12hrs in East London

The wild heart of London’s creative scene is beating in the East of the city.


12hrs in East London

The wild heart of London’s creative scene is beating in the East of the city.

Double-decker busses, black cabs, and Big Ben. All that is London. But in our first guide from there, we are highlighting a different side of the British capital. The punk music, the markets, the fashion. And, believe it or not, the great food. To find all these things, we are traveling East.

The East End of London has evolved a lot in recent years. From sometimes shabby street corners and empty warehouses to polished art galleries and design agency offices. For our guide, we tried to find a perfect mix of both worlds. Some shiny new places, and some beloved old favorites.

10am // The Hoxton Hotel

Good morning, East London! Our favorite hotel here (and the place we’ll call home for this stay) is The Hoxton. Slab dab in the middle of Shoreditch, it has the perfect location for a day full of exploring. We love the chic, design-y interiors, the relaxed staff, and – especially – the room prices.

If you book well in advance, you can score a beautiful double room for around 80 Pounds. In the dark world of London Hotel prices, that is really, really affordable. The Hoxton once got famous for a 1 Pound hotel room sale they offered, but until this day, we haven’t actually met a single person who managed to book that elusive offer.

The Hoxton Hotel // 81 Great Eastern Street // website
Pictures // Hoxton Hotel

10.15am // Ozone Coffee Roasters


This is going to be a long, eventful day! So you better have a hearty, British breakfast and some great coffee to get you up and running. Leave the hotel, and take the short walk via Old Street to Leonard Street, which pleasantly feels very much like a regular, local neighborhood street.

From the outside, Ozone could be easily missed. It looks just like any other tall-ish, warehouse-like building on Leonard street. That all changes once you get inside, though. The company from New Zealand is roasting its coffee downstairs in the basement, and you can peek down via a giant mirror on the wall. But the big roastery is not the only thing grabbing your attention here. There’s an open kitchen with busy chefs preparing food, a giant bar with shiny coffee machines behind it, and lots and lots of locals hanging out, working, or having their first coffee while reading a newspaper.

Ozone’s coffee is really tasty, and the food among the best we had on our trip. Also: The staff is extremely friendly, efficient and helpful.

Enjoy your breakfast (if you want to feel truly British, try their homemade Baked Beans!), and then get ready to leave Shoreditch for a while.

Ozone Coffee Roasters // 11 Leonard Street // Mon-Fri 7.30am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm // website

11.30am // St. Regent's Canal

Time to explore one of London’s staples, the markets. This part is a little tricky for us to describe, since most markets take place on certain days of the week only. For the sake of our guide, we are pretending to spend these 12 hours in London on a Saturday or a Sunday. If you are in the city on a regular weekday, have a look at Time Out London for some other local markets. You’ll find one every day!

Every Saturday, the famous Broadway Market takes place. And getting there is no chore, it’s actually a mini-vacation in the middle of the city. Take the Overground from Shoreditch High Street for two stops to Haggerston. (If you feel adventurous, you could easily walk this distance. Have a look on our map and decide for yourself.) From there, walk down the street towards the water.

The Regent’s Canal is an old waterway that was originally built for commercial use. Now, it’s a magnet for city folks who want to get away from the busy streets for a while. The sides of the canal are full of pedestrians and cyclists (Watch out under the low bridges!), and on a sunny day, you’ll see people on canoes on the water.

Walk along the water all the way to Broadway Market.


12pm // Broadway Market


An Hackney institution that takes place every Saturday. It’s always crowded here, so bring some patience while you walk from the canal up to Fields Park and back again. But the vendors are so worth it! You’ll find mostly food, lots of it produced locally, and drinks. Some stalls also sell accessories like bags or jewelry. One of our favorites: Miss Crofton’s Homemade underwear that is extremely pretty and surprisingly affordable.

Broadway Market // every Saturday 9am-5pm // website
Miss Crofton at Broadway Market // website


12.45pm // Artwords Bookshop


On your way back to the canal, you’ll pass a tiny corner shop called Artwords Bookshop. Don’t miss it! It has one of the best selections of books and magazines we’ve ever encountered, and the staff help you out with even the most mundane request.

That obscure Japanese fashion magazine that everybody’s talking about on Twitter but is impossible to get a hold of? Artwords probably has it in stock…

If you don’t want to carry around books the whole day, there is a second Artwords shop pretty close to the hotel in Shoreditch!

Artwords Bookshop // 20-22 Broadway Market // Mon-Fri 10.30am-6.30pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm // website

Columbia Road Flower Market


If it is Sunday instead, you sadly missed Broadway Market. But don’t fret, because we have an amazing alternative for you. While everything is about food at Broadway Market, it’s all about flowers at Columbia Road. Vendors are selling freshly cut flowers and potted plants, and people are buying them in bulk. “Ten for a tenner!”, the sellers scream.

Don’t miss the little side streets, where you’ll be able to buy delicious food, from freshly chucked oysters to Bloody Marys and coffee.

And now, back to Shoreditch!

