Last Updated on 21 July, 2023
When planning a trip to London, among fun areas to visit in London include East London. We have covered West London, North London, South London, Central London and now we sharing the best things to do in East London? East London is a vibrant and diverse part of the city, offering a wide range of attractions, activities, and tours for visitors to enjoy.
From exploring trendy neighbourhoods to immersing yourself in local culture and history, East London has something for everyone.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at the top areas of East London, highlight the must-visit attractions, and suggest the best tours to make the most of your time in this exciting part of the city.
Notable Neighbourhoods And Areas of East London
When looking for where to stay in London, these places are among some of the most sought-after places for both locals and tourists. When exploring East London, it’s worth visiting the following areas that each offer a unique experience:
Shoreditch is a hub of creativity and innovation, known for its vibrant street art, trendy bars, and eclectic mix of shops. Take a stroll down Brick Lane, which is famous for its markets and international cuisine. Don’t miss the Boxpark Shoreditch, a popular pop-up mall made from repurposed shipping containers, offering a variety of dining and shopping options. You can also find some of the coolest hotels in East London located in Shoreditch.
Dalston is a neighbourhood known for its alternative and bohemian atmosphere. Explore the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, a hidden oasis in the heart of the city, or enjoy live music and entertainment at the iconic venue, Dalston Jazz Club.
Haggerston is a hidden gem with a laid-back and artistic atmosphere. Discover the vibrant street art, visit the contemporary art gallery Haggerston School Gallery, or relax in one of the local cafes.
Limehouse is a historic neighbourhood with a maritime past. Take a walk along the Limehouse Basin and enjoy the views of the canal boats. Don’t miss a visit to the charming Narrow Street, lined with historic pubs and converted warehouses.
Now that we’ve explored the different areas of East London, let’s dive into the top things to do in the area.
Spitalfields is a bustling district known for its vibrant market and amazing restaurants. Explore the eclectic stalls at Spitalfields Market, offering a wide range of clothing, accessories, and unique crafts. Afterward, delve into the area’s history with a visit to the iconic Christ Church Spitalfields.
Hackney Wick is an up-and-coming area with a thriving arts scene. Visit the Stour Space, an art gallery and community hub, or explore the numerous independent art studios and galleries in the area. Hackney Wick is also home to the vibrant Crate Brewery, where you can enjoy delicious craft beer and stunning canal views. Its also offer amazing spots for brunch in Hackney.
Bethnal Green is a neighbourhood rich in history and culture. Discover the Museum of Childhood, which showcases toys and games from different eras, or pay a visit to the iconic E Pellicci café, a traditional family-run establishment serving classic British dishes since 1900. There are also plenty of cool pubs in Bethnal Green to check out.
Wapping is a riverside neighbourhood with a rich maritime history. Take a stroll along the Thames Path and enjoy the scenic views of the river. Visit the historic Prospect of Whitby pub, London’s oldest riverside pub, dating back to 1520.
Stoke Newington is a charming area known for its independent shops, cozy cafes, and leafy parks. Visit Abney Park Cemetery, a beautiful and atmospheric Victorian cemetery that is now a nature reserve.
Walthamstow is a lively neighbourhood with a strong sense of community. Enjoy a walk around Walthamstow Village, a conservation area filled with historic buildings and quaint streets. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the Walthamstow Wetlands, a nature reserve and urban oasis.
Whitechapel is a melting pot of cultures and home to the historic Whitechapel Gallery. Visit the renowned Brick Lane Beigel Bake, a 24-hour bakery famous for its freshly baked bagels, or explore the vibrant Whitechapel Road Market.
Canary Wharf is a bustling business district with impressive skyscrapers and a thriving shopping scene and stunning bars with a view to thrill. Explore the striking architecture and enjoy waterfront dining at one of the many restaurants in the area.
Hoxton is a trendy neighbourhood with a vibrant nightlife and a thriving arts scene. Explore the area’s street art and galleries, or unwind in one of the many trendy bars and clubs.
Stratford gained international recognition as the host of the 2012 Olympic Games. Visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where you can enjoy beautiful parklands, sporting facilities, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an iconic sculpture and observation tower. This is also where you will find Westfield Stratford which is among London’s famous malls.
