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London, 2014-07-14

A guide for a weekend in Shoreditch

London is huge! Bigger than most capitals. That makes it a challenge when you go on a citytrip. Making a good planning before leaving is quite important, or just knowing which neighborhood suits you best to wander around can save you a lot of time. When going on a holiday there’s always a few things you need to decide before you leave: Do you go to the touristic spots, the monumental highlights or just wander around? Although I believe in a good mix of these activities, sometimes you just don’t have the time to browse Pinterest for inspiration. That’s why I am sharing my list of favorite spots in this vibrant city, from Soho to Shoreditch. I will update it pretty soon, because there’s still a lot more I’d love to explore!

I need to confess that this was actually the first time I went to London on holiday. Crazy, right? Travel addict Julie, never been to one of the most visited cities in Europe! But hey, there is a first time for everything. Thanks to Eurostar I crossed the channel in the easiest way possible: by train.*

You can get on the Eurostar at the international station of Brussel-Zuid or one of their other departure stations in Europe. I find that traveling with Eurostar is convenient and without anything to worry about. You check in on the train and in less than 2 hours you arrive in central London.  If you book well in advance, you can get a return ticket for around 90 euros. Those who like to plan a trip one month ahead it will be around 120 euros or more. Your Eurostar ticket is so much more than a way to get to London! It is also a ticket to some of the most popular museums in this city full of cultural and history. Here is a link to the specific museums.

 

Although I am known for taking a lot of photos, mostly instagrams, I didn’t take as many in London as I normally do. I was overwhelmed by all the impulses in this city. Luckily I still managed to edit a short video with some of the things that caught my attention!

Before I start on my list, a short note on public transport. When you go on a holiday you should always keep transport cost in mind. Spending a bit more on public transport could mean a lot more comfort during your trip. The friendly shop clerk in the underground adviced me to buy an Oyster card, which I could top up when I needed more credit. This was pretty efficient and I even have some credit left for my next trip! I bought around £30 of credit. As soon as I got that plastic card I took the bus 55 to go to Shoreditch. It drives via Old Street and is a good way to have a look around the area without having to walk. Of course walking is always the best way to explore, I absolutely love it. For those who want to ride a bike, there is a cycle hire system by Barclays. It’s around £2 for 24 hours and £10 for 7 days. Their cycle stations are all over the city, so you drop your bike there when you feel like walking again.

My weekend started at Borough Market for a bakery class at Bread Ahead. From there on I went to Soho and ended up in East London. Of course not all in one day. I spend around 2 days in Shoreditch, a vibrant neighborhood where all the hipsters gather to get their daily coffee high and parade in their cool outfits. Which is in my opinion a good thing, always fun to walk around those neighborhoods. You’ll feel less like a tourist!

Special thanks to Jelena for going to Shoreditch and taking some extra pics for this guide!

I’ve collected all my tips on a Pinterest map, so you can save them to plan your own trip! For me it’s one of the best ways to get an overview of what you want to see, although I get a bit too optimistic sometimes and pin so many tips that I would have to stay an entire year. Haha. Here you go:

  • Generator hostel: As Stefano said it so well in his post, this is the perfect stay for design savvy travelers. Generator Hostels is part of a new generation of hostels offering good quality at low prices. A hub for young people, where you feel at home and has a great location! Close to King’s Cross & affordable. What more do you want?
  • Borough Market:  It might not be a secret tip, but it certainly is a good one. More than 100 stands and traders of all sorts are represented at this history-charged place. Margareta visited in december and I came back last june. We both loved it. It’s also the place where you can find Bread Ahead for a super delicious doughnut!
  • Herman Ze Germen: This is a pretty funny concept. Curry wurst like they serve in Germany but located in the centre of Soho London.
  • La Polenteria: Don’t let the name scare you, polenta is an ingredient that will suprise you! Give it a try, I promise you will like it.
  • Kaffeine:  A popular coffee destination in central London and can be found on Great Titchfield Street.
  • Nopi: Looking for the best bites of Middle Eastern food? When in London.. go visit NOPI. Founded by one of Jasmina’s favorite chefs.
  • Five Guys: Who doesn’t love a good burger from time to time. Five Guys has that typical American diner look. Juicy burgers, a soft bun, yummy fries. (and I am Belgian, we are always more critical when it comes to fries.) If you feel like getting some fast food, go there!
  • Craft Central: an exhibition space for creative people to show/sell their work. A good stop on your way to Shoreditch. Always fun to discover new talent!
  • Workshop Coffee: One of the best roasters of London, now they also have a delicious menu. Voted one of the best vegetarian breakfast spots of London.
  • Timberyard: They serve tea as it should and together with some lovely pastries. This spot is perfect for the tech-savvy tourists who would like to catch up on their online life.
  • The Book Club: The perfect brunch  spot in Shoreditch. Not only is the price really reasonable for the big ass plate you get. It is also a pleasant interior where you could spent an entire day. From breakfast to late night cocktails. You can even play ping pong!
  • T2 tea store: A dream come true for every tea fanatic but also the perfect store for those who would love to discover this fascinating world of one of the oldest beverages in the world. Close to Brick Lane, where you can browse around on the Sunday market.
  • Albion Cafe: It’s a café which has an in-house bakery serving freshly baked pastries and cakes ànd a grocery shop where the vast majority of the food and drink products are British. Welcome to foodie heaven. Perfect for breakfast, brunch or lunch.
  • Columbia Road Flower Market: on Sunday you can go here to take that colorful Instagram. I know you want to.
  • Old Shoreditch Station:  It’s a cafe bar, a shop and an exhibition venue. All of that in a decommissioned train station. They want to be to a venue were creative talent can showcase their work and get a chance to nurture creativity.

Hope you liked my tips, if you have some of your own, don’t hesitate to let me know! I am still exploring this city and I can’t wait to go back and show you more.

Cheerio,

Julie

PS: These are some spots that caught my eye online, but which I didn’t get the chance to visit yet: Street Feast, Everyman Outdoor Cinema, Ace Hotel Shoreditch and Queen of Hoxton

*My train ticket was sponsored by Eurostar