Things To Do In Shoreditch
When you’re looking for things to do in Shoreditch, the number one suggestion is generally to soak up the street art.
And if the outside of the area’s buildings are worth mentioning, imagine how much there is to do when you consider what’s inside them, too…
…like a 16,000sq house of crazy golf; an al fresco revival of Henry VIIIth’s favourite sport; a DJ-fuelled night market dedicated entirely to vegan street food; a house that’s really an immersive piece of art; a shopping hub set up in a shipping container village; a retro cinema; a subterranean ping pong den; and a boutique where you can buy a pair of shoes from 1900.
And so we humbly present: the best things to do in Shoreditch.
Last Updated: 30th October 2018
Jump to: THINGS TO DO | DIY STREET ART TOUR | MARKETS | SHOPPING
THINGS TO DO
London Shuffle Club
Shuffleboarding. It was, until recently, the province of cruise-goers and Miami pensioners. But before that, it was a Tudor pastime so insanely popular, that people stopped going to work, and they had to ban it. And that was before it involved freshly-fired pizzas and cocktails served out of an airstream… READ MORE
Details: 4 Ebor Street, E1 6AW | Open Tuesday-Sunday | ££
All Star Lanes
All Star Lanes have taken ten-pin bowling and finally made it cool, thanks to the addition of old-school retro styling; an American cocktail bar and diner; photo booths; private karaoke rooms; and non-sweaty shoes. READ MORE
Details: 95 Brick Lane, E1 6QL | Open daily | ££
Shipping container villages – luckily, they’re not just full of anchors. In fact, Shoreditch’s Boxpark has gone from strength to strength since opening in 2011, hosting all your typical attractions – independent boutiques, pop up bars, food vendors, intravenous drip bars, etc. Keep an eye out instead for the glorious frozen treats at Soft Serve Society; minimalist homewares at Decorum; and upcycled vintage shirts at Friday On My Mind. MORE DETAILS
Details: 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GY | Open daily | ££
Dinerama does pretty much what it says on the takeaway carton. Dozens of the city’s emerging and best-loved street food vendors are gathered in one split-level former car-park; including Club Mexicana’s vegan Mexican; Chin Chin Lab’s liquid nitrogen ice cream; and a whisky shot bar called German Sex Dungeon. READ MORE
Details: 19 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ | Open Wednesday – Saturday | £
Learning circus skills isn’t easy. It’s a fine line between being a tightrope walker and, well, the floor. But Hoxton’s National Centre for Circus Arts is ready to er, show you the ropes, whether it’s for a one-off trapeze intensive, or regular evening classes for acrobatics, aerial silks, unicycling and more. MORE DETAILS
Details: National Centre for Circus Arts, Coronet Street, N1 6HD | Regular courses available | £££
The Electric Cinema
Like film? Like film best when you’re at home, curled up on a sofa and having a glass of wine? Of course you do. You’re only human. Which is why the Electric is coaxing you away from the slanket with their plush retro screening rooms, fitted with loveseats, a cocktail bar, and the latest releases. READ MORE
Details: 64-66 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP | Open daily | ££ (discounted rates on Sundays)
Dennis Severs’ House
“You either see it, or you don’t”. Such is the motto of the late artist Dennis Severs’ house, a time-warped, immersive, artistic installation. Based in an early 18th century Huguenot house, he recreated every room as authentically as possible, and lived like this before opening it to the public. Of course, being ‘post-materialist’, the house itself isn’t intended to be the work of art, it’s the voyeuristic act of visitors creating their own ‘still-life drama’. But you obviously got that. MORE DETAILS
Details: 18 Folgate Street, E1 6BX | Open Mon, Wed, Fri | ££
When you arrive here, the last thing you’re going to want to do is bounce. Because this neon-lit, subterranean ping pong den is filled with excellent cocktails (delivered to your table), a pumping soundtrack, and an endless supply of ping pong balls thanks to the roaming caddies and their newfangled ball-scooping contraptions. READ MORE
Details: 239-241 Old Street, EC1V 9EY | Open daily | £
Alcohol, plus darts. It’s much safer than it sounds. Flight Club’s futuristic, computer-aided dart boards do all the scoring for you, as well as introducing you to group-friendly mini games like Demolition Darts and Quackshot. Expect boozy slushies; pizza; and urban-Victoriana surroundings that have all the warmth of your local pub, and none of the sticky carpets. READ MORE
Details: 2A Worship Street, EC2A 2AH | Open daily | £££
