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London Experiences

Where to quench your thirst in East London

Home of Jack the Ripper and early mob films, East London can be identified as a city all it's own. Step away from the historical and expensive streets of central London and step into an area full of cultures, coffee and craft beer.  Navigating this ever growing part of the city can feel overwhelming, so we've compiled a list of our favorite places to quench your thirst any time of day!

COFFEE

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  • Common E2: Family style tables filled with young professionals working on laptops, Tame Impala playing on the stereo and local beers lining the wall make this place a perfect destination to spend several hours. In addition to the warm yet modern vibe this place can make a mean cup of coffee and a damn good sandwich. 

  • Nkora : If you are looking for a simple and delicious cup of coffee, run don't walk to Nkora. The space is small but the coffee is big. A beautiful location with mostly window bench seats, this coffee shop is the perfect location for a coffee connoisseur looking for a cup and pastry on the run.  

 

  • Brick Lane: Walking down Brick Lane you will see more adorable coffee shops than you will know what to do with. Take a break from the food and vintage markets to have yourself a cuppa tea or a freshly roasted cup of coffee!

21+ 

  • Mother Kelly's: Do you enjoy beer? Truly enjoy beer? If so, this is your destination. They don't carry any liquor and only have option for red and white wine. Their 20 tap line changes daily and they have a wall of coolers that are filled with local and european canned beers. They even have a hefty selection of craft beers that can only be found in London here. This place is a perfect date night as the 6 other couples in the room could attest to offering up cheese and meat boards and several other light fares. Even if beer isn't 100% your thing you'll want to check out this place simply for the coolness factor and patio. If beer isn't your thing, simply keep walking down this alley and you're bound to find something.
  • Redchurch Brewery : This brewery keeps in the theme of East London enjoying archways. Similar to Mother Kelly's they only serve beer, however at Redchurch they sell the beer they brew in house and it's definitely worth trying. They have a range of beers including a well balanced IPA and several sour options (which are my favorites). Make sure to stop here on a Friday/Saturday night to get a pint and jump on the dance floor.
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  •  The Kings Arms : If you enjoy a modern yet cozy atmosphere with beautifully framed butterflies lining the walls, go no further than The Kings Arms. It feels like an updated version of your fathers favorite pub and filled with young people looking to have a good night. Make sure to ask the bartenders about the rotating beer and speciality Gin and Tonic menu! 

 

  • The Sun Tavern : Beer not your thing? Step inside The Sun Tavern to try one of the over two dozen options of whiskey. Not sure what you want? Chat with the experienced bartenders to get some recommendations. But buyer beware: Nice whisky can get expensive fast! This pub is buzzing almost every night of the week so be sure to get there early to get a seat. In addition to strong and affordable drinks, they also offer a variety of traditional English pub snacks. 

 

  • Bethnal Green: Fancy creating your own pub crawl filled with locals and great drinks? The borough of Bethnal Green is packed with pubs and bars all ready to show you a good time. Let yourself wander and explore this lesser known area away from tourists, and tourist prices.

Malls and Markets and Shops, oh my!

 By Payal Budhraja 

By Payal Budhraja 

London is busy and crowded, and we all know that! Bustling with noise and people from all over the world, so many tourists just visit it to shop. It is home to some of the most popular shopping destinations of the world, including Oxford Street and Regent Street. They are undoubtedly one of my favorite high-street places to shop.

Located at the cross-junction of Oxford Circus station, the two streets have leading high-street and department stores. From more expensive shopping at department stores like John Lewis and Selfridges to affordable places like Primark and H&M, you are sure to find what you are looking out for! I always try and pick a lazy weekday afternoon to have more space and less people to browse the store collections.  

There are lots of food stalls to be found in the alleyways along both Oxford Street and Regent Street and you might get to witness some cool street side music performances!

Brands are everywhere and their collections overlap no matter what. However, there’s always the more local, yet equally popular places that are worth a visit!

MY TOP SHOPPING DESTINATIONS

  1. Westfield Stratford City Mall – It is a bit far to get to from Central London. You have take the Overground, Central or Jubilee Line – but it’s got all that you need under one roof. What’s outdoors at Oxford Street is in the warm indoors here and one of my preferred places to go despite a bit of a longer travel!

  2. Covent Garden – Another outdoor area with selected shops, but nonetheless the combination of shops and food makes me want to go there. It’s got the Apple Market to buy local artsy stuff and enjoy the taste of French macarons at Ladurée. I also make it a point to get Amorino’s gelato when I shop around here!

  3. Harrods – A place with all high-end brands under one roof. Even if you do not want to shop there, it is worth a visit in the evening to see it all lit up. If you want to be a bit fancier, try out their high tea at The Georgian! (You probably guessed I have a big sweet tooth) Plus the neighborhood of Knightsbridge has got high street shopping as well in case you change your mind!

  4. Old Spitalfields Market – If you are on a look out for something more local, Spitalfields Market is the place to be! With local arts and independent fashion stalls, you are sure to find something unique for yourself here.

  5. Camden Market – Again more local! If you want something eclectic and vintage, Camden Town is the place to go. There’s numerous local food stalls to try out when you are tired wandering around. What more? They also have a pretty canal to walk around and enjoy the sunshine on a sunny afternoon!

There are lots of neighborhoods in London to visit and even more malls to go to where you are sure to find what you like. Do note, the local markets are often busy on the weekends especially during the summer months.

Exploring London: Beyond the TripAdvisor Recommendations

 By Payal  Budhraja

By Payal Budhraja

I spent my summer interning in London and had the opportunity to explore some more local destinations.

The London Underground connects the whole city and is probably the quickest way to find your way to all these places.

1. Notting Hill Gate

One of the secluded housing areas with vibrant and colourful houses, I spent an afternoon walking in the neighbourhood and visiting the local Portobello Road Market. I started my day by visiting a local brunch place called Eggbreak. As the name suggests, the menu had an extensive choice of eggs prepared in a variety of ways and they are delicious! The market is closed on Sundays (which of course was the day I picked to go) but a sunny summer day is perfect to enjoy the market to shop.  

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2. The Theatre District

Like Broadway in New York City, London’s West End is well known for musicals and if you are a theatre fan, I would definitely recommend catching one. I saw The Phantom of the Opera during my break, but there are many others including Disney’s Lion King and Aladdin. Shows run all week with two shows on weekends.

3. Shoreditch Street Art

Shoreditch, one of London’s popular areas known for its street art, is a must visit if you enjoy looking at creative graffiti and works of art. It has a very hipster-like feel to it. As usual when I visited, I started my day with a local brunch place called Friends of Ours after which I went on my graffiti quest. Just off Brick Lane (below), there are walls of colourful and eccentric graffiti on the streets. I’m not the kind of person who understands the nitty-gritties of art but this experience was still exciting and I was able to witness some amazing creations.

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 4.Brick Lane

Brick Lane is another street which has rows and rows of cafés, local shops and a local market which unlike Notting Hill Gate, is open on Sunday’s. They had a range of food stalls, local coffee places and street artists performing. Enjoying the entertainment and liveliness of the afternoon, I visited Cereal Killer Café (you’ve probably gathered that I enjoy my weekend brunches). As the name suggests, it’s one of the places you can customize your breakfast plate full of cereal and enjoy tempting shakes. Once in awhile, a cheat day is allowed, isn’t it? I loved their wall full of cereal display and little beds to sit and have your own delicious bowl of cereal.

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This is just a snippet of my London exploration over the summer. There is still a lot on my list to visit and experience in this bustling city!