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Walk through Shoreditch with a three piece suit on and you may get a few unsavoury glances. Uttering the word ‘mainstream’ could soon be a punishable crime in this bizarre yet vibrant area.

The late 90s saw the transformation of a once forgotten area into one of the best places to live in London. Along came Damien Hirst, the rebirth of artistic creativity and quirky fashion. Now, it boasts its ever popular BoxPark and alongside this entrepreneurial hub sits the infamous “Silicon Roundabout” – coined after the influx of tech companies into Shoreditch following the dot com boom.

But don’t just take our word for it; here are a few opinions from people who currently live in Shoreditch:

“It is always a live area to be in and there’s always stuff to do late at night, so you won’t get bored.”

“I especially love Brick Lane because that is where the coolest bars are!”

“It’s definitely changed over the last 10 years that I’ve lived here, there’s a lot more going on now and it’s a lot safer.”

“You wouldn’t be able to find independent clothing shops that you do here anywhere else in London.”

Where is Shoreditch?

Shoreditch is only a stone’s throw away from Central London. Liverpool Street and Old Street are the most accessible underground stops and the Overground Shoreditch High Street station will drop you right in the heart of the area, next to BoxPark.

What does Shoreditch offer?

So why is Shoreditch one of East London’s most notable areas?

What makes Shoreditch so appealing for visitors is the ability to stumble upon so many hidden gems. We visited Nobrow, a quaint little bookstore specialising in independent and original print, graphic art, comics and books.

We loved AIDA, a delightful clothing store with its own in house café and make up station. Shoreditch is awash with independent contemporary stores like AIDA, which is what drives the influx of fashionable individuals to work and live in the area.

Watch out for Plenty of Street Art!

What distinguishes Shoreditch area guide from others is the extensive street art. It’s one of the most recognisable attributes about Shoreditch because it’s pretty difficult to walk anywhere in the area without encountering some form of bold, extravagant and most often genius creations.

Some think it devalues the area but there’s no denying that it’s one of main reasons this area has seen a revival with younger generations and also growth of small businesses centred around the art scene.

The art varies from simple murals to long extracts of text, often with defiant messages and a sense of ‘fighting against the man’. This mirrors the whole feel of the area and its distinct difference from the rest of the capital.

Some our favourite includes:

‘The selfie’ by French street artist Zabou on Cremer Street.

‘Smile Idiots’ highlights how picture’s have become quickly devalued as now our feeds are filled up with superficial selfies.

The global artist Stik has graced a pair of vibrant red shutter doors offering a visually striking picture. On Princelet Street, one stick figure wears a burka and holds hands with a stick figure without one. This not only represents the diverse culture of London but also highlights how not only do we live in religious tolerance but we are friends. Stik’s work is now prominent around the city.

Watch out for Gregos’ art on Shoreditch High Street. Gregos is another great urban artist and went back to his first love of street art in his 30s.

Gregos is famous for sculptures that replicate his face with different humour. They appear on the walls and buildings in various sizes with different art work. As you see below his face is covered with colourful stripes, another face in Shoreditch is yellow with red splats of paint and much more with different patterns and colours. Each face is a sort of self-portrait of the day to express his humour, his past, present, and future, everything that makes Gregos.

Our personal favourite was the “death to hipsters” graffiti, which in Shoreditch seems most ironic.

Nightlife in Shoreditch

Shoreditch has become synonymous with contemporary clubs and bars, the nightlife occurs not only over the weekends but throughout the week too. There’s no such thing as a ‘quiet night in’ here!

Wander into the area on a Friday night and you will be greeted by masses of groups who have come straight from work to start the weekend off with a bang. Although known for its ‘urban