London’s East End, formerly known as “that part beyond the Tower”, is a vibrant area, comprised of a number of boroughs. With an area full of artists and hipsters, the home of the cockney dialect and a history that dates back to medieval times, East London holds many places that are ‘off the beaten track’ and perfect for backpackers to discover.
Hang out in Hackney for the day and enjoy an up-and-coming neighbourhood. Check out eclectic shops, great streetscapes and stop by the Wilton Way Café for great coffee and music to relax after your walk.
Want to run away with the circus? Check out an experience day at Circus Space where participants can get a taste for various circus arts including trapeze, tightwire, juggling and acrobatics.
Getting a drink in London can get a little expensive, but that’s where Happiness Forgets comes in. A little hard to find, this basement bar is located at Hoxton Square and offers a dark, cozy atmosphere and reasonably priced high end cocktails from 5 pm to 11 pm every night.
The house at 19 Princelet Street has a long and often interesting history. It has been a family home, a workshop for weavers and a synagogue. In 1969 a man disappeared completely from the third floor. Due to it’s age and condition, access is very limited, so be sure to check ahead to see when public visits are possible.
If you enjoy theatre and music, you need to visit Wilton’s Music Hall. It’s one of the oldest surviving grand music halls in the world and it opens its stage to artists of all sorts. You can also just enjoy the atmosphere with food or drink at the newly renovated Mahogany Bar, the oldest section of Wilton’s, built in 1725.
Hidden throughout London are images of the 8-bit video game monsters Space Invaders. Created by a French artist, some can be found in East London. There are more scattered around London, Hong Kong and Paris.
Take a walk around and check out the graffiti and street art. You can see one of the last Banksy pieces in East London, along with many other talented artists. There are many organised tours or you can try a self-guided tour.
If you prefer a more macabre tour, you can try out a Jack the Ripper self-guided tour. Visit the places where the murders took place and imagine London’s East End in 1888.
Get back to nature in the city with a walk over the green bridge, which connects Bow Common to Mile End Park. Continue on to Victoria Park in the north or walk the Regent Canal along the west side of the park.
Finally, take some time to visit the free Museum of London Docklands, to learn some of the history of the area from Roman and Viking use of the area to more modern times. You can also shop at Canary Wharf, the modern shopping, food and entertainment district build on the old West India Dock site.