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48 Hours In East London by Girl About London

By Lindsey Roberts – 11th April 2020

A Weekend in East London:

There’s the ‘usual’ places to visit when you’re in London. The tourist traps, the things to ‘tick off’ the to-do list. But where do you go once you’ve visited the Queen, taken a tour of the Tower of London and meandered along SouthBank with the millions of others flocking to the capital every week? Well, you come to East London. Of course. Here’s my top tips for what to do when you have a weekend to spare in East London.

48 Hrs In East London Sunday UpMarket Saturday afternoon

Friday Lunchtime in East London:

We’re going to relive the excitement of London 2012. Eight years after the Olympics, The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is award winning and I love it! Parklands, waterways and playgrounds – that are all free to visit! We’re heading across to the East Village for a light lunch at Signorellis. This place is a lovely little spot in the heart of what used to be the athletes village in the 2012 Olympics. A family run place, there’s a small but perfectly formed menu of brunch-y delights. Make sure you save room for cake though – because they are DELIGHTFUL. Banana and chocolate bread is one of my favourites in there. Oh and you simply can’t leave without a sea salt and Nutella cookie. YUM!

Friday Afternoon in East London:

Get that coffee to go and make sure you’ve got some comfortable shoes on because we are going for a walk! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the greenery around here I think. We’ll take a loop around the Olympic Park and along the canals. If you want some hair-raising fun then you’ll be happy to slide down the world’s longest tunnel ride. The ArcelorMittal Orbit is one of the most striking and enduring visual legacies of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond and at 178m long, the slide is known as London’s most hair raising experience. You can also take in amazing 360 views of the city before you take the plunge.

Friday Evening in East London:

We’re staying local to Stratford for the evening, and heading for dinner on a boat. A lovingly restored 116 year old boat which was turned into Barge East a few years ago. Delicious food, great atmosphere and no sea-sickness – perfect! I’ve written a review on our visit here – take a peak! Once we’ve finished there, we’re heading across to other side of the canal and popping in to Crate Brewery for a couple before we hit the hay – can’t have too much of a late night – we’ve got a busy day tomorrow!

Saturday Morning in East London:

Again, lots of places to choose from for breakfast. If you fancy a proper no frills breakfast then head to E Pellicci’s – it’s an East London landmark and has been serving the area for over a century. It’s small – and expect to queue – but it’s worth it! If American style with a side of retro is your thing, then head to The Breakfast Club. And if you fancy Breakfast en Bread, (yes you read that correctly) then head to The Barge House.

Saturday Lunchtime in East London:

Now you’re fuelled full of breakfast it’s time to explore – one of my favourite things to do on a Saturday afternoon. We’re heading to Spitalfields Market, and Sunday Upmarket for a meander – think independent traders, yummy food and a buzzing vibe. I LOVE it around here; it’s one of London’s oldest markets and their independent traders have fashion, artworks, furniture and food to tempt you. They hold the affordable art fair there too and I’ve managed to pick up some beautiful pieces in the past.

Walking through Spitalfields Market will bring you out near Sunday Upmarket on Brick Lane. Set in The Old Trewman Brewery it has a history of supporting artists and designers. You might be getting a little peckish though, so now would be the perfect time to grab a bite to eat. Don’t worry – there’s something for everyone around here! Fancy fish and chips? Then join the queue (it’s worth it) at Poppies. Or head into Sunday Upmarket and let your mouth start watering for all the delicious street food that they have on offer. Think bao buns, falafel wraps, fresh cooked pasta or an Ethiopian curry.

Grab your food and wander through the stalls and vintage shops to pick up some bargains.

Saturday Afternoon in East London:

Let’s head for a couple of cocktails, it’s Saturday afternoon – it would be rude not to! There’re lots of places to choose from around here, you’re spoilt for choice! Rooftop bar your vibe? Then head to the cosy terrace at South Place Hotel, which is right next to Liverpool Street Station. Something a bit more quirky? Then head to The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane and ask for The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. You’ll be guided through a SMEG fridge and taken to a very small and perfectly formed underground bar.

Saturday Evening in East London:

So you’ve recovered from having drinks in a fridge – now put your glad rags on because we’re heading to Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green. Set in a converted clothing factory, this modern European restaurant is, for me, a hidden gem in East London. Especially, because with no signage outside, you have to really know where you’re going. Think cool, edgy and understated. Hopefully the in-house pianist will be playing tonight too. Oh, and I’d recommend the chicken with confit garlic and rocket followed by the creme brûlée.

Sunday Morning in East London:

I wanted to finish our weekend on a high and have I got a treat for you! We’re heading back across to Shoreditch to Red Rooster for their Gospel Choir Brunch. Yep – that’s right. Brunch and live music. It’s so much fun! You can tuck into short rib Benedict whilst listening to the amazing singers of East London’s very own House Gospel Choir. Hallelujah!

So, shall we organise a fun weekend in East London again soon?

Where to stay in East London:

I think you’re definitely spoilt for choice with places to stay in the East!

The Hoxton has a few hotels across London, but the one I love is in Shoreditch. So much so, infact, that we went on a staycation there a few weeks ago! Read my blog post on our experience here. I loved the attention to detail in this place – as we walked into our room, Smooth Radio started playing, the lights turned on and I was ready to relax! I think the rooms are contemporary mixed with the classic and all decorated to the highest quality.

If you’re travelling out of town, for convenience, I’d recommend The Stratford which is, yep, you guessed it, in Stratford! It’s right next to Stratford International train station, which you can get to from St Pancras Station in six whole minutes. It’s right next to Westfield incase you want to do any shopping and Stratford is very well connected to the rest of the Capital (not that you need to go anywhere else of course!)

Here’s another few places that might be up your street too. Have a good nights sleep at 40 winks, get booked in at the ever trendy Shoreditch House or relax at Boundary.

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