Shoreditch Area Guide

Image Source: Time Out

Despite the fact that this area apparently gets its name from a grave (that of Jane Shore, the mistress of Edward IV), Shore’s Ditch – or Shoreditch as it’s better known today – has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Gentrification, as well as the presence of flourishing creative and tech businesses have given the area a new lease of life since the mid 1990s and it’s now an enormously desirable place in which to live, work, socialise or raise a family.

Much of Shoreditch feels classic “London” – Dickensian alleys, old pubs and unpretentious restaurants – while the more gentrified element has added hipster hangouts like Shoreditch House and a wealth of designer stores and Insta-worthy coffee shops. Whether your fix is salt beef at 4am or beautiful interior design, Shoreditch caters to just about every need. If you’re looking to live in an area that benefits from evolution, while still retaining a little of its old edge, this is the place for you.

Shoreditch (outside) City Limits – a history snapshot

Shoreditch has always veered towards the edgy – it was at one point outside the boundaries of London proper and, as a result, became a beacon for all of those who wanted to avoid the overly enthusiastic lawmakers and enforcers of the time. So, actors, poets, prostitutes and spies were all drawn here, resulting in an area rich in creativity and hedonism, a great location to drink, dance and indulge in the arts.

That general theme still persists today although Shoreditch is now firmly subject to all UK laws. The fashion industry that has grown up in the area also reflects its heritage as a centre for textiles, which was established by the French Huguenot silk weavers who arrived in the 17th century. By the end of the 19th century Shoreditch had once again fallen into disrepute as a location of poverty, crime and prostitution. However, reconstruction after the Second World War, as well as the vast swathe of regeneration that has taken place since, has turned it into a hub for all things creative and cool.

Arriving in Shoreditch? This is what you need to know

  • The fact that Shoreditch has been such a hub for the creative arts means that it’s had a ton of famous residents, from Barbara Windsor, to Russell Brand, James Burbage to William Orbit and William Sommers who was Henry VIII's jester.
  • The first two theatres anywhere in London were built in Shoreditch - The Theatre and The Curtain Theatre (Shakespeare’s original playhouse).
  • Shoreditch was fairly typical of The East End before regeneration began and crime here was rife. The Courthouse Hotel was the former Old Street Magistrates Court between 1903 and 1905 and it was here that the Kray Twins were once accused of ‘demanding money with menaces.’
  • The Boundary Estate is the world’s oldest council estate, built in 1890.
  • The London College of Fashion was established in 1974. This Shoreditch institution, which now has bases across London, is the only college in Britain to specialise in fashion education, research and consultancy. Alumni include Jimmy Choo and Patrick Cox.

How to get elsewhere (if you ever want to leave that is)

Shoreditch is such a comprehensive living and working environment that many of its residents spend much of their time here. Which makes sense when you think that this is where you’re likely to find some of the best jobs, nicest homes, most exciting restaurants and coolest clubs. If you do ever find that you want to sample the rest of the city it’s not difficult to do.

Buses. Shoreditch is such a comprehensive living and working environment that many of its residents spend much of their time here. Which makes sense when you think that this is where you’re likely to find some of the best jobs, nicest homes, most exciting restaurants and coolest clubs. If you do ever find that you want to sample the rest of the city it’s not difficult to do.

Trains. Shoreditch has no tube station (this closed in 2006) but Shoreditch High Street is on the Overground, which gives you access to locations like Crystal Palace, West Croydon and Highbury & Islington. Liverpool Street Station is theoretically within The City but pretty much in Shoreditch and provides access to the Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, as well as cross country trains to locations like Norwich, Cambridge and Chelmsford.

Two wheels. Many of London’s cycle routes drop in and out of Shoreditch and if this is your preferred method of transport for work you’ll be in good company. This part of London is also home to record numbers of cycle shops, especially those that combine bike repairs with good coffee.

Pedal power. Hackney has the highest number of people cycling to work in London and the second highest number in England – if you love getting about on two wheels this is the location for you. You don’t have to stick to the roads either, as there are plenty of cycle routes that will take you via waterways and parks.

Taxis. The traffic in this part of London can be notoriously bad but when the roads are clear you can reach a location like Oxford Circus (around 3 miles away) in around 20-30 minutes.

Airports. If you’re planning on taking a flight, the Stanstead Express runs from Liverpool Street every 15 minutes. City Airport is around 30 minutes from Shoreditch by train.

Green places

Shoreditch is not renowned for its parks and green spaces – this part of London is much more about the urban vibe. Nevertheless there are some picturesque spots where you can go and enjoy your extra hot, extra wet, triple shot latte or listen to your favourite podcast.

  • Shoreditch Park - one of the largest parks in the area and holder of a Green Flag Award. Plenty of sports amenities (including ping pong) and a TFL bike docking station.

  • Mark Street Gardens - a ‘best kept secret’ type park just a short walk from Great Eastern Street.

  • Haggerston Park - can just about be considered Shoreditch. Home to Hackney City Farm and a huge array of opportunities for activity and entertainment, including a BMX cycle track, Sebright Children's Centre and a conservation area and pond.


Shoreditch has 12 primary schools, 4 secondary schools, 1 nursery and 12 other educational institutions, including a number of independent and free schools. This is also where you’ll find City University, which has established itself as a centre for academic excellence for business and the professions.

