20 best things to do in Shoreditch – home to the cool, the quirky

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Here is our list of 20 best things to do in Shoreditch. Shoreditch, I would argue, is a quintessential modern and global neighborhood. It is what I imagine when someone talks about a “great neighborhood”. You have an area that hadn’t always enjoyed the best of reputations which received an influx of immigrants throughout history and gradually over time bloomed into an artistic, cool, vibrant place.The sense of community is strong in Shoreditch. The expression of the local people comes out in the form of street art, great food, local markets, bars, clubs, restaurants and quirky and colourful places to hang out.

Soak in the art on the streets of Shoreditch

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Whatever blogs you read, whatever YouTube videos you watch about Shoreditch, the first thing on everyone’s list is the street art scene in the neighborhood. It’s for good reason and notjust hype or random marketing ploy to make Shoreditch look more hip and artsy to pull in visitors. Shoreditch is the best place to be to soak in the street art culture that also can be seen in many other neighborhoods in London. Street art culture in Shoreditch is closely linked with its diverse community and their form of expression. Murals, statues, portraits, and graffiti express the culture, political message, and subtle outrage against the authorities in trying to systematically drive out the working class out of Shoreditch in order to “modernize” and “revamp” it. After all, it was the influx of diverse group of people and their street art that drove in many businesses to Shoreditch in the 1990.

Street art is almost omnipresent in Shoreditch but it is also ever changing in the sense that many art works reworked or drawn over by other artists. Brick Lane, Toynbee Street, Shoreditch High Street, Holywell Lane, Great Eastern Street, Rivington Street, Cremer Street are some of many streets where you can find not just murals on buildings and walls but also metalwork and statues. Famous artists like Banksy, ALO, AliCè, Christiaan Nagel, local resident Jonesy have adorned Shoreditch with their art.

Visit the markets in Shoreditch for one-of-a-kind antiques, food, and vibe

Shoreditch is quite a diverse place with people from large spectrum of backgrounds making up the fabric of the community. This can be seen in the markets here. The markets are eclectic, colourful, huge variety of stalls selling clothes, vintage jewelry, antiques, and are bound to pull you even if you have no intention of shopping.

Taste the culture at Brick Lane Market, Shoreditch
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Photo: Brick Lane Market has been the home to London’s best curry for decades.

In the 17th century the Jewish community in Shoreditch started this market as Sunday Farmers’ Market. Later with the influx of Bangladeshi community in Brick Lane, it bloomed into a full fledged market. Now, Beick Lane Market is an umbrella term for many markets in the Brick Lane Street in Tower Hamlet borough in East London.

Sunday Upmarket

A swaggering selection of vintage clothing, arts, crafts, homegrown produce, London’s biggest street food hall that opens only on weekends.

Brick Lane Vintage Market

Everything vintage can be found here from classic football jerseys, vintage clothing and jwellery designed by British and European vintage shop owners.

Broiler House Food Hall

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Photo: The chimney of Old Truman’s Brewery in Shoreditch which now houses The
Boiler Room.

A distinctive and iconic landmark in Shoreditch with its soaring ceilings and Truman chimney is located in the Old Broiler House of Truman’s Brewery. It is usually jam packed with visitors trying out cuisine from different countries around the globe.

Tea Rooms

Open only on Saturdays and Sundays, the Tea Rooms offer you wide selection of tea, coffee, baked items along with furniture and silk items.

Backyard Market

Independent cafes, boutiques, salons over 80 stalls presented by young artists focused on art and design.

Rinse Showrooms

Open only on weekends, it houses upcoming fashion designers and their creations.

One of London’s oldest Spitafields Market

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The birders of Shoreditch are a bit contested depending upon whom you ask. However, Spitafields Market falls in Shoreditch in the eyes of most people. It is one of the oldest markets in all of London and combines the vintage with the modern in a striking, eclectic way. The market is prime spot for fashion lovers and foodies alike. Open 7 days a week, you have around 100 individual stalls of designer clothes, unique music, jwellery and handicrafts. On weekends, it has community events with vintage markets,exhibition of local art, designer clothes by independent designers. Then, in Crispin Place Spitafields Arts Market grips the place in festive season with art exhibitions from local artists.

