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East London’s edgiest enclave, Shoreditch is a creative playground and hedonistic hipster hangout bursting with bars, street art, quirky stores and clubs (with the odd bit of history and nature thrown in for good measure).
Gentrification and regeneration were the key catalysts of change for Shoreditch and whilst some places are now barely recognisable, scratch beneath the layers and you’ll still find some of its original charm.
From BOXPARK to Shoreditch street art, here is our guide to the top things to do in Shoreditch, London plus our favourite Shoreditch eats as at 2023:
Table of Contents
Things to do in Shoreditch
1. Shoreditch Street Art
East London (particularly Shoreditch) is renowned as being the best street art area in London (followed closely by Camden), with huge swathes of wall space dedicated to artistry, transformed into huge outdoor canvases.
The Shoreditch street art scene is like no other in London and we’d rate as one of the BEST free things to do in London.
The best Shoreditch street art areas are King John Court, New Inn Yard, Holywell Lane and Ebor Street.
There is also Shoreditch street art in and around the railway tunnel at Shoreditch station but this area can get a little ‘sketchy’ and less salubrious at night. Check out our self guided free Shoreditch street art tour guide >
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2. Shoreditch BOXPARK
The first London’s shipping container retail park, BOXPARK Shoreditch was also supposedly the very first in the world that kickstarted the entire container mall trend – go Shoreditch!
BOXPARK Shoreditch has lots of small retail stores on the ground floor, and a wide selection of bars, food kiosks and outdoor seating areas on the upper level.
The events schedule at BOXPARK Shoreditch is always eclectic, often with live music of special one-off themed events.
Since BOXPARK Shoreditch launched, its success has gone from strength to strength and BOXPARK now has also has two more London outlets – BOXPARK Croydon and BOXPARK Wembley.
Read about them in our best London street food markets and food halls guide >
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3. Columbia Road Flower Market
One of the best things to do in Shoreditch on a Sunday, head on over to Columbia Road Flower Market, a London institution and the capital’s best public flower market
During the week, it is a charming combo of cafes, craft shops and delis but come Sunday, it blooms and bursts into colour for the weekly Columbia Road Flower Market.
Located between Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, Columbia Road Flower Market is where most Londoners in the know get their plants every Sunday – it is MUCH cheaper than most London garden centres so save some money to spend in Shoreditch later. Check out our full guide to Columbia Road Flower Market >
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4. LaLaLand (formerly Shoreditch Dinerama)
Shoreditch is never in short supply of street-food but after the demise of Dinerama, LaLaLand popped up in its place.
With around 10 street food stalls and a couple of bars plus a waterfall (yep, a waterfall – how Shoreditch), LaLaLand is an so-so spot for some street food eats and craft beer.
That said, we aren’t sure LaLaLand has ever reached its true potential – the several times we’ve been, it has never been that busy and the area just feels like it needs some TLC (and the waterfall didn’t work on our last visit).
5. Elder Street
A stone’s throw away from the shiny and sleek buildings dotted around Liverpool Street Station and Shoreditch, Elder Street is one of London’s finest preserved Georgian streets.
We’ve walked along Elder Street on multiple occasions and can’t believe such a historic street still exists in this way near to Shoreditch, especially in an area so full of new buildings.
The houses along Elder Street are all listed which means they won’t get swallowed up by all the development that is transforming Shoreditch – it almost felt like a historical theme park and the icing on the cake was the couple of old classic cars that were parked on the street.
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6. Old Spitalfields Market
As you’d expect from the name, Old Spitalfields is one of London’s oldest markets (originally founded over 350 years ago) and comprises of market stalls, bars and restaurants.
The best bit? Old Spitalfields is all under one roof (and so close to Shoreditch), making it the perfect retail experience, no matter if it is rainy or the sun is shining.
Open seven days a week, read our things to do in Old Spitalfields Market guide >
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7. The Queen of Hoxton
One of our go-to rooftop bars in the Shoreditch area has always been the Queen of Hoxton, a slightly grungy but good live entertainment bar and club based over several floors.
