3.20pm // Leila's Shop
Hungry yet? Let’s have lunch! Just down the street you'll find Leila’s Shop. Half amazing neighborhood grocery store, half café, this is a place where locals come to mingle. Owner Leila McAlister herself is one of the friendliest people who will ever prepare your lunch, so sit back and relax. The food is simple and nice, with a strong focus on good, fresh ingredients. There are a lot of options for Vegetarians on the menu, too!
Leila’s Shop // 15-17 Calvert Avenue // Wed-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm // website
4.15pm // Albion
Walk down Boundary street. At the corner, you’ll spot the Boundary building. It’s now housing a very nice (and very expensive) hotel, a restaurant and has a rooftop bar. But what’s really interesting for us is The Albion on the ground floor.
This café (an a bit more expensive alternative for lunch) has an amazing in-house bakery where you could buy yourself some snacks to last you through the afternoon. And on the corner is their small shop that sells mostly British products. Everything here looks beautiful, even the cauliflower and carrots are arranged like a painting. By all means, go inside and have a peak.
Albion // 2-4 Boundary Street // daily from 8am until late // website
4.30pm // A.P.C & Aesop
Just around the corner from The Albion, on Redchurch Street, our shopping trip continues. There’s a branch of 12hrs favorite A.P.C., the French brand known for updated, timeless classics with a Boho vibe.
Opposite A.P.C. is one of London’s many Aesop shops. This Australian skincare company is always worth a visit. Their products smell amazing and really work. Have a look at their useful travel kits if you’re looking to spoil yourself a bit. If you don’t buy anything, at least make use of their generous testers outside of the shop. Everybody can use some hand cream, trust us!
4.45pm // Labour And Wait
Let’s continue our way down Redchurch Street towards Brick Lane (although we won’t end up there just yet). You’re passing Allpress Coffee on the right, which is yet another New Zealand implant that roasts amazing beans. If you’re in the mood for an Espresso or a flat White, grab one there.
Then, go to Labour and Wait. This beautiful shop makes the most mundane things look special. They carry all sorts of household items, from brushes to tableware and more sturdy things like ropes and shovels. Each of these products come from small, specialized manufacturers that focus on quality rather than quantity. A small selection of books about East London and just a few items of clothing make Labour and Wait a perfect little neighborhood shop.
5pm // The Vintage Emporium
If you continue down the street, you’ll inevitably end up on Brick Lane. This is the quintessential East End Street, with all its cafés, vintage shops and Indian curry places a bit further down the road.
In the recent years, Brick Lane has become a tourist magnet, and it’s harder and harder to find really good, affordable second hand clothes here. But there is at least one exception to that rule, The Vintage Emporium.
Located on a small side street, it’s a Victorian style café on first sight that serves nice tea and scones, but once you go down the stairs into the shop section, you understand why we had to include this shop into our guide. You’ll find true vintage items here, dating back as far as the very early 1900s. There are flapper dresses, hats and shoes, and even old underwear. Some of the items on display here look like they should hang in a museum, they are so delicate and well preserved. It’s not cheap here, but prices are very reasonable. Carefully explore all nooks and crannies, and then head back outside.
The Vintage Emporium // 14 Bacon Street // shop opening hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-7pm, Sat-Sun 10am-7pm // website
5.15pm // Boxpark
Walk around the corner and towards Shoreditch High Street station, we need to take a train to our next destination. On your way to the train station you’ll see Boxpark. This array of containers calls itself “The World’s first Pop-up-Mall”. Each of the little units houses another brand or store. There are some nice shops there, among them a store from 12hrs business card printers of choice, Moo.com, and Marimekko from Finland.
Walk around the boxes, or head straight to the train. See you in Dalston!
Boxpark // 2-4 Bethnal Green Road // Mon-Wed & Fri/Sat 11am-7pm, Thu 11am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm // website
4.45pm // LN-CC
Take the Overground train again and get off after a short ride at Dalston Kingsland. Dalston isn’t as commercial as Shoreditch yet, the rents are a bit lower, there are less businessmen and more teenagers on the streets, everything feels a bit more local.
A weird place for a shop like LN-CC, but then again, they don’t play by the rules, anyway. In order to enter this fashion store extraordinaire, you need to book an appointment first. This might sound annoying or intimidating, but trust us, just do it. A super short email to them (address on the website) with your preferred date and time is enough, they’ll get back to you after a while. The earlier you book your appointment, the better, confirmations sometimes take a tiny bit longer.
Walk down the street to number 18, on the right side of the building is a small way leading towards a locked door. Ring the bell, and they’ll let you in. A member of the staff will show you around and explain everything to you, and after that, you’re alone in that magnificent space.
Each room has a different focus, from sportswear (in term not used very literal here) to more high-end fashion. There’s a library room with rare art books and a very cool and very obscure vinyl record collection (on our visit, we found mostly Japanese Bossa Nova and Russian Jazz) as well as space for shoes. If you have the money, you can find some of the finest clothes for both men and women here. If not, treat it as if it would be a museum. It sort of is, anyway.
LN-CC //18 Shacklewell Lane // open seven days a week, by appointment only // website
Pictures // LN-CC
6.20pm // Farm Shop
Once you’re outside the vault-like LN-CC again, you might long for something more substantial. A short walk away is the Farm Shop. This odd little place is exactly what the name suggests: A farm within a shop.
The owners grow herbs and plants within a regular Dalston shop, there are even tanks full of fish and a nice garden in the back. Urban farming at a whole new level.
There’s a café attached that sells sandwiches and salads grown in the shop. Sadly ,if you followed our schedule closely, Farm shop will be closed by now. You can still see all the weird planters and vegetable from the outside, so it is definitely worth a visit. If you’re ever here before 5pm, head in.
Farm Shop // 20 Dalston Lane // Mon-Sun 11am-5pm // website