Columbia Road Flower Market // every Sunday 8am-3pm // website

2.30pm // Goodhood Store


Before lunch, let’s get some shopping done. First on our list is the Goodhood Store, really close to The Hoxton. We love this shop for its great selection of contemporary fashion labels for Women and Men. Expect lots of Scandinavian brands like WoodWood, Japanese designers like Junya Wantanabe and a beautifully curated selection of small, useful things like watches, shoes, wallets and magazines.

GoodHood Store // 151 Curtain Road // Mon-Fri 10.30am-6.30pm, Sat 10.30am-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm // website


3pm // Present London


Let’s go over to Shoreditch High Street, this giant lifeline of the East End. It’s bustling with commuters and shoppers alike. No wonder, the selection of shops and restaurants is really extensive.

In our humble opinion, Present London is one of the best shops here. They sell everything a guy could ever want, from some of the world’s best menswear brands like Nanamica to the perfect boots, and the clothes have been picked out with a lot of appreciation for quality and taste.

Inside, next to the entrance, Present London has their very own Prufrock coffee cart, that some people claim sells Shoreditch’s best coffee. Cross the street and enter Calvert Avenue. This is one of Shoreditch’s nicest streets, complete with a little church and a park at the end.

Present London // 140 Shoreditch High Street // Mon-Fri 10.30am-7pm, Sat 11am-6.30pm, Sun 11am-5pm // website
Pictures // Present London




12hrs in London

The wild heart of London’s creative scene is beating in the East of the city.

12hrs in London

The wild heart of London’s creative scene is beating in the East of the city.

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!

A.P.C. // 15 Redchurch Street // Mon-Sat 11am-7pm // website
Aesop, Redchurch Street // Mon 12pm-7pm, Tue-Sat 11am-7pm // website


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.

Allpress Espresso // 58 Redchurch Street // daily 8am-5pm // website
Labour and Wait // 85 Redchurch Street // Tue-Sun 11am-6pm // website

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,, 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



12hrs in London

The wild heart of London’s creative scene is beating in the East of the city.

12hrs in London

The wild heart of London’s creative scene is beating in the East of the city.

7pm // Dishoom

Back to Shoreditch, it’s time for dinner. There are a lot of amazing restaurants around the East of London, but if we have to choose one, we’ll always pick Dishoom.


Having Indian food in London is a good idea anyway, but Dishoom is very special. It has been modeled after the Bombay Cafés that flourished in the Indian citiy during the 1960s. Built by Persian immigrants, there were once almost 400 of them in Bombay, and they attracted everybody – from sweaty taxi drivers to businessmen and families.


Dishoom wants to be as uncomplicated as these establishments, and it manages that with ease. The crowd is very diverse, and the décor reminds you of far-away places, with faded pictures on the wall and fans slowly turning on the ceiling.

The food is outright fantastic! You order several small dishes that you can share with everyone at your table. Don’t be afraid of the giant menu, the members of the super welcoming staff explain everything to you and always have great recommendations. The 12hrs cheat sheet: Get Far Far while you are waiting, then pick whatever you want, but make sure to include their signature dish, the House Black Daal, and the amazing Pau Bhaji. Oh, and the Gunpowder potatoes. And the Kacchi Lamb, and…

Dishoom doesn’t take reservations (unless you are a party of six and more), but it’s big enough so you should be able to get a table. There’s also a waiting list on crowded days and a bar to spend the time waiting with a good cocktail. Prices here are super fair, you won’t spend a fortune but still leave extremely happy.

Dishoom Shoreditch // 7 Boundary Street, Mon-Wed 8am-11pm // Thu-Fri 8am-12am, Sat 9am-12am, Sun 9am-11pm // website
Picture (1) // Dishoom


7.30pm // Queen of Hoxton

Over at the Queen of Hoxton, you can lose some of the calories you just acquired by walking up to the roof. This “youth club for adults” spans three stories, with spaces for concerts and theater, a game room, and – of course – a giant bar.

In the Summer, their rooftop garden (opened on weekdays only until 9pm, on the weekends until 10pm) gives you a great view of the ever-changing East End. They sell ice cream there, serve yummy after-dinner cocktails and host great events like outdoor movie clubs or silent parties.

In Winter, they might just build a Tipi up there and make it cozy. Check their website for details.

Queen of Hoxton // 1-5 Curtain Road // Sun-Wed 5pm-12am, Thu-Sat 5pm-2am // website
Pictures (3) // Queen Of Hoxton

10pm // Pub life

Yes, we know, our 12hrs in East London are over. But pssst, we have one more tip…

After hitting the rooftop bar, the pubs and maybe a club or two, you might be in need of something salty in your stomach. Something to fight off that hangover before it even gets a chance to hit you. In situations like this, there’s only one place to visit: The Brick Lane Beigel Bake.

Open 24 hours, seven days a week, this Jewish bakery feeds hungry hipsters and starving construction workers, tired partygoers and eager students alike. They bake everything fresh, around the clock. This is by no means a fancy place, it has a, well, let’s call it “rough” charm, but that makes it also very authentic. Fun fact: It’s the oldest bagel shop in London and produces around 7.000 Bagels every day.

Brick Lane Beigel Bake // 159 Brick Lane, open 24/7


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Where to go next

These were 12hrs in East London. 
Where do you want to go next?

Where to go next

These were 12hrs in East London. 
Where do you want to go next?