Rich Mix didn’t get its name by having a one-note entertainment programme. Every month is packed with events from film screenings and spoken word nights to gigs, club nights, exhibitions and more – and they currently have an excellent escape room hiding in the basement. MORE DETAILS
Details: 35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA | Open daily | ££
…down the road from Rich Mix, and you’ll find this – Shoreditch’s own board game café. Expect shelves stacked with unusual tabletop entertainment (from “Photosynthesis” to “You’ve Got Crabs!”), as well as plenty of snacks (including fresh oven-baked pizzas) and craft ales to see you through. It’s no trivial pursuit. READ MORE
Details: 148-150 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6DG | Open daily 9am-11pm | £
London’s preeminent crazy golfing institution packs into its 16,000 square metres not one but two nine-hole golf courses; three restaurants; five bars; and a team of unstoppable golfing legends, aka you. READ MORE
Details: 8 Brown’s Buildings, EC3A 8AL | Open daily | ££
Calvert 22 is one of the city’s lesser known galleries, but it’s well worth seeking out. Specialising in New Eastern artists, expect rotating multidisciplinary exhibitions; pay-what-you-want talks; film screenings and more.
Details: 22 Calvert Avenue, E2 7JP | Open Wed-Sun, 12-6pm | £
Wanna go to a bar famous for its baby foot? Probably not. Only here, ‘baby foot’ refers to the French name for table football – something the owners have been passionate about since opening in 2001. It remains one of Shoreditch’s cosiest, most atmospheric bars, filled with the clatter of vintage French football tables; raucous victory cries; and the clinking of glasses filled with European suds. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 127 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE| Open daily from 11am-late | ££
The Culpeper is a beautifully bohemian pub in Spitalfields, named after the 17th century botanist, herbalist, physician and astrologer, Nicholas Culpeper. And you can follow in his footsteps with the regular workshops and events taking place here, from cocktail-making with herbs grown in their urban garden; to botanic sketching and stargazing on the rooftop. READ MORE
Details: 40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP | Open daily, check here for events | ££
The Prince’s School
Tucked down a quiet side street is this gem of an art school, running courses, lectures and workshops in unusual and diverse artforms from across the globe. Learn the Japanese art of kintsugi (repairing broken pottery with gold-coloured paste); draw cosmic mandalas, or just brush up on a bit of Russo-Byzantine Icon painting. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 19–22 Charlotte Road, EC2A 3SG | Regular classes | £££+
TT Liquor is already one of Shoreditch’s most distinctive bars; serving creative cocktails in a former Victorian police station. But just to make sure they really stand out, they also have a retro-styled cinema screening films alongside themed cocktails; an entire workshop dedicated to (extremely boozy) molecular cocktail masterclasses; and, naturally, a pop up supperclub featuring a miniature animated chef projected onto your plate. READ MORE
Details: 17b Kingsland Road, E2 8AA | Bar open 5pm-midnight, Wed-Sat | ££
The Queen of Hoxton
Home to an ever-changing themed rooftop bar, The Queen of Hoxton is Shoreditch’s local. Downstairs is a pub that plays host to the likes of Reggaeoke and Drag Bingo towards the end of the week, while their suntrap rooftop proffers street food, cocktails, and panoramic views. Oh, and currently, a Las Vegas chapel with a fake Elvis. READ MORE
Details: 1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX | Rooftop open weekdays 4-10pm, weekends 12-10pm | ££
Shoreditch street art.
It’s one of the area’s biggest draws.
See, it’s easy to forget that the rest of London isn’t anywhere near as colourful. But Shoreditch’s relative lack of old-school, fancy masonry and wealth of wide, uninterrupted wall spaces; pretty much permanent hoardings surrounding new developments and a long-ingrained creative culture means that the area has essentially become one giant canvas for street artists.
And this isn’t just graffiti, this is recognised art. There was a time when artists were finding their work had been torn down and sold for thousands across the globe. Corporate giants have even started drafting in artists to brighten up their offices. The result is that street art isn’t just allowed, it’s positively encouraged here, with artist collectives regularly commissioned to spruce up buildings – hell, you can even pay to join workshops and create some of your own. And while it may have lost its subversive streak, Shoreditch remains London’s most unusual, constantly evolving, free art gallery.
