There's no shortage of things to do in Shoreditch, as this popular and vibrant East London area is home to some of London's most creative communities and exciting new developments. You'll find time flies by quickly while you're wandering around this urban area, marvelling at street art and taking the sights and sounds. Our guide on how to spend a day in Shoreditch highlights all the must-visit spots, so read on to make sure you don't miss out on anything.
How to spend a day in Shoreditch
In this guide
- Start off with the most important meal of the day
Do a spot of shopping
- Old Spitalfields Market – Bustling market with historical atmosphere
- Rough Trade – Globally renowned record store
- Labour and Wait – Homewares that stand the test of time
- Aida – Effortlessly cool boutique
- Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – One-of-a-kind store with quirky and fun gifts
- Columbia Road Flower Market – Sunday ritual
- Grab some lunch
- Get your fix of culture
- Afternoon entertainment
- Gilvic – Love of food and art
- Sager + Wilde – Highlighting natural wines from around the world
- Black Rock – Award-winning whisky connoisseurs
- Happiness Forgets – One of the top bars in the world
- Nightjar – Jazz it up
- Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes – A colourful, artsy crowd-pleaser
- The Commercial Tavern – Shabby chic pub with quirky decor
- Rule the night
Start off with the most important meal of the day
Sustainability-minded coffee pros
A vintage-style coffee shop just off the Old Street roundabout, this is the original home of Grind, an organic, ethically sourced speciality coffee brand. You can grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a croissant to go, or stop by for the all-day brunch menu with dishes such as potato hash with poached eggs and wild mushrooms, smoked salmon crumpets, and thick-cut French toast. In the evening, cocktails are served as well, including the signature Grind Espresso Martini.
Originating in Sweden, Fabrique brings natural ingredients and traditional methods to bake artisanal sourdough bread and delicious Scandinavian pastries in its stone ovens. The authentic Swedish kanelbullar – cinnamon buns – are obviously a highlight, but there are many other goodies on offer in this railway arch. You can grab coffee here as well.
Award-winning, minimum waste eatery
Occupying a buzzy industrial hall, with queues stretching down the street on weekends, this New Zealand export adheres to sustainability and environmental awareness. The menu reflects these principles as well, using fermentation and pickling for max flavour and minimum waste. Tasty dishes here include kimchi, smoked fish kedgeree, eggs benedict on bubble 'n' squeak cakes and more. If you don't want to, or can't, get a table, there's a coffee bar with a pastry counter as well.
Do a spot of shopping
Bustling market with historical atmosphere
Beneath an impressive iron latticework roof, this Victorian market hall and its younger neighbour host a wide variety of stalls, shops and food vendors. You can grab some street food and browse the stalls offering everything from clothing and accessories to souvenirs, interior decor items and beauty products. Alternatively, take a seat in one of the surrounding restaurants and just enjoy the hustle and bustle of the lively marketplace.
Globally renowned record store
This iconic independent record store and its adjoining label are known around the world. First launched in the 1970s, Rough Trade now has several outposts, including one in New York City, and specialises in alternative music, particularly debut releases by hot new acts, as well as offering all the latest chart-toppers. The Brick Lane venue also has a stage that regularly hosts intimate album release shows and signings by some of the biggest stars in the world.
Homewares that stand the test of time
If you're looking to spruce up your interiors a bit, try the timeless home accessories at this iconic homewares store. The famously green-tiled shop in a former pub stocks a range of items, from traditional to contemporary, with the goal being to offer a curated selection of products that mellow with age instead of becoming outdated. In addition to items for all over the house, you'll find outdoor accessories, clothing, books and more here.
Effortlessly cool boutique
This family-run boutique offers stylish clothing, trendy accessories and fashionable footwear for men and women alike, along with a collection of inspired homeware and interior decor products, including wall art. The shop curates its collection to highlight independent brands and unique style influences, and also houses its own coffee shop for shoppers who need to rest up and recharge.
