Guide To Exploring Brick Lane In London
Brick Lane is in the heart of London’s East End. From Bethnal Green towards Whitechapel, it has become synonymous with bargain hunters and food lovers. This cobbled street has been known for being one of the poorest slums in the capital and where a mix of different immigrant communities came together.
Now, It has become extremely popular, and well adored, by both local Londoners and visitors. Brick Lane has transformed to become a diverse mix of markets, curry houses and shops. Throughout Brick Lane, you can find street art, excellent vintage clothing markets and mouth-watering food.
While at one stage, it was a favoured sport for Jack the Ripper murders and associated with a high amount of crime, this has all been forgotten in more recent years. The people of Brick Lane have turned this area around, making it popular amongst locals and visitors.
It is now more famous for its shops, markets and curry houses; Brick Lane is now a vibrant, safe, but busy place in London. However, it is best to keep your belongings close to you like anywhere else, especially on busy market days.
The easiest way to get to Brick Lane is to travel from central London. If you are using the tube, the nearest is Aldgate East on the Hammersmith and City line. If by train, Liverpool Street station is the closest with Shoreditch High Street for the overground station.
With Brick Lane Vintage Market being famous, you can spend hours hunting through for a bargain at any of the stalls that pop up there. With fashion from the 1920s to the ’90s, you can find everything from bridal to shoes. There are also several vintage clothing stores in the area, such as Beyond Retro and Rokit, but the best finds are from the market.
This combined cafe, bar and eatery, is open from 6 am to midnight, with DJs playing you through your day. Whether you visit for breakfast, brunch or even cocktails in the evening, their perfectly curated music will match the mood and feel of the day.
With artwork by Banksy, ROA and many more, Brick Lane has always been famous amongst artists. Taking the Shoreditch Street Art Tour will take you on a two-hour walk along the streets, allowing you the chance to see these pieces for yourself. Make sure to visit the Star Yard car park (also known as Seven Stars), one of the most popular areas where the very best artists leave their mark.
Although a charming café, offering both hot drinks and cake, is also jam-packed with art and even furniture. You may even find retro homeware here as well as antiques, all the while sipping tea.
With Brick Lane being famous for its curry restaurants, it was hard to narrow down the list, but we chose two favourites among Brick Lane lovers.
Dubbed one of the best Indian curry houses in London, the Aladin Indian Restaurant won’t disappoint. Opened back in 1979, they have a menu available for all dietary needs and spread over four floors to ensure they don’t have to turn anyone away.
Having been opened for two decades, this is another curry house that is insanely popular and famous for its curries as one of the best Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants and takeaway in Brick Lane.
If you want a moment away from the hustle and bustle, take a walk through the Nomadic Community Garden. It’s a place perfect for some peace away from the crowds. Although a private area, it is open to the public and on occasion, festivals are held here and live music and art shows.
Open for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is Beigel Bakery in Brick Lane. Infamous for the wide selection of bagels and fillings such as salmon and salt beef, it has become hugely popular with all who walk through Brick Lane.
Upmarket and Backyard Markets, Brick Lane has something for everyone. The Upmarket, for example, has a lot of lifestyles, fashion and accessories, with many local sellers setting up there. If you’re after something to eat, Brick Lane Food Hall has over 30 stalls from a variety of global cuisines to try each weekend. It’s well worth being aware that Brick Lane Markets gets very busy at weekends, but very much worth it.
Tucked away behind a graffiti-covered shutter at the Aldgate East end of Brick Lane, you’ll find Apples & Pears. This independently run cocktail bar has eclectic music, lively decor and an ever-changing menu to keep things fresh. Currently, between Tuesday and Sunday, they have deals on their cocktails.
Inside number 19, you’ll find this 18th Century historic building is the first museum of immigration and diversity in Europe. Behind the door are poems, secrets and much more, with history showcasing the debates over migration, minorities and multiculturalism. It opens its doors rarely, but it is well worth enquiring before visiting to see if you can get a chance to go inside.
For something different, consider visiting the Brick Lane Gallery, where exhibitions are held throughout the year, showcasing newer local and international artists’ works. With mixes of paintings, sculpture, photography and more, all from a blend of contemporary and urban artists. Previously, works by Banksy, Faile, Bortusk Leer have been held here.
This is a retro bowling hall, with a restaurant, bar and most of all, bowling lanes. The decor will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, all the while sipping cocktails alongside classic American dishes.
It’s not difficult to spend a weekend exploring all that Brick Lane has on offer. Famous amongst lovers of art, Brick Lane is a diverse mix of art, food and fashion brimming from the edges, with a great sense of community. With something for everyone, the only thing you need to question is where to start first.