There has been rather a lot of talk about my weekend in London almost 2 weeks ago (where to stay, what to wear and Notting Hill trips,) I do hope I’m not boring anyone… I also know I’m yet to share my destination guide to the Brecon Beacons (but fear not, it’s coming soon.) However, I thought I shouldn’t let this one linger on and as my friends The Lawsons, Ian and Emma of Big Bouquet and Simon Fazackarley are all off to Shoreditch (and staying in The Hoxton too I might add) soon, I wanted them to get the benefit at least and before I forget everything too!
Pete and I spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday wandering around various areas we had been recommended so I’ll share it as we did it, with links to eateries and shopping spots and a couple of maps in case you’re planning a trip too.
On Saturday afternoon, we had already been to Notting Hill, but after dropping off our bags at The Hoxton we headed out again to have a walk around the local area. We aimed for Redchurch Street going off the recommendations from this blog post.
First off we hunted down The Albion, recommended as a great place for brunch/lunch or even drinks. It reminded me a lot of the places I normally visit around my part of Manchester. Fronted by a grocery style store with artisan goods and freshly baked treats, we lingered before choosing a brownie for late night snacks and a salted caramel tart. I’d definitely go back for lunch and loved the all white decor with rustic touches.
Carrying on along Redchurch street there weren’t as many shops as I thought there would be but we found Labour and Wait, which was similar to Baileys home and garden with all kinds of household items that were properly made from wood and cotton. I also went into Aubin and Wills and despite trying lots of things on was quite disappointed to leave empty handed.
We were pretty tired by this point and in need of refreshment, so we headed back to the Hoxton Bar, but not before booking a table at the Legendary Pizza East. So many of you recommended it and I am possibly the world’s biggest fan of pizza, so I had to go and check it out. Boy was I not disappointed.
Pizza East is enormous, a massive disused warehouse, complete with industrial chic salvage decor (see why I liked it?) and a brilliant menu. The pizza was amazing and we also had a couple of antipasti style plates, but the highlight for me was the awesome dessert. We shared the doughnuts which were hands down, the best I have ever tasted. They arrived huge and puffed up, pipping hot on the plate steaming and covered with sugar. On the side was a pot of molten chocolate, totally unnecessary with the doughnuts themselves but brilliant eaten with a spoon after! Each one when bitten into was like a little cloud of heaven. Light as a feather and empty with tons of sugary sweetness. They made me very happy.
View Florence’s Shoreditch in a larger map
Sunday morning we had a leisurely plan for getting up and checking out of The Hoxton, as we had places to go. First up was The Breakfast Club. I’ve long been hoping somewhere would make a Breakfast club in Chorlton where I live, somewhere serving boiled eggs, good porridge with toppings, granola, kind of a Le Pain Quotidien type of place. In lieu of this when I heard about The Breakfast Club I was pretty excited. Focusing on the all American breakfast, one of my favourites, the decor is kitsch and retro in equal measure and we had to queue for a table but not for long. I had a stack of maple pancakes with bacon and syrup and a huge smoothie, way too much for just me but it was awesome!
Needing to walk it off we headed to Columbia Road flower market, another place that was absolutely heaving with people, and flowers of course! It was really pretty and we were lucky, the weather was gorgeous, so it made for a nice stroll, but we didn’t get to look at the flowers much because of the bustling crowds! If you’re into mid-century modern design, I spotted an independent gallery space at the beginning of Columbia Road called Two Columbia Road, with some brilliant pieces if you have the budget to spend on them! (I wanted the Hans Wegner Easy chairs.)
Image taken from Skinny Latte and totally unrepresentative of how busy it was when we visited!
I spotted a gorgeous looking cafe at the end of it all, (that my camera sadly missed) though and there were tons of shops I could have stopped and looked in but I was feeling rather harassed so we hurried on. If you’re there and it’s not a Sunday though, I’d definitely recommend taking a stroll over just to see the shops.
Image taken from Two Columbia Road.
Still with time to kill, we walked towards Brick Lane and stumbled right into the middle of their food market. There was everything for sale, a multi-cultural melting pot of curries, juices, sweet treats and interspersed market stalls selling everything from suspiciously ‘off the back of a lorry’ type goods to tat and bric-a-brac. It was perfect for people watching and brought us out close to the famous Spitalfields Market.
Less of a market and more of a covered shopping centre, I was a bit underwhelmed by the Market, although the central area was full of market stalls that seemed rather out of keeping with the space. There were loads of restaurants there though and a really nice area outside where we sat in the sun thinking about our journey back.
View Shoreditch Sunday Stroll in a larger map
On the way back we spotted another cute place to stop but didn’t have time to go in – right behind the Hoxton – The Book Club. I’ll be going next time! Other places we didn’t get to go were Lounge Lover, a cool cocktail bar behind Redchurch street and The Great Eastern Dining Room which is opposite and a little further along the same street The Hoxton is on.
Image taken from Yatzer.
And if you’re looking for a little culture, The legendary graffiti artist Banksy has practically made Shoreditch his canvas. If anybody knows where I can direct readers to find a DIY tour of his works, please let me know in the comments box below…
Phew! That was a mammoth post!
I hope it’s useful to some of you at some point and as always, if you have anything to add, fire away. Also a massive thank you to those of you who have contributed to the recommendations I followed – we had a great weekend thanks to you all!