One-of-a-kind store with quirky and fun gifts
For more than two centuries, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies has been providing spooky edibles, creepy gifts and mysterious treats to London's living, dead and undead populace. Its old-fashioned shelves are lined with all the things you never knew you needed, from bottled London smog to rocket-fuelled coffee beans, elegant quill pens, coal soap bars and more. The shop does charitable work in the area as well.
An integral part of the London experience for locals and tourists alike, Columbia Road Flower Market blooms with beautiful flowers, verdant foliage and fascinating foliage every Sunday. The street is also lined with scores of independent boutiques and antique shops, meaning there's plenty to to browse here even if you can't make it to the busy Sunday flower market itself.
Grab some lunch
Infamous bagel shop rivalry
These two bagel bakeries on Brick Lane have both been laying claim to the title of London's best bagel shop since time immemorial. Whichever one you cast your vote for, you can be sure you'll get a freshly baked bagel, optionally stuffed full of salt beef, schmear or other classic fillings. Another certainty: queues out the door.
Simple food packing serious flavour
A definitive Shoreditch eatery, this simple contemporary restaurant holds a Michelin star for its flavourful, unfussy small plates such as rabbit ravioli with wild mushrooms and sweetcorn and figs with mozzarella and prosciutto. The in-house sommelier curates an eclectic list of wines to pair with your à la carte lunch, ranging from classic bottles to more unexpected selections.
A food court with a twist
Supposedly the world's first pop-up shopping mall, the immediately recognisable Boxpark Shoreditch has expended its shipping container concept around the capital since first launching here more than a decade ago. The distinctive complex houses curated fashion and arts brands and independent retailers, along with a varied array of modern streetfood vendors. Concerts, DJ nights, fashion shows and other such events are also a regular part of the programme.
Proper Vietnamese sarnies
There are plenty of options in East London for those craving authentic Vietnamese fare, especially around Kingsland Road, but if you're just after a quick midday bite, stop at Banh Mi Keu Deli. They serve mouth-watering Vietnamese classics, led by the titular banh mi sandwich baguette. In addition to the broad range of sandwiches with all sorts of fillings, you can also sample noodle and rice dishes at this sleek, airy eatery.
For those in the know
This unassuming newsagent on Great Eastern Street hides a delicious lunchtime secret, plopping out a vat of authentic Indian curry. Served along with rice, poppadoms and even a giant onion bhaji, this makes for a mouth-watering meal without an eye-watering price tag. Do bear in mind that this is a takeaway joint and that there's usually a queue, however.
Affordable Japanese with a pedigree
Tucked down a side street, Sanjugo brings a slice of Japan to Shoreditch – a raw, freshly-cut slice, laid gently on a bed of rice, for example. The chefs boast an impressive number of years working in the sushi industry, including at high-end spots such as Sushisamba, and there are all sorts of other Japanese specialities on offer as well. If you happen to stop by for lunch on a Thursday, you can even take advantage of the special donburi bowl offer.
Get your fix of culture
Still-life snapshots of a fictional family
Described by its author as a “still-life drama”, Dennis Severs' House is a kind of hybrid between a theatre and a museum exhibition, presenting a "historical imagination" of the life of a family of Huguenot weavers between 1725 and 1919. The rooms in the house, refurbished by Severs himself, are set up as evocative time capsules, and the atmospheric experience is further enhanced by the candlelit silent tours.
London's most comprehensive independent film resource
The Close-Up Film Centre encompasses an intimate theatre, a café and a bar, but its main draw is the library – a massive archive of over 20,000 film titles, focusing on early cinematic works, established classics, world cinema, documentaries, experimental films, video art and more. The centre's goal is to make film culture and history more accessible, with its programme presenting the movies that have shaped cinematography into the artistic behemoth it is today
A space for innovative new art
Hundred Years Gallery is an East London exhibition space that puts on a varied programme and provides a platform for young, up-and-coming and underrepresented artists. With a ground-floor bar in addition to the basement exhibition space, this dynamic space can remain flexible in its programming, complementing the visual arts with weekly performances of new composed, improvised and experimental music and sound works.
