The East London Guide
Hackney, Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Clerkenwell are where the artists, creatives, and designers settled in the late 90’s and began to thrive, making this one of the most exciting places to shop and eat, not to mention people-watch. With the influx of cash from the city bankers, the “Silicon roundabout” gang nearby, and the arrival of the Ace Hotel, though, this area has lost some of its grit of late, with the real hipsters moving out, and pushing the boundaries of cool East London further and further afield.
Broadway Market25 Broadway Market, Hackney
This market is an East London staple and has been around forever—but it’s possibly better now than it’s ever been. Saturday mornings belong to Broadway for Londoners living from Hackney to London Fields. Dozens of vendors, stores, and stalls sell something for every taste and budget. Come for breakfast, come for lunch, come for groceries. Food and trinkets aside, this is some of the best people-watching in London.
Geffrye MuseumKingsland Rd., Shoreditch | +44.20.7739.9893
If you find yourself in Shoreditch, consider taking a quick trip to the Geffrye Museum. The focus here is on homes and home décor, specifically how both have changed over the span of 40 years. Situated in a series of original almshouses, the buildings and grounds have been lovingly restored to showcase original antiques and furnishings from London's past, as well as an enormous garden. The period rooms (if you're the nostalgic type, you'll love the '90s-style loft) take visitors on a journey through British life starting in 1690. It's the sort of place that's great to visit with kids: there's plenty of roaming room within the gardens, so they can burn off excess energy between learning.
Museum of London150 London Wall, City of London | +44.20.7001.9844
Along with their extensive, eclectic collection, and ever-changing exhibits, the museum runs free kids activities every Sunday during term-time and every day during the school holidays.