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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:

I’ve found a hotel for you to stay in which is both classy and convenient. The Stratford 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. Giving you more free time to crack on with this jam-packed agenda I have planned for you. Ready? Once you’ve checked in your bags, 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.

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.

There’s time before we head out for the evening to rest a little bit. Put up your feet, enjoy your room at The Stratford and I’ll see you down at the bar for a pre-dinner drink at 7.30pm.

Friday Evening in East London:

We’re staying local 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! 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:

The good news is you don’t have to travel far for a good breakfast. Make your way downstairs to the Brasserie and you’ll be able to have the works, fruit and granola, or my favourite there; Eggs Benedict.

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. Five minutes walk to Stratford station and then you’re on the Central Line to Liverpool Street. Hop off and head towards Shoreditch. Head past a bar called ‘Dirty Dicks’ (we’re not going in) and turn right towards Spitalfields Market. 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:

Before we head back to the tube, lets 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 and had an hour or two to relax back at The Stratford. 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.

Nightcap in The Mezzanine bar at The Stratford if you’re interested?

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?

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