Brick Lane’s culture and art draws you in

by Shane Dillon

WITH business names like Cult Mountain, Cereal Killer Cafe, Labour And Wait, The Lazy Ones and, err, Barry The Barber, a stroll from Shoreditch High Street rail station into the Hipster heaven that is Brick Lane provides plenty to stimulate the senses – and not just in the shop names alone.
While London remains a shopping mecca for visitors from around the world, Sterling’s current strength has left the Euro a little battered.
However, currency conversion woes aside, there are still bargains galore to be had in this too-cool-for-school corner of London, which in recent years has made a name for itself as a tourist and shopper magnet alike.
Whether you’re looking for exclusive designer wares lurking on a rail in a second-hand shop, some hard-to-find accessories or trendy pop culture art, or are just looking to sample some of the global cuisine concentrated in myriad little cafes and restaurants, Shoreditch, and Brick Lane offer plenty to tempt Londoners, locals and visitors alike.
Firmly on the map for a few years now, the area is a busy mix of locals, shoppers and tourists at weekends, with the area’s rich ethnic diversity adding to the multicultural dining and shopping experience.
However, if you visit during calmer weekdays, there’s certainly more space to relax, wander, and take in the area’s eye-catching urban art, with graffiti artists creating all kinds of colourful shop fronts, murals, and visually arresting scenes to add to the general buzz.
For those looking to perhaps feel more like a Londoner than the hordes of tourists packed into the West End, a half hour walk or so will take Brick Lane escapees south towards the River Thames, passing by quieter residential parts of the city on the edge of the nearby City district.
From the world-famous Tower Bridge, an inviting riverside walk back west takes you by some of the most prestigious – and historic – river views in the world, with an ever shifting skyline underscoring London’s ceaseless growth.
From ice-cream eaters by City Hall, past the sundial-like shadow cast by The Shard skyscraper (Western Europe’s tallest building), browsing stalls at the bustling Borough market, misquoting The Bard outside Shakespeare’s Globe, darting into Tate Modern to see free art and then traipsing across Millennium Bridge towards the timeless dome of St Paul’s, a delightful walk awaits.
So, whether you’re eager to see some of the buzz about trendy Brick Lane and its environs, or to take in some of the riverside’s timeless appeal, there’s plenty to draw visitors away from the usual city centre hotspots.

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