34 Things to Do in East London
1. Columbia Road Flower Market
Immerse yourself in a riot of colors and scents at the Columbia Road Flower Market. Every Sunday, this vibrant market comes alive with a wide variety of flowers, plants, and gardening accessories. Take a leisurely stroll, admire the beautiful blooms, and perhaps pick up a bouquet or two to brighten up your day. This is among the Sunday markets in London you dont want to miss.
2. Museum of London Docklands
Discover the fascinating history of London’s docks at the Museum of London Docklands. Located in a converted warehouse, this museum tells the story of the city’s river, port, and the people who lived and worked in the area. Explore the exhibits, learn about the dockworkers’ lives, and gain insights into London’s past.
3. Spitalfields City Farm
Escape the urban jungle and getup close and personal with farm animals at Spitalfields City Farm. This charming community farm offers a chance to interact with goats, pigs, sheep, and other animals. Learn about sustainable farming practices, enjoy nature trails, and support the farm’s educational initiatives.
4. ArcelorMittal Orbit
Ascend the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an iconic sculpture and observation tower in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Take the elevator to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline. For the more adventurous, experience the exhilarating slide that spirals around the tower.
5. Broadway Market
Visit Broadway Market, a lively street market offering a diverse range of food stalls, artisanal products, and vintage clothing. Sample delicious international cuisine, browse through unique crafts and artwork, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this popular East London market.
6. V&A Museum Of Childhood
Step back in time at the V&A Museum of Childhood. This unique museum showcases a vast collection of toys, games, and childhood memorabilia from different eras. Explore the exhibits, reminisce about your own childhood, and discover the evolution of play.
7. Brick Lane Markets
We have covered some of the cool markets in East London worth visiting and this is one not to miss. Indulge in a shopping extravaganza at the Brick Lane Markets. This bustling market offers a treasure trove of vintage clothing, antiques, quirky homeware, and unique artworks. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, browse the stalls, and uncover hidden gems.
8. The Viktor Wind Museum Of Curiosities
Step into a world of oddities and curiosities at The Viktor Wind Museum of Curiosities. This quirky museum showcases an eclectic collection of strange and fascinating objects, from taxidermy animals to vintage medical equipment. Get ready to be amazed and intrigued by the peculiar exhibits.
9. Victoria Park
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in the green oasis of Victoria Park. This expansive park offers beautiful landscapes, serene lakes, and lush gardens. Take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a picnic, or rent a boat and explore the park’s waterways.
10. Brick Lane Beigel Bake
No visit to East London’s Brick Lane is complete without trying a bagel from Brick Lane Beigel Bake. This 24-hour bakery is renowned for its freshly baked bagels, delicious fillings, and affordable prices. Join the queue and savor the taste of a true East End classic.
11. IFS Clouds Cable Cars
Experience breathtaking views of East London and beyond from the IFS Clouds Cable Cars. Glide above the cityscape in a cable car and enjoy panoramic vistas of the River Thames, Canary Wharf, and the surrounding areas.
12. Grab a Bite at E Pellicci in Bethnal Green
Treat yourself to a traditional British meal at E Pellicci, a beloved family-run café in Bethnal Green. With its charming retro décor and classic menu, this café has been a local favorite since 1900. Enjoy a hearty breakfast, a comforting plate of pie and mash, or a cup of tea with a slice of homemade cake.
13. Boxpark Shoreditch
Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Boxpark Shoreditch, a unique pop-up mall constructed from repurposed shipping containers. Browse through an array of independent boutiques, enjoy delicious street food from various cuisines, and soak in the lively ambiance of this creative retail space.
14. Dine at Lyle’s on Shoreditch High Street
For a memorable dining experience, head to Lyle’s on Shoreditch High Street. This Michelin-starred restaurant offers a seasonally inspired menu that showcases the best of British ingredients. Indulge in a culinary journey of flavours, textures, and innovative dishes crafted with precision and creativity. For additional inspiration, check our list of cool restaurants in Shoreditch.
15. Denis Severs’ House
Step into a meticulously recreated 18th-century home at Denis Severs’ House. This unique museum offers a sensory journey through time, allowing visitors to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a bygone era. Immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance of this living historical installation.
