Summer is fast approaching and you have guests from overseas coming for a holiday. Why not introduce them to something more than the usual tourist attractions of London?
Shoreditch, the triangular area made up by Old Street, Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street is an unusual but fascinating mix of sophisticated business hotels, street markets drenched in history, trendy, upmarket clubs and bars alongside Middle Eastern restaurants.
The history of Shoreditch is one to rival that of any other part of the City. One legend describes how the area got its name.
According to this legend, the original name was “Shore’s Ditch”, after Jane Shore, the mistress of Edward IV, who is supposed to have died and been buried in a ditch in the area.
The legend is commemorated by a painting at Haggerston Branch Library of Jane being retrieved from the ditch.
Another attraction for the history buffs is the Shorditch Church, which is at the crossroads where Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road are crossed by Old Street and Hackney Road. This church is so famous, it is featured in the lyrics of the old nursery rhyme, ‘Oranges and Lemons’.
The lyrics say, “When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch”, which seems to have predicted the future of the town, as it is now rich in culture and lifestyle.
For a daily market, head to Spitalfields market, a citadel of handmade trinkets and smells of exotic food. Each day the market has a different atmosphere so there is always something new to discover.
The people of the town are a mixture of trendy, creative, artsy, free thinking, business people which makes Shoreditch a vibrant and exciting town to visit.
For the creative thinking individuals, Shoreditch has a smorgasbord of alternative fashion and art. Urban-grunge is the theme of the town and there is an array of amazing street art in the style of graffiti painted on the grey buildings, like a free art gallery you can get lost it.
Shoreditch street art tours, a company that takes you on a tour through the streets of art, was rated sixth in all London activities. Be sure to take a camera with to get some great pictures of the art.
The street art is constantly changing, new work is created, new artists come to the area, so each tour promises the possibility of new, never before seen art.
“Our tour is designed to build vocabulary, history and artist familiarity. The Street Art Photography Workshop and the Night Street Art Photography Tours give Shoreditch Street Art Tours a unique proposition compared to other walks,” says owner of the company Dave Stuart.
Fashionistas can spoil themselves as well, as the town is not all artisan shops and grunge art. In between the Indie fashion shops, there are fun gift shops, designer boutiques and big brands to provide hours of shopping for those fashion addicts to indulge in.
Then there is the nightlife. The bustling streets die down late afternoon, only to be revived again with clubs, bars and trendy cocktail lounges.
From the unique Cargo, boasting music from art punk to dubstep, to the many alternative nights at The Book Club which offers everything from lunchtime discos, ping pong, film dance-a-longs, alternative dating nights, Shoreditch nightlife has something to offer anyone, even the most veteran of club-goers.
For those looking for a less club-like experience which will still provide a night to remember, the Shoreditch pubs are the place to go. With new pubs popping up everywhere, there is always somewhere to go.
Shoreditch pubs range from grand and glamorous venues like Princess of Shoreditch to great finds like Water Poet, which has a pool parlour, a downstairs theatre and a sunny beer garden. The décor is truly fun and unique with mismatched tables and chairs, elaborate mirror frames and bold wall colours.
The cocktail bars and upscale hotels are a must for people wanting to experience sleek splendour and designer cocktails.
Spending a day or two in Shoreditch should leave you convinced that this is the place to be if you’re a hip, young mover-and-shaker. It may have taken them four centuries, but the artsy crowd has come back to Shoreditch.
Shoreditch is definitely somewhere that everyone in London, residents and visitors alike, should take an adventure to.