We usually visit the Queen of Hoxton in the summer for the rooftop set-up (a couple of bars plus a food hatch) as they host an outdoor cinema and the view at sunset of the nearby skyscrapers is always nice.
On our last visit to The Queen of Hoxton, it has been dressed with sakura / cherry blossom trees.
8. Hoxton Square
Hoxton Square in Shoreditch is a hip and verdant hang out with several bars and restaurants dotted around a small park. Recommended bars around Hoxton Square include Nikki’s Bar Shoreditch (the queen of cocktails), Happiness Forgets and Ever After (small plates and fine wine).
Hoxton Square one of the oldest squares in London and dates all the way back to the 1680s – so how about a little history with your highball?
9. Brick Lane
The best way to describe Brick Lane? Street art and shopping, with the best bagels and curry houses in London. Shoreditch’s Brick Lane is a glorious mix of gentrification and ghetto.
Whilst it can sometimes be a little rough around the edges in the side-streets, the main thoroughfare has heaps of hipster hangouts, good shopping and lots of good street food, especially at the weekend when several of the warehouses that encroach Brick Lane open up their doors to host food markets.
Also well known for its Curry Mile, Brick Lane boasts a plethora of retro and vintage stalls, especially around the Old Truman Brewery. On Sundays, there is also a flea market (a bit meh) selling second hand clothes and books.
10. The Old Truman Brewery
The Old Truman Brewery was once home to London’s largest brewery, but nowadays the building and surrounding areas just off Brick Lane are home to a hive of creative businesses.
You’ll find arty independent shops, galleries, markets, bars and restaurants, plus Sunday UPMARKET – which has more than 140 creative traders selling everything from fashion, accessories, art, interiors, music and loads of Asian/south American street food traders.
Just outside the Old Truman Brewery is Ely’s Yard which is also great for street food – we recommend the Nepalese Momos from Tibet Kitchen, the dumplings are amazing! There is also Juju’s Bar and Stage for innovative cocktails and live music.
The Truman Brewery also hosts regular pop-up events such as beer festivals, fashions shows and vintage clothing sales.
11. Rough Trade East
The Rough Trade indie music label has its own awesome independent record store – Rough Trade East, near to the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.
Rough Trade East regularly host in-store signings and sometimes bands will play a free gig too after the signings.
Stop by Rough Trade East and check out their huge range of records, books and other merchandise or grab a coffee from their cafe.
12. Beigel Bake, Brick Lane
Founded in 1974, this famous and iconic 24-hour bakery is known for cheap traditional Jewish-style filled bagels such as salt beef and smoked salmon/cream cheese.
The bagels are boiled before being baked which gives it its crispy crust and moist chewy interior. Expect to see long queues snaking out of the door, especially late at night when the nearby bars and nightclubs are closing.
13. Hijingo Bingo
If we had to describe Hijingo in two words, it would have to be ‘beautifully bonkers’. Hijingo in essence is Japanese inspired bingo, a neon nirvana of bright lights and an attack on the senses. Jeez, Hijingo is just unadulterated fun, like Gala bingo on acid.
As previous visitors to Tokyo, we really enjoyed the Hijingo experience and whilst it isn’t quite up there with Robot Restaurant (to be fair, what is?!), this is one of the best nights out in London we’ve had recently.
Just remember not to miscall your bingo numbers at Hijingo or you’ll be up on stage doing the dance of shame…
Hijingo is a short walk from both Shoreditch station and Liverpool Street station.
14. Shoreditch High Street
The commercial heart of Shoreditch and an interesting mix of independent shops, bars, kebab shops and hostels, Shoreditch High Street can be a busy place, especially with traffic as the A10 roads run straight through it.
Shoreditch High street stalwarts include Pizza Pilgrims, Barrio Shoreditch and Shoreditch Platforms (more food and drink places than fashion along Shoreditch HIgh Street)
The best way to explore Shoreditch High Street is to have no firm plan in place – just explore or follow your nose, ducking and diving into the various side-streets to see what establishments you’ll discover.