16. See a Show at Rich Mix
Immerse yourself in East London’s vibrant arts scene by catching a show at Rich Mix. This multi-arts venue hosts an exciting program of performances, including theater, live music, dance, and film screenings. Check their website for the latest events and be sure to book your tickets in advance.
17. Swim at London Fields Lido
Cool off on a hot summer day with a refreshing swim at London Fields Lido. This heated outdoor swimming pool offers a serene setting surrounded by parkland. Take a dip, soak up the sun on the poolside deck, and enjoy a leisurely day by the water.
18. Abney Park Cemetery
Explore the atmospheric surroundings of Abney Park Cemetery, a captivating Victorian cemetery that doubles as a nature reserve. Wander through the winding paths, discover beautifully overgrown graves, and appreciate the tranquility of this unique urban sanctuary.
19. Whitechapel Gallery
Discover contemporary art at the Whitechapel Gallery, a leading institution in the East End’s art scene. The gallery hosts a diverse range of exhibitions, showcasing works by both established and emerging artists. Explore thought-provoking installations, attend engaging talks, and expand your artistic horizons.
20. God’s Own Junkyard
Marvel at the dazzling display of neon lights and vintage signage at God’s Own Junkyard. This neon wonderland is a visual feast for the eyes, featuring a vast collection of neon art pieces and installations. Step into a world of color, nostalgia, and creativity.
21. Walthamstow Wetlands
Escape to the tranquil beauty of Walthamstow Wetlands, Europe’s largest urban wetland reserve. This expansive nature reserve offers a haven for birdwatching, peaceful walks, and picnics amidst serene lakes and reservoirs. Explore the nature trails, spot diverse wildlife, and recharge in the midst of nature.
22. Lee Valley Velopark
If you’re a cycling enthusiast or simply enjoy outdoor activities, head to Lee Valley Velopark. This world-class cycling venue offers a range of facilities, including a velodrome, BMX track, and mountain biking trails. Whether you want to watch a race or get active yourself, this velopark has something for everyone.
23. The Old Truman Brewery
Experience the creative energy of The Old Truman Brewery, a cultural and artistic hub in East London. This former brewery has been transformed into a sprawling complex of independent shops, galleries, markets, and food stalls. Explore the diverse range of offerings, from vintage clothing to contemporary art.
24. Leytonstone Beer Mile
Beer enthusiasts should not miss the Leytonstone Beer Mile, a stretch of breweries and taprooms offering a wide selection of craft beers. Take a leisurely walk along the mile, stop at different breweries, and enjoy tastings of unique and flavorsome brews. Immerse yourself in the local beer scene and discover new favorites.
25. Explore Shoreditch Street Art
Among the many cool things to do in Shoreditch is to check out the street art. You can take a guided or self-guided tour of Shoreditch’s vibrant street art scene. From large-scale murals to hidden gems tucked away in alleyways, the neighbourhood is a canvas for renowned street artists from around the world. Keep an eye out for works by Banksy, ROA, and Stik, among many others.
26. Stratford Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Relive the excitement of the 2012 Olympic Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Explore the park’s beautiful landscaped gardens, cycle along the scenic paths, or try your hand at various sporting activities. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Olympic Stadium and experience the legacy of the games.
27. Blackhorse Beer Mile
Embark on a beer-tasting adventure along the Blackhorse Beer Mile in Walthamstow. This craft beer trail takes you on a journey through multiple breweries, offering the chance to sample a wide range of unique and flavorful brews. Immerse yourself in the local beer culture and enjoy the lively atmosphere of these microbreweries.
28. Explore Canary Wharf
Marvel at the modern architecture and bustling atmosphere of Canary Wharf, London’s financial district. Stroll along the waterfront, admire the impressive skyscrapers, and enjoy shopping at high-end boutiques. With a variety of restaurants, bars, cafes and cultural events, Canary Wharf offers a dynamic and cosmopolitan experience.
29. Trinity Buoy Wharf
Visit Trinity Buoy Wharf, a unique creative space and cultural center located on the banks of the Thames. Explore the vibrant community of artists, designers, and musicians who have made this repurposed industrial site their home. Take a guided tour, attend a workshop, or simply soak in the artistic ambiance.
30. Whitechapel Road Market
Browse the stalls and soak in the lively atmosphere of Whitechapel Road Market. This bustling street market offers a variety of products, from fresh produce to clothing and household goods. Sample delicious street food, hunt for bargains, and experience the vibrant energy of this local market.
