Sunday Star-Times

Five of the best in the east

Seen the sights of London and want to connect with what’s really happening? Head to the East End, writes Brian Johnston.

- The writer travelled as a guest of Visit Britain, Viking Cruises and South Place Hotel.

Successive waves of immigrant communitie­s have made their mark on the East End, artist communitie­s thrive in the area, and the arrival of hip hotels and architectu­ral renovation­s are creating a contempora­ry buzz.


Dennis Severs’ House (dennisseve­ showcases the life of a wealthy Huguenot silkweavin­g family, and Geffrye Museum ( four centuries of domestic interiors. The V&A Museum of Childhood ( has one of the world’s best collection­s of childhood objects. Local artists sell their work at Spitalfiel­ds Market (spitalfiel­, which is slowly changing as hipster cycle shops and fashion brands move in. Recently restored Christ Church Spitalfiel­ds ( has a beautiful Georgian interior designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.


Get your dose of upmarket British seafood dishes such as mackerel or turbot at Michelin-starred Angler Restaurant, or your flame-grilled hunk of meat and accompanie­d shared dishes at the Chop House, both at South Place Hotel (southplace­hotel. com). Kings Stores Pub (kingsstore­ does good hearty pub fare, while Ottolenghi Spitalfiel­ds ( is a popular eastern Mediterran­ean eatery. Hit Brick Lane for curries and Beigel Bake (beigel for salt-beef beigels.


Soak up the street vibe and brilliant street art and graffiti in Shoreditch, Hoxton and Spitalfiel­ds. Saunter down trendy Redchurch St for upmarket boutiques, Fournier St for many examples of 18th-century houses, and Brick Lane for curry houses and Old Truman Brewery (trumanbrew­, converted to pop-up galleries and lively eateries. The Sunday Columbia Road Flower Market (columbiaro­ is a colourful spectacle. The latest in youthful nightlife is in Dalston.


South Place Hotel (southplace­ has joined with Walk Eat, Talk Eat (walkeattal­ to create a bespoke food trail that explores its culinary and immigrant history. The 31⁄2-hour guided wander through Shoreditch and Hoxton stops to sample local foods, from baked doughnuts and sausage rolls to smoked haddock croquettes and Bangladesh­i desserts. Tour company owner Charli Matthews also knows about the artistic community, street art and eclectic markets.


The ultra-hip, high-energy South Place Hotel (southplace­ is the perfect example of the contempora­ry hotel scene. It has low lighting and a decor in shades of grey punctuated by sudden splurges of colour and curious artworks. The rooftop bar is a trendy nightlife spot. Rooms are large, beds enormous and bathrooms wallowwort­hy. Located in Moorgate, the hotel is a 10-minute walk from Spitalfiel­ds.


Hanbury St, Bacon St and the alleys off Brick Lane provide great examples of street art. Look up when walking in the East End: the shopfronts are often topped by Victorian facades. –

 ?? ISTOCK ?? Brick Lane’s kebab and barber shopfronts are often topped by beautiful Victorian facades.
ISTOCK Brick Lane’s kebab and barber shopfronts are often topped by beautiful Victorian facades.

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