Not only is shopping in East London great for fans of vintage fashion but the setting is pretty fashionable too. In London’s East End you’ll find shop shutters covered in intricate art and an artisan coffee shop on every corner. For the perfect day out follow our guide to shopping and cake-eating in East London.
The streets of East London come alive on the weekends, especially on a Sunday when the Sunday Up Market takes over the Old Truman Brewery. Homemade cakes stands are interspersed with international cuisine, second hand clothing and various one-off bespoke arts and crafts. People line the pavements, tucking into trays of fresh food and surrounded by shopping bags. The roads off-shooting nearby Brick Lane hold a couple of shopping secrets too – namely, the vintage warehouses of Beyond Retro on Cheshire Street and Blitz London on Hanbury Street. In Beyond Retro you’ll find rails of retro clothing from which you can create the perfect fancy dress outfit, whilst the carefully curated collections at Blitz can help you craft a look like no one else’s. Don’t forget to check out some of the famous street art in this area; Banksy has left his mark on the Old Truman Brewery as well as the courtyard of nightclub/restaurant Cargo.
Conveniently located near Liverpool Street Station and the London Liverpool Street Travelodge is Spitalfields Market. London’s oldest market used to open once a week but the covered market surrounded by boutique shops and salons is now open daily. There are also a number of eateries in the middle of the market including Canteen, who serve traditional British fare, and Leon, who sell wholesome fast food.
Tea lovers will want to make a trip to the newly opened T2 store near Shoreditch High Street station. This Aussie tea specialist sells every imaginable blend of tea including the tools you will need to serve it – look out for the quirky strainers and colourful teapots. Their towers of china cups and saucers will make you want to move very carefully around the shop but don’t leave without trying the Melbourne Breakfast Tea with its surprising hint of vanilla. For coffee lovers there are a number of micro-breweries and artisan coffee shops in the area but we would particularly recommend Exmouth Coffee near Aldgate Station. The lattes are so good here customers leave hand written notes of praise on the wall!
For something special to go with all that tea and coffee you can head over to Columbia Road and visit Lily Vanilli’s bakery. Lily started her career selling homemade cakes on a market stall but they were so popular she now supplies sweet treats to stars like Elton John. Her café is located in a tranquil courtyard just behind the bustling Columbia Road Flower Market. The Sunday flower market (open from 8am to 3pm) is a must see – the street comes alive with rainbow-coloured blooms and provides ample photo (as well as shopping) opportunities.
If you like to eat your way around a city the East End Food Tour is one for you. From bacon butties to famous bagels and a mouth-watering salted caramel tart, this highly recommended tour will satisfy your curiosity as well as your taste buds.
Shopping, street art, coffee and cake – London’s East End makes a sweet day out!