahead of all the trends.

How to Get to Shoreditch by Bus, Train, or Foot

Shoreditch is easy to get to by foot, bus, taxi, or train. The closest Tube and Overground stations are Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street. For those of you who prefer a more scenic view through London, bus lines 205, 26, 35, 394, 47, and 55 all stop near Shoreditch day and night. If you are walking here from Central London, expect a journey that lasts between one and two hours, as there are plenty of sites to see along the way, from St. Paul’s Cathedral to the financial district of the capital.

The Street Art of Spitalfields and Shoreditch

Shoreditch and Spitalfields is the hub of London’s urban art scene. Banksy has left his mark on this part of town, as have several other renowned local artists, including Eine, D*Face, Sweet Toof, and Pure Evil have left their mark on this part of town and one of the best ways to explore and see them all is on a street art tour of the area. There are many independent guides who offer such tours and can be booked in groups or for private one-to-ones. If you want to go it alone, Brick Lane, Fashion Street, Hanbury Street, Princelet Street, and Redchurch Street are the places to go. Avoid weekends as the streets get busy.

The Pretty Colors of Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market is basically a flower lover’s paradise in East London. The floral spectacular takes place every Sunday morning, but beware, it gets very, very busy. Everything normally kicks off around 8 am and ends mid-afternoon, with all sorts of colorful stalls selling herbs, bulbs, shrubs, and flowers. More adventurous types can commit and buy full-on houseplants and perennials for the garden, too. The best part about visiting this spot is that it’s surrounded by all sorts of independent restaurants, delis, boutiques, coffee houses, and shops, many of which open around the market’s Sunday trading hours.

The Food Scene and Markets of Brick Lane

Shoreditch is a party town, so if you fancy letting your hair down, the clubs up and around the Old Street triangle will show you a really good time.

Another market to know in these parts is Brick Lane. Like Columbia Road, it operates at its fullest on a Sunday and stretches from Aldgate to the tippy top of Shoreditch near Old Street. The whole market showcases the best of the best, with enthusiastic salespeople competing for your hard-earned cash and hoping to tempt you with their stalls packed with jewels, vintage art, records, instruments, clothes, and more. Beyond all the things to buy, there’s a fantastic selection of curry houses, bagel bars, and street food vendors to try, plus one-of-a-kind thrift stores and excellent independent coffee shops. To eat under one roof, visit the Boiler House Food Hall, and for a legendary bagel, don’t miss a bite at the Brick Lane Beigel Bake.

Where to Shop and Browse in Shoreditch

Vintage is always best

London has its fair share of shops, but nowhere else does vintage shopping quite like Shoreditch. To avoid the crowds, head here on a weekend. The racks will be far less manic, and chances are you'll find an even better designer bargain.

There’s way more to Shoreditch than just vintage shops and artisanal coffee joints. For all things cool in women’s clothing, head to Aida for indie labels and unknown vegan and planet-friendly beauty brands. Variety is best explored at Boxpark. All the shops are set inside refitted shipping containers just underneath Shoreditch High Street Overground station. Expect labels from Nike to Dockers, and lots of food outlets in between. Further down the road, there’s Old Spitalfields Market. While more gentrified than its humbler neighbors, it’s still worth a gander to find old records, movies, and more.

Where to Rest your Head in Shoreditch

The great thing about staying in this part of town is that you can check in to a central location without the hefty London price tag. There are lots to choose from, including the original Hoxton Hotel, the very fashionable Nobu, and more boutique options, including Redchurch Townhouse and the Boundary. Couples will love The Culpeper, a pub with rooms and a great restaurant, and for families on the go, CitizenM London Shoreditch is your best option. Whether money is tight or simply limitless, there’s somewhere that will suit most travelers here.

What Kind of Travelers Should Stay Here?

Shoreditch is deeply alternative and bohemian, so it suits people who love nothing more than to explore outside of their own boundaries. That said, it’s great for families who want to discover another side of London, and if you’re a traveling couple, Shoreditch is the ideal spot to create a weekend love nest set to the tune of long city walks and romantic date nights.

About the author

Luke AbrahamsLuke Abrahams is a London-based freelance journalist specializing in news, luxury lifestyle, and travel features. Luke was previously the features social media editor at the London Evening Standard. His work has appeared in more than 25 U.K. and U.S. publications, including British Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, The Times, Town & Country, The Telegraph, Condé Nast Traveller, Time Out, House & Garden, Suitcase, Elite Traveler, Insider, and more. So far, Luke has visited 82 countries. His favorite is Italy, and it always will be.