Clinking glasses in the clink
The cleverly named Alcotraz Cell Block Two-One-Two offers a bar experience unlike any other. First they'll have you suit up in a timeless orange jumpsuit, then it's through the metal detector and straight into the slammer. Don't worry, you won't have to rely on toilet wine for drinks – you can “smuggle” your own booze into this prison-themed bar and have the mixologists create unique bespoke cocktails. Then just sit back in your cell and enjoy them under the watchful eye of the prison warden.
Get your game on and your drink on
Anything goes at this unique e-sports and video game bar, which combines drinks, food, gaming and a little healthy competition. You and your mates can slide into a semi-private gaming booth with all sorts of consoles and games, switching between different options with the touch of a button. Whilst you play or after your 90-minute session ends, you can enjoy pizzas and classic cocktails. Bottomless brunch is also available every day of the week.
Every day they're shufflin'
The London Shuffle Club is supposedly the only venue in the country to offer both lane shuffle and table shuffle to shuffleheads. If you aren't one yet, don't worry – the staff will happily provide beginners with all the necessary instructions, while more advanced players might be able to pick up a nifty trick or two. It's important to stay hydrated while you're playing, so there are plenty of drinks to choose from, including XXL cocktails to be shared by up to 6 people. Freshly made sourdough pizzas help keep you competitive as well.
Journey to a utopian world
This cocktail bar takes drinking to a whole other level, playing on the senses to take guests on an environmentally conscious adventure. Upon arrival, you're briefed and sent on a mission to forage for magical elixirs and ingredients for three unique cocktails. As time goes on, many challenges arise and eventually a decision has to be made – rebel and protect the planet or support a billionaire's plans.
A bar that hits the spot
Make no mistake, this isn't an exclusive pilots' club, nor does it have anything to do with high-end sneakers. It's all about darts at this classy cocktail bar. There are several semi-private oches with state-of-the-art dartboards you can book for your group, then it's game time. Combined with inventive cocktails and a cosy interior, you'll be hitting the bullseye in no time.
Balls to the wall
This fun Shoreditch party spot, supercharged with nostalgia, is impossible to miss, drawing in punters with a window display ball pit. In total, the bar sports a million glowing plastic balls in its pits, ready for you to dive in and frolic. When you're tired of playing with balls, join the other ballers in the chill bar area for a couple of rounds, or show off your ballroom skills on the dancefloor. Cocktails and pizzas help keep the ball rolling.
One of London's hottest restaurants
This sophisticated Michelin-starred restaurant in East London is known around the capital for its smoke- and flame-based Basque cooking methods, showcased through a diverse menu with plenty of fish and grilled specialities. Everything that's on offer is scrawled on a blackboard and the mains are designed for sharing. The equally varied wine list places a specific wine in focus each month, offering diners insight into its provenance.
London's first Michelin Pub of the Year
Marksman is widely considered to be one of the best gastropubs in East London, if not the city as a whole. The low-ceilinged dining room above the main pub area provides a muted setting for the daily changing menu, featuring British-inspired dishes such as grilled megrim, sheep's milk dumplings or chicken & wild garlic pie. Some of the delicacies on offer here, such as the brown butter & honey tart or the filled buns, have become a part of local culinary folklore.
Top choice for meat avoiders
The vegetarian and vegan feasts at Bubala are the stuff of legend among the capital's plant-powered populace. Using Middle Eastern spices and culinary traditions, this simple candlelit venue offers an exquisite tasting menu of sharing plates packed with flavour. Expect to feast on the likes of halloumi slathered in black-seed honey, crispy falafel and creamy labneh, with freshly baked laffa bread to scoop them up.
Bombay-inspired street food in elegant setting
The Dishoom restaurants bring the rich flavours found on the streets of Bombay to London, including at the sleek, elegant Shoreditch branch. The menu features Indian favourites with a streetfood-inspired twist, such as the bacon naan roll, along with signature dishes such as the 24-hour slow-cooked black daal. In addition to cocktails, you can order a refreshing lassi or a mug of hot chai, perfect for enjoying on the outdoor verandah.