An added bonus is that there are always new places popping up all the time so you’ll likely find new things to do in Shoreditch (or eat) every time you go
15. Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s)
Although a lot of the historic buildings here have now been demolished, at the top of Shoreditch High Street you’ll find the rather grand 18th century Shoreditch Church (St Leonards), which is also where all of the Roman roads used to converge. You could once apparently travel from here directly to Chester, Bath and York along the old and dusty roads.
You may also recognise Shoreditch Church (St Leonards) as the filming location of the BBC comedy series Rev, starring Tom Hollander as Rev Adam Smallbone. Shoreditch stands in for St Saviours church in the TV programme.
16. Boundary Gardens, Arnold Circus
Once you’ve explored Shoreditch High Street, take a walk to nearby Boundary Gardens in Arnold Circus to dine at Rochelle Canteen, a cafe / restaurant housed in an old bike shed.
This restaurant gets rave reviews for its food and outdoor dining area, and has been visited by both Anthony Bourdain and Phil Rosenthal as part of their televised London eating escapades.
Also just off Boundary Gardens in Shoreditch is Calvert Avenue, which is lined with cute boutique shops.
17. Hackney City Farm
Have you ‘herd’ about the free farm animals in Shoreditch? A little bit of the country in inner city London, Hackney City Farm is free to visit and has all manner of farm animals including goats, sheep, horses and chickens.
As well as a paddock to watch the farm animals graze in, there are several stable buildings and coops to visit at Hackney City Farm, plus there a cafe and a small shop selling organic produce.
Lots of fun especially for a family and only a 15 minute walk from Shoreditch station, our only advice would be to not wear nice shoes whilst visiting Hackney City Farm – so they don’t get covered in poo or mud (although that could be the perfect excuse to buy new ones from BOXPARK Shoreditch…?).
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18. Shoreditch Pho Mile
Dubbed the Pho Mile by many locals, Kingsland Road which runs between Shoreditch High Street station and Hoxton has several cheap and authentic Vietnamese restaurants (many of which are bring your own booze). Check out the highly rated Bunbunbun and Mien Tay.
19. The Smoking Goat
An Asian fusion restaurant combining the best of British ingredients and tasty Thai street-food.
Example dishes at The Shoreditch Smoking goat include beef laab, Liotian rice and smoked pork skewers (we also liked the bone marrow at the Smoking Goat).
Prices here are pretty reasonable too in terms of the overall London dining scene (we ‘kid’ you not).
UPDATE – Dinerama is now permanently closed
The street food scene in London is alive and well and Dinerama in Shoreditch is no exception.
From the Street Feast team who are the foodie creative force behind several other street food set-ups including Giant Robot in Canary Wharf and Hawker House in Canada Water, this is a former truck bullion warehouse that has been transformed into a two storey culinary cargo container caper.
The building boasts around 10 bars and a dozen dining establishments to choose from – wing your way (buffalo or chicken) there soon!
Where to stay in Shoreditch
citizenM London Shoreditch
Highly rated and trendy hotel located a 3-minute walk from Shoreditch High Street Station. Rooms lights and other features can be adjusted using an app, plus there are complimentary movies and pod-like showers. Check out prices and availability for citizenM London Shoreditch
Point A Hotel London Shoreditch
Located 650 yards from Hoxton Square, this affordable hotel has compact and well designed rooms with comfortable Hynosis beds and blackout curtains. Check out prices and availability forPoint A Hotel London Shoreditch
Montcalm Royal London House – City of London
5 star luxury hotel located in a mid-century listed building just a short walk from Liverpool Street station. Facilities include a rooftop bar with amazing views of the city, a brasserie and coffee area, a spa, fitness centre and an indoor pool. Check out prices and availability forMontcalm Royal London House
The Hoxton Shoreditch
Contemporary accommodation which boasts roaring fires and exposed brick work. Facilities include an American-style restaurant run by the Soho House Group, bar and outdoor courtyard. Check out prices and availability forThe Hoxton Shoreditch
Mondrian London Shoreditch
Trendy five star hotel with a rooftop terrace, year-round outdoor pool, tapas restaurant, cocktail bar, cafe, gym and wellness centre. Upgraded suites include a living rooms and/or kitchen. Check out prices and availability for Mondrian London Shoreditch
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