Take an afternoon to explore the streets, and keep an eye out for this bunch…
Banksy. Yes, turns out the world’s most famous street artist has graced these very cobbles. And naturally, this (probably priceless) piece of work is proudly displayed… in a beer garden, down an alleyway. Cargo is a live music club propping up the railway arches on Rivington Street that’s worth a visit in itself – and the Banksy that just happens to be plastered on one of their garden walls is just the cherry on the cake, really.
Steve Powers is the American artist behind Great Eastern Street’s iconic “Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other,” part of a series that has seen quotes from love letters painted across walls in London, New York and Philadelphia (and fairly notable in this case for its position under 2 tube carriages perched precariously on top of a building). Powers has been working since the 80s, when he went by the tag ESPO (Exterior Surface Painting Outreach). He was particularly fond of working in daylight, so whenever anyone challenged him, he’d just tell them he was cleaning up on behalf of ESPO, and send them happily on their way.
Stik started creating art on the streets when he was homeless, as it was the “safest place to keep [it]”. Today you can see his stylised stick figures on the walls of both Elton John and Princelet Street – one of which may prove more easily accessible than the other.
Ben Eine is known for his graphic typography, shooting to fame when street art aficionado David Cameron gifted one of his prints to Obama. We’re blessed with a veritable tome of his writing in Shoreditch – spot it down Brick Lane, Middlesex Street and Ebor Street.
Gregos Art, a Parisian artist, joins the strangely growing tradition of sculptors sticking bits of their face on London walls with his full-face casts. Keep an eye out for them around Shoreditch High Street station and Fashion Street.
The Global Street Art collective have recently revamped a building on New Inn Broadway, a little street round the corner from the former site of the Curtain Theatre, where Romeo and Juliet was first performed. In homage to its star-crossed neighbours, the entire facade has been given over to a portrait of the lovers, alongside quotes, and an abundance of flowers.
Hackney’s Broadway Market may steal the limelight from neighbouring Shoreditch, but there’s plenty of stall-based shenanigans to enjoy here, too. There’s the regular weekly markets in Brick Lane and Spitalfields, flogging vintage wares and handmade goods; the famous Columbia Road flower market every Sunday; and frequent pop ups appearing inside Shoreditch landmark The Old Truman Brewery. Here’s what you can expect…
London’s unrivalled curry quarter comes into its own on Sundays, when musicians pitch up on street corners and stalls spill out onto the streets hawking vintage clothes, antiques and bric-a-brac. Grab a something from Beigel Bake for sustenance, and prepare to spend a day bargain-hunting.
Details: Every Sunday | Brick Lane, E1 6QR
Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road once struggled to find traders to fill the huge market hall that stood here in the 19th century (all that remains today are a set of iron gates and lion statues). Nowadays, it’s one of the area’s busiest streets, when the Sunday flower market gets into full flow and sellers line the pavements with kaleidoscopic bouquets. Head down there later in the afternoon, and you’ll have less choice but more elbow room – and there’s some prize bargains to be won as they try to shift stock. Browse the bouquets, buy yourself a 10-foot banana tree, and take a load off at one of the independent cafés lining the street.
Details: Every Sunday, 10-3pm | Columbia Road, E2 7RG
Old Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market was first established here in 1638, built up as a covered market in 1887, and redeveloped again in 2017. Now it’s a mish-mash of elegant Victorian market architecture, sleek office buildings, and Grade II-listed terraced houses. Under its roof you can find semi-permanent street food stalls from the likes of Monty’s Deli and Lahpet; a collectable vinyl market on 1st and 3rd Fridays; a pop-up vintage and antique market every Thursday; over forty shops, boutiques and stalls to explore; and regular events, from outdoor screenings to swing dancing and flower arranging. READ MORE
Details: Open daily, M-F 10am-8pm (Th 7am-6pm), Sat 10-6pm, Sun 10-5pm | Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW
The Old Truman Brewery
Brick Lane’s former hophouse is now home to an ever-changing roster of markets, pop ups and events. Highlights include Vegan Nights, a buzzing night market filled with all-vegan food traders; the Sunday UpMarket, a food and flea market that’s home to around 150 traders; aaand The Backyard Market, a weekend gathering of emerging designers that’s a little off the Brick Lane beaten track.