31. Spitalfields Market
Indulge in a shopping spree at Spitalfields Market, a historic market that blends tradition with contemporary style. Discover a wide range of stalls selling fashion, accessories, homeware, and artisanal food. Explore the market’s rich history, dating back to the 17th century, and savor the lively atmosphere.
31. Hackney City Farm
Escape the urban landscape and connect with nature at Hackney City Farm. This community-run farm offers a chance to meet farm animals, explore organic gardens, and learn about sustainable farming practices. Join a workshop, volunteer for a day, or simply enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
33. Roof East, Stratford
Enjoy a unique rooftop experience at Roof East in Stratford. This rooftop bar and event space offers stunning views of the city skyline, along with a variety of entertainment options. Play mini-golf, try your hand at curling, or simply relax with a drink while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.
34. Unique Dining Experience at Supperclub.tube
Indulge in a one-of-a-kind dining experience at Supperclub.tube, a pop-up restaurant set inside a decommissioned Victoria Line tube carriage. Enjoy a multi-course meal prepared by talented chefs while being transported through the London Underground’s iconic tunnels. This immersive dining experience combines great food with a touch of nostalgia.
The Best Tours in East London
To make the most of your visit to East London, consider joining one of the following tours:
- Street Art Walking Tour: Explore the vibrant street art scene of Shoreditch and its surrounding areas with a knowledgeable guide. Learn about the artists, their techniques, and the stories behind the artworks.
- Historical East End Walking Tour: Dive into the rich history of the East End on a guided walking tour. Discover the area’s fascinating past, including its role in the industrial revolution and immigration waves.
- River Thames Boat Tour: Embark on a leisurely boat tour along the River Thames, taking in the iconic sights of East London from a different perspective. Enjoy commentary about the history and significance of the landmarks you pass by.
- Food and Market Tour: Indulge in the culinary delights of East London on a food and market tour. Sample a variety of delicious dishes from different cultures, visit local markets, and learn about the area’s vibrant food scene.
- Graffiti Workshop: Channel your inner artist and try your hand at creating your own graffiti artwork during a graffiti workshop. Learn basic techniques from a professional street artist and create a unique piece to take home as a memento.
- Jack the Ripper Tour: Delve into the mysterious and haunting history of Jack the Ripper on a guided tour through the streets of Whitechapel. Follow in the footsteps of the infamous serial killer and learn about the unsolved crimes that shook Victorian London.
These are just a few examples of the many tours available in East London. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, or local culture, there’s a tour that caters to your interests.
FAQs about Things to Do in East London
Q: How do I get to East London from central London? A: East London is well-connected to central London by public transportation. You can take the Underground (Tube), buses, or Overground trains to reach various parts of East London. Plan your journey using the Transport for London website or app.
Q: Is East London safe to visit? A: Like any urban area, East London has its safe and less safe areas. However, the majority of East London is safe for visitors. Use common sense, take precautions, and be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
Q: What is the best time to visit East London? A: East London can be visited year-round, but the summer months (June to August) offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities. Additionally, East London hosts various festivals and events during the summer, making it an exciting time to visit.
Q: Are there any free attractions in East London? A: Yes, there are several free attractions in East London. For example, you can explore the street art in Shoreditch, visit the V&A Museum of Childhood, or take a stroll through Victoria Park without spending a penny.
Q: Can I visit East London with children? A: Absolutely! East London offers many family-friendly attractions, such as the Museum of London Docklands, Victoria Park, and Hackney City Farm. There are also playgrounds and open spaces where children can enjoy outdoor activities.
Q: Can I find vegetarian and vegan food options in East London? A: Yes, East London is known for its diverse culinary scene, which includes a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options. Many restaurants and street food stalls offer plant-based dishes to cater to different dietary preferences.
There you have it! East London is a vibrant and diverse part of the city, offering a wealth of attractions, activities, and tours for visitors to enjoy. From exploring trendy neighbourhoods like Shoreditch and Dalston to immersing yourself in local history at the Museum of London Docklands, there’s something for everyone in East London.
Don’t miss the chance to discover the vibrant street art, savor delicious food from around the world, and soak in the lively atmosphere of this exciting part of the city. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or a food lover, East London has it all.