Introducing East London
The East End is the original melting pot of London, and while this brought riches and new ideas from all around the world, it also carried with it disease and squalor – this was the area of Dickensian slums and dark alleys.
But the latest decades have seen creativity quash deprivation. The nail salons and strip joints are still here, but are now interspersed with trend-sensitive galleries, bijoux fashion boutiques and a modern-day type of immigrant: the bearded, bespectacled, drainpipe-jeaned digital media creative who has turned Old Street into Silicon Roundabout, the UK’s prime hub for creative and technology companies.
It was the unused office spaces that first opened up this area’s potential, with YBA artists like Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin moving in to the warehouses around Shoreditch High Street. Other pioneers followed, such innovative restaurant Les Trois Garçons and cutting edge gallery White Cube.
The area solidified its status as the media hangout of choice ten years later when members club Shoreditch House swung open its, albeit hidden, doors. Here an open-air rooftop pool hosts the city's next-big-things, all high on the powerful cocktail of celebrity, exclusivity and sheer joy of life.
There’s also plenty of good shopping to be found, with vintage boutiques scattered across Brick Lane and Spitalfields. While on Redchurch Street you'll find designer boutiques including classic British brands Sunspel and Margaret Howell, both perfect for the urban, forward-thinking air of this thrilling and challenging area.