A flower lovers dream at Columbia Road Flower Market, Shoreditch

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One of the must visits in Shoreditch is a flower lover’s heaven: The Columbia Road Flower Market. From 8 AM to 3PM every Sunday, this unassuming narrow street bursts with flowers, shrubs, plants, traders and people, a lot of people! Floral markets now a days tend to be upscale, uptight fancy events but here in Columbia Road Flower Market there is still a great sense of community where floral traders who have been keeping stalls here for generations come down to showcase and trade flowers and plabts to thousands of visitors.

Shop, drink, eat at Boxpark Shoreditch

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The founder Roger Wade described it as the first pop-up mall in the world as its first iteration was founded in Shoreditch in 2011. The Boxpark Shoreditch is a concoction of food, entertainment, drinks and fashion. Visitors can shop cosmetics, clothes, eat and drink from around 50 fashion brands, retailers and restaurants that have been opened in recycled shipping containers.

Museums and galleries in Shoreditch

Shoreditch is an art loving place. This can be seen from the streets to the wide variety of museums and art houses here. Some of these places can be quirky, weird, unusual but the creativity on display is absolutely astonishing.

Museum of Home

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It was previously named as Geffrye Museum and was reopened as Museum of Home after multimillion pound renovation and extension in 2021. The museum is dedicated to showcasing how the interiors, décor and fashion of the homes as well as the people of Britain has evolved since the 1660s. Truly one of the best places to visit in Shoreditch, the Museum of Home is also free to enter.

Institute of International Visual Arts

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Photo: Rivington Place is the home of Iniva

Invia as it is popularly known is the place to be for artists and admirers of art who want to take part in discussions of race, class and gender. There are several exhibitions going on at Invia by British, Britain born artists of Asian and African decent as well as international artists.

Kate MacGarry Gallery

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Photo: Rana Begum’s Dappled Light installation at the Kate MacGarry Gallery

In 2002 this art gallery opened in Redchurch street but was shifted to Vyner Street in 2007 and returned to Old Nichol Street near Redchurch Street in 2011. It is a contemporary art gallery and showcases installations from several international artists including the 2008 winner of John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize Peter McDonald, 2019 Turner Prize nominee Helen Cammock and several other exciting artists.

Whitechapel Gallery

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Photo: The Whitechapel Gallery has a distinctive British Modern Style architecture.

The building of the gallery itself is an example of a section of Art Nouveau architecture known as Modern Style that was native to Britain. It was one of the first public funded galleries in London when it opened in 1901 hosting Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in 1938. Hosting exhibitions from many artists the Whitechapel Gallery is one of the most progressive and forward looking galleries in the world and definitely one of the must visit places in Shoreditch.

Let out your inner biking geek at Bike Shed Shoreditch

Bikeshed Shoreditch

I have been a subscriber of the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club’s YouTube channel for several years now. It has changed from a motorcycle club to a café by and for motorcycle enthusiasts. There is good food, good drinks, huge screen to watch your races, classic, factory set as well as modified bikes can be seen zooming in and out of the café I mean, what more could you ask for?

Loosen up at Ballie Ballerson, Shoreditch

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The place, the design, the quirky, fun vibe and the cheeky name , it can’t get quintessentially London than Ballie Ballerson. It’s is a cocktail bar, a place to get brunch, and a sexy, fun, pitfull of balls washed with neon lights. It is one of the best places to hangout in Shoreditch for adults who like to have fun, chill out with friends and enjoy food and drinks in the process.

