THE SUNDAY STROLL



We've not included any inter-textual photos on this page as there's a great gallery online - we've linked to the relevant pictures. We suggest you have a look at their main site Sublime Photography which chronicles the 'old' east end, rapidly being over run by artists/bohemians/vegetarians etc... go also to their home page for more excellent photos of the area.
A good guide to the area is HERE

MAP:

For the 'long' version start at Liverpool St station a bastion to the great age of steam, and where Robert Doisneau took many a photo supposed to have been in Paris... Take any train to London Fields (8 mins), walk back south through London Fields to Broadway Market (have coffee and a croissant here: good french delicatessen/cafe, good brunchy pubs and restaurants). Then continue south across the canal and into the park on your right for entry to Hackney City Farm. Their restaurant there won best family restaurant of the year 2005.. there's another farm in Shoreditch near the tube station. You can buy freshly laid eggs etc here. If you prefer your lambs already wrapped in supermarket plastic, and are not travelling with children you can miss this out.

Across Hackney Road to Columbia road, (flower market closes at about 1400) then south down Swanfield St to Brick Lane. You'll go through the edge of the Arnold Circus/Boundary Estate - a 'model' social housing development, this was the original 'Hells Kitchen' look out for the bandstand: this area was /is inhabited by bangladeshi refugees and immigrants, who were given state housing and found they were sitting on a goldmine... they acquired the right to buy their council houses, sold them to trendy bohos - like our editor Simon - and retired to Sylhet to a life of luxury (in Sylhet they are all opening shopping malls, much to the frustration of the local mayors, who want factories so people have the money to spend in the shopping malls). The top end of Brick lane is very Boho with lots of artists, fashion designers, furniture makers etc (Habitat has their headquarters here) and lots of great cafes to hang out in.

The older shops (mainly jewish) are getting squeezed out (like the beigal shops ... famous for taxi drivers and revellers at 4 am). As you saunter down Brick Lane watch out for the boogie-woogie busker under the railway bridge and make sure you go into the brewery yard and any markets/showrooms open along the neighbouring roads - there are some amazing shops on Cheshire Street (eg 'Beyond Retro' a fantastic clothes warehouse, just opposite the Cheshire Arms pub that was the centre of London's 1960's gangland) and the whole area pulses with graffitti - some random, some executed with skill. South of the Brewery (basically the walkway over the street) is Banglatown, London's curry capital, but with a bit more to offer than just spicy food. Turn right at the Mosque (used to be a Catholic Church, a Protestant Church, a nonconformist meeting house and a Synagogue...!) and you're in the Hugenot district with old fascinating houses each topped with a weavers' lodge.

A block further west is Spitalfields market - very lively on a Sunday, easier to see the architecture on a quiet weekday
- mainly arts and crafts and fairly alternative (plenty here for kids also) half of it has been swallowed by capitalism in the form of an ugly glass-and-steel building after the local council was bought off; the stalls displaced moved into the market that's housed in the Truman Brewery yard. Through the market along its southern border and you're back at Liverpool Street station. You can' of course do it in the opposite direction...

For a shorter route do a circuit from Liverpool Street to Spitalfields, through the Huegenot area, to Brick lane, up to Columbia road Flower market and back to the Geffrye Museum.

Or for Sunday brunch go straight to Columbia Road. Catch a number 26 or 48 bus from outside Liverpool Street Station to Queensbridge Road. Watch out for the green frontage of Premises Cafe (the front end of a recording studio where all the jazz greats have recorded) on the left side as this is just before your stop! Walk south down Horatio St towards the Nelson pub and you're in the back of Columbia Road market at a really cool bit. Brunch at the Royal Oak (good food, slightly pricey, but a great space) and walk back along Columbia Road, down Brick lane to Liverpool Street. There are plenty of great eateries on Columbia road and in Spitalfields market (and between them). Remember this area is really at its best on Sundays - though Brick Lane and Shoreditch are very trendy all week, and Shoreditch/Hoxton is the nightlife centre of London.

STREETMAP - you will need to expand the map both south and north to get the whole route.

Another useful map is here

If you want to buy a bike (probably cheaper than hiring one for a week and you can sell it back at the end of your stay) try Grimsby St off Brick lane- it's probably been stolen anyway.


Guidebook to what to see and do in London
Guidebook to what to see
                  and do in London

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