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discovering east london

discovering east london

I came to london in january 2017 and I settled in east london since most of my friends lived there. 

many neighbourhoods in london can amaze you and “lock you in”. london is a big city, and it takes time to cross, but since we have pretty much everything close to home, why would we go somewhere else? of course, you end up travelling around if you want to discover london, it just takes a strong willpower.

REGENT'S CANAL & EAST LONDON MARKETS

while regent’s canal goes from little venice all the way to the docklands, I will focus on the part in east london which will make a great sunday walk.

starting at victoria park, one of london’s most visited parks, here you can find a farmer’s market on sundays, you can easily get into the canal by walking towards the beautiful chinese pavilion. just after you start walking next to the canal, you will see the old gas structures.

as you reach london fields and broadway market, there is also a weekend market with food, local stalls and second-hand shops. right in the corner of the market, facing the park you will find one of the best places for a typical sunday roast, cat & mutton, with several meat options as well as a delicious vegan roast. 

continuing down the canal, reaching haggerston you will get closer to colombia road flower market. it’s always a beautiful place to browse even if you are not planning to buy any plants or flowers. there are several little local shops with the most unique things that will make you fall in love. I would highly recommend pavilion bakery for a cardamom bun with a wonderful coffee.

from colombia road you can choose to go back to the canal and walk to angel. along the way you can stop and watch the canal boats going up and down the lock. there is lots of activity on the canal like boat parties, cinema boats, sauna boats, several places to stop and have a drink or people selling olds books. you can just walk and enjoy the scenery.

if you choose to continue with street markets, you can walk to brick lane. from vintage shops to a big street market, you can also find tea houses, record shops, all kinds of food, street art, street music, and if you feel like some local delicacy you can stop at bagel bake for a salted beef bagel. warning: english mustard is fearless, but it’s optional. for pescatarians or vegans there are lots of other options like smoked salmon or the avocado bagel. 

THE BARBICAN

a remarkable example of brutalist architecture, the barbican complex was built after the II world war, on a site that had been bombed and demolished, the barbican was designed and built to accommodate senior executives and their families with several terrace blocks and 3 towers of apartments, but it also includes the barbican centre, the barbican public library and the museum of london.

in the middle of the complex, you can find the ponds, the waterfall and enjoy the atmosphere in one of the three excellent restaurants, I highly recommend the brunch. 

the barbican centre has an impeccable program with incredible concerts, art exhibitions or film screenings but it also houses a beautiful conservatory worth visiting.

DINNER NIGHT OUT IN EAST LONDON

shoreditch has a very wide range of restaurants and food as well as pubs and clubs.

I highly recommend the smoking goat, a relaxed restaurant where you can focus on the food with a delicious menu strongly inspired by bangkok cuisine. 

dishoom has a restaurant in shoreditch, but you can also find it in other parts of london. an authentic indian restaurant with a lot of options in the menu, it never disappoints.

for a couple of drinks and some music I like to head to dream bags jaguar shoes. 

around dalston, I highly recommend dalston jazz bar for the outstanding seafood, the live jazz band and the after-dinner dance floor. just do not interact with the chef, dj chef, after service, as it can highly remind you of gordon ramsay, which can be a bit scary. 

closer to stoke newington you will find my favourite cocktail bar in town, the fontaine’s bar. the coolest art-deco bar with a super friendly staff and the most delicious cocktails. downstairs, in the bamboo lounge, you can dance and have fun to the best rock music.

after 6 years and a half in london, enjoying long walks, visiting friends in other neighbourhoods, I still have a lot to see but so far, east london has all my love.
 


rita alves pinto 
is a portuguese designer living in london. since university years she has moved to finland, barcelona and singapore in a continuous search to experience different cultures. passionate for travelling, all forms of art and rock ‘n roll, she has found home in london. 

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