Tea Time with Cats at Lady Dinha’s Cat Emporium, Shoreditch

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Lady Dinha’s encapsulates the quirky and welcoming nature of Shoreditch. It’s café offering you toasties, cakes, coffee, tea and the company of cats. Whether the cats will see you as their friends or judge you is something I cannot say. However, this café is jam packed and needs reservation weeks and at times months ahead because it is full with people who just shove down the food and play with cats here.

Play immersive, thrilling bingo at Hijingo Bingo, Shoreditch

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When my friend first suggested me to a “bingo place” in Shoreditch, I was like quite unenthusiastic to say the least. But boy, did the colours, the sound and the sheer thrill of Hijingo smack me across the face; bingo was never supposed to be this fun! Motion graphics technology, 360° immersive sound system, LED lighting, music, sounds, pizzas and prizes like designer jackets, mountain bikes, holiday packages gives Hijingo Bingo the soul of a full fledged carnival, a concert, a must-visit in Shoreditch.

Have a go at indoors golf with a massive twist at the Junkyard Golf Club, Shoreditch

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Dirk, Pablo, Gary, and Bozo sound like characters from some quirky fun cop thriller movie from Quinten Tarantino. But, these are golf courses in the equally quirky Junkyard Golf Club in Shoreditch. The neon lights, the weird junkyard vibe deco, the clowns, the bright popping colours make this place seem like some shady backroom where not so family friendly movies are made. Maybe, that was a part of the plan because going here with friends, trying the top notch cocktails and playing indoor golf in these courses is simply one of the most fun things to do in Shoreditch.

Visit the most happening venue in Shoreditch at Village Underground

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I am quite sure you have got the theme of many of the best places to visit in Shoreditch by now. Village Underground sticks to that theme as it’s venue is a renovated coal house and has an out of use tube carriage on top of it. This electric, happening, youthful venue which comes booming into life at night hosts concerts, live music events, exhibitions, theatre and other events and you can find what what’s next by clicking here.

Play ping-pong, eat pizza and drink cocktails at Bounce, Shoreditch

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When you enter Bounce there is a sign that says, “Bounce Home of Ping Pong.” And immediately my reaction was, “What. Home of ping pong? Isn’t that a bit misleading?” I was wrong. The venue where Bounce stands upon is the place where the game of table tennis was patented! There are so many places in Shoreditch and in our list of best things to do in Shoreditch that blur the boundary between café, bar and entertainment venue. Bounce too does that with its 17 ping pong tables, including some interactive tables with led lights. There is an Italian themed restaurant serving pizza, a bar serving cocktails and it is a great place to watch the Premier League as well as the Champions League.

Bowling and Karaoke at All Star Lanes, Shoreditch

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Featuring in the 2010 Matthew Vaughn movie Kick Ass, All Star Lanes in Brick Lane, Shoreditch is the place to be if you are looking for a fun filled day out with your friends. Absolutely affordable, this place has 6 retro bowling lanes and a private karaoke booth that holds 14 people at a time. After you are done bowling your inner Big Lebowski and singing your heart out you can head to Lanes Kitchen innthe same establishment to get some good food.

Go shopping in AIDA, Shoreditch

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AIDA like so many other entries in our list, mixes the café culture with some other business. In this case it’s clothing. The fashion sense this store cum café perpetuates is typically London style of cool, laid back shilouettes that aren’t afraid to be bold with patterns and colours. Sipping on lattes in the café, looking at the Scandinavian influenced clothes (which are certainly hard not to splurge upon ), AIDA is also a great place to just people watch in Shoreditch High Street.

Book shopping mixed with a twang of serendipity at Libreria Bookshop, Shoreditch

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Photo: The Selgascano designed Libreria Bookshop in Shoreditch.

Having spent a lot of my time in South East Asia where book culture is mostly limited to course books of colleges and schools, I deeply appreciated the book stores all over London. One that caught my eye the most was Libreria in the heart of Shoreditch. Instead of having your regular “Fiction”, “Non Fiction” separation, Libreria has some unusual but effective thematic separation to books that causes the reader to stumble upon books that they might otherwise not pick up.

 

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