Details: Something on daily, check here for details | 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QR
Hoxton Street Market
Almost as old as Spitalfields, Hoxton Street Market is a great spot for street food during the week, with quirkier stalls selling second-hand furniture, hand-made items and fresh produce appearing on Saturdays.
Details: Street food M-F 10.30am-4pm, flea market Sat 9am-4pm | Hoxton Street, N1 6SH
Shoreditch is the home of the lifestyle store – elegant, achingly cool collections of items spanning homeware, clothing, accessories and books; in one neat, minimalist setting. Redchurch Street has become the unofficial hub, home to a stretch of independent clothing and cosmetic retailers; while Shoreditch High Street hosts a number of bigger, genre-spanning shops. Here’s what not to miss…
Labour & Wait
Tomas Anton Escobar/Unsplash
Labour & Wait’s beautifully sleek, green subway-tiled exterior hides an eclectic treasure trove of simply designed household goods inside. Starkly functional buckets and scrubbing brushes rub shoulders with elegant crockery, vintage stationery pieces and handmade leather satchels.
Details: Open Tues-Fri 11am-6.30pm, weekends 11am-6pm | 85 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ
Parisian clothing label APC keeps things pared back and typically French in their second London home, with Breton tops, clean-cut shirts and their cult jeans dangling from simple wooden rails. Plus, there’s a sofa, so your companion won’t be put out when you inevitably try on the entire collection.
Details: Open Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 12-5pm | 15 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ
A futuristic, utilitarian, cement kingdom of a space, Hostem Archive stacks its triple-storeyed rails with textured, unconventionally-cut clothes and relaxed tailoring from independents like Atelier Baba and Osaka-based label Andrew Driftwood.
Details: Open Tues-Sat, 10.30am-6.30pm (closed for lunch 1-1.45pm) | 9 Chance Street, E2 7JB
Aida’s exposed brick walls, Scandi minimalism and in-store coffee shop mark it out as an instant Shoreditch classic. There’s a little bit of everything here, from independent clothing labels for men and women, to a well curated homeware section, running the gamut from macrame plant hangers to hand-poured candles, minimalist crockery and coffee table books.
Details: Open Mon-Sat 10.30-7pm, Sun 12-6pm | 133 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE
Elemental is home to an eclectic library of vintage furnishings, showcased in a listed former ironworks. Alongside salvaged industrial lighting, antique chairs and stylish midcentury sideboards, you’ll find pieces from a curated designer list and select ‘curiosities’, which range from lumps of old factory machinery to a pair of Victorian moccasins.
Details: Tues-Sat, 11am-6pm | 130 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE
Milk have set up in a homey, airy space in The Clerk’s House – and boy, are they milking it. The interiors are like a millionaire show-home, packed with everything from design-led cat furniture (because that’s a thing) to extravagant Fornasetti cabinets printed with 18th century engravings – one of which retails at £25,000. Happily, at the more affordable end of the scale, there’s jewellery, cushions and candles to browse.
Details: By appointment | The Clerk’s House, 118 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JN
Present is a beautiful, sleek, man-cave of a shop, filled with elegant menswear from indie fashion houses; well-made accessories; quirky books; and weird little trinkets, from a shotgun-shaped letter opener to a DIY bacon curing kit.
Details: Open Mon-Fri 10.30am-7pm, Sat 11am-6.30pm, Sun 11am-5pm | 140 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE
Neon-lit Artwords is a bookshop full of the sort of niche coffee table books you’ll enjoy artfully leaving half-open around your house to impress visitors. Maybe you really will finish Graham Harman’s theories on “Object-Oriented Ontology,” or Klaus Schwab’s take on the Fourth Industrial Revolution… but either way, they look very, very beautiful.
Details: Open weekdays 9am-6pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 10-am-6pm | 69 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
The team behind Pitfield London own a number of achingly stylish country houses for short term let. So it’s no surprise that their London interiors store is an equally gorgeous melée of handpicked furniture and decorative pieces with a vintage twang. Browse barware from the 1960s, vintage comics and one-of-a-kind table lamps before grabbing a coffee and croissant in the onsite café.
Details: Open weekdays 7am-6pm, weekends 9am-5pm | 31-35 Pitfield Street, N1 6HB
Main image: Dinerama
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