Love of food and art
This stylish dining establishment comes from the folks behind the popular Fabulous 698B supper club and offers inventive seasonal menus with fresh and enticing dishes, courtesy of a rotating selection of guest chefs and pop-up concepts. The space is decorated with ceramics by contemporary artists and regularly hosts photography exhibitions as well.
Highlighting natural wines from around the world
One of the most popular wine bars in London, Sager + Wilde evokes the East End of old with its converted pub interior, exposed brick walls and wooden benches. The regularly changing wine list puts a particular focus on organic and natural wines from smaller producers, aiming to present seldom-seen and unusual vintages from around the world. There's a small range of beers and mixed drinks as well, along with snacks and light seasonal fare.
Award-winning whisky connoisseurs
Black Rock is a premium whisky bar that's been declared the best specialist bar in the country for four years in a row. That's in no small part to the awe-inspiring setting, with the centrepiece at this sophisticated establishment being a massive 185-year-old tree, split in half, filled with home-blend whiskies and fitted with taps. Black Rock strives to dispel the mystery surrounding the potent spirit. You can even blend your own unique bottle to take home if you book the blending experience.
One of the top bars in the world
Essentially a compact basement speakeasy with a warm, welcoming atmosphere, Alastair Burgess' Happiness Forgets in Hoxton is regularly ranked among the best bars in the whole world. The focus is on expert mixology, with the bar's take on classics such as the Old Fashioned or the Negroni ready to take over the mantle of your favourite drink. If you're feeling more adventurous, however, provide the bartender with whatever vague description and preferences you like, and they'll whip something up – and hit the mark with it, make no mistake.
Jazz it up
For more than a decade, Nightjar has been bringing old-school glam to Shoreditch in an intimate speakeasy setting with live jazz and blues music. The drinks include a selection of signature and classic cocktails from throughout the ages, as well as sharing cocktails for group conviviality. If you're after something particularly special, you can even open up one of the liquid time capsules with vintage spirits, for example authentic 1930s bourbon and rye.
A colourful, artsy crowd-pleaser
The elaborately named Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes features an equally elaborate interior, providing a creative drinking and partying destination across two floors – an airy ground-floor bar with large shopfront windows, and an intimate candlelit hideaway in the basement. The decor comes courtesy of a changing lineup of artists, who redecorate every few weeks to showcase their work. The cocktail menu features a load of creative and seasonal options, an there's also an appealing Italian food menu to snack on.
Shabby chic pub with quirky decor
It might not be much to look at from outside, but inside, The Commercial Tavern upends any classic pub expectations you might have had with a weirdly wonderful “worn down” aesthetic. Angel wing hunting trophies, mismatched wallpaper, upcycled furniture, splotchy walls and more combine for a “disused 17th century chateau” setting. A chateau with ten craft taps, a varied international selection of beers and reliably good sourdough pizzas, that is.
Rule the night
East London's haven for creativity and equality
The vibrant Colours Hoxton puts on a packed line-up of fun, exciting events, with its club space boasting a top-notch sound system – not to mention a striking LED installation on the ceiling. The dance floor keeps going late into the night, pulsing with techno, house and disco beats, along with more leftfield sounds. The club's programming promotes inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly acts, for example the popular Pxssy Palace nights.
Unique music venue
Village Underground started out as a couple of shipping containers and four tube carriages atop a viaduct, and has since become a creative and cultural hub that hosts a wide variety of events, from concerts to exhibitions. Considered one of the city's premiere music venues, it hosts club nights with a wide range of international and local music acts, including both established stars and promising up-and-comers.
Spanning two floors, equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system, Xoyo lays its claim to fame as one of the capital's premier nightclubs thanks to a sharp ear for contemporary electronic music trends. Its residencies have hosted acts such as Ben UFO, Bicep and Skream for a series of legendary events months at a time, while the signature Pleasurehood nights offer affordable entry to some of the best clubbing in the city.