Shoreditch – foodie capital of London?

If you love to eat and drink you will be so spoiled for choice in Shoreditch that you may find it a little overwhelming at first. As this area has been ‘up and coming’ for a while (some say it’s now up and come – we disagree) it tends to attract new businesses looking to test out a culinary concept or launch a new restaurant trend. So, if cutting edge dining is what you like Shoreditch is where it’s at.

Markets. Like the rest of London it’s often at the local markets where you’ll find the best opportunity to graze and get to know what’s on offer. Brick Lane Market is something of a legend in this part of the world – the Sunday UpMarket in the Old Truman Brewery is the place to be for foodies. Columbia Road Flower Market is strictly for flowers but there are multiple opportunities for snacking while you browse the blooms – we’d recommend the crêpes with salted caramel butter at Brawn. Old Spitalfields Market is an unusual combination of well-established chains like Wagamama and the kind of traditional food stalls you’d expect in a market situation. It’s impossible not to find something to chow down on here, whether that’s cupcakes or tapas. Dinerama on Great Eastern Street is another evolution of the classic market – street food under cover with a party atmosphere. Don’t miss the Club Mexicana tacos.

Restaurants. The spectrum of eating establishments in Shoreditch ranges from high end to street food and almost all tastes are catered for. Spitalfields Hawksmoor is one of several across the city and attracts carnivores and those who value a perfectly mixed cocktail. Abondance is haven for cheese fans, from tartiflette to cheese boards, while Gunpowder takes curry concepts to a new level. Shoreditch is awash with hipster pizza and burger joints but we love Homeslice and Smokestak for true, deep flavours. The best way to approach eating out in Shoreditch is to set off with curiosity and an empty stomach – you won’t get far before you find somewhere that tempts you to stop and sample.

Drinking. This part of London can take off in the evenings and weekends but there are plenty of quieter areas where the art school kids and City workers don’t get to. Anywhere close to Liverpool Street Station is likely to be packed with suits after work hours but you can head for the Rooftop at Boundary to get up to quieter heights. Nightjar is the epitome of London drinking for cocktail fans – the mixology here has won awards and can be truly surprising. Old Street Records is known for its happy hours and Found has an extensive cocktail menu with six options for each major spirit. If classic pub is more your style try The Artillery Arms or The Pride of Spitalfields.

After work

Theatre. Shoreditch Town Hall is an independent arts, community and events space that attracts more than 7,000 people a year to its productions. If you’re looking for theatre on a smaller and more intimate scale the 150-seat Courtyard Theatre is renowned as an eclectic hub of fringe theatre and arts.

Cinema. The Electric Cinema is probably the destination of choice in Shoreditch for lovers of the big screen. Most of the cinema options in Shoreditch are independent and so offer some truly unique experiences and showings, from the cinema at Rich Mix (mainstream and arts films) to the documentaries and short films that premier at The Ace Hotel.

Art. Pure Evil Gallery, Hix Art and Red Gallery LDN are three of the first art galleries that tend to pop up for those looking to explore creative projects here. However, spaces in Shoreditch are constantly being converted for pop up exhibitions etc so it pays to keep an ear to the ground to find out when something new is appearing. You’re also very close to the Victoria Miro and Whitechapel Galleries, which are legendary on the London arts scene.

Music. Shoreditch is a haven for music lovers, from EDM fanatics to guitar aficionados. The legendary Old Blue Last is located in this part of London – great for bands – while Cargo, 93 Feet East, Village Underground and a wealth of smaller clubs and pub/club venues cater to all weekend and late night audio tastes.

Shopping. Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose all have a presence in Shoreditch but there are no full size supermarkets in this part of London (they are all ‘local’ stores). Half the fun of living round here is getting your produce locally, for example from The Grocery on Shoreditch High Street or Leila's Grocery Shop on Calvert Avenue. Shoreditch also seriously delivers on other types of purchases too, from vinyl at Rough Trade to high street fashion at Urban Outfitters and high-end makeup from the Chanel concession at Spitalfields Market.

Up your fitness game

Fitness and wellness are big trends in Shoreditch and this is the ideal location from which to immerse yourself in all things physical. Most of the local fitness establishments combine a traditional gym environment with a timetable of classes, from barre to disco. BLOK, Frame and PureGym are three big(ish) brands that provide flexible pricing and lots of different activities. There is also a Gym Box and a DW Fitness First – among many others. Ironmonger Row Baths and Golden Lane Sports & Fitness have pools – as does Shoreditch House if you’re cool enough for membership.

Heard it on the grapevine

If you really want to take advantage of all that Shoreditch has to offer that means staying plugged in to the constantly changing stream of culture and culinary delights.

  • Social media. Given the swift pace of change in Shoreditch, Instagram and Twitter offer a goldmine of local info – BoxPark (@boxpark) and the Ace Hotel (@acehotellondon) are productive follow options.
  • Storeys Twitter (@storeys_london). As letting agents in Shoreditch we love this part of London and we know it well. Head over to our Twitter and give us a follow if you want to stay up to date.
  • Made in Shoreditch. This digital mag covers just about everything, from cutting edge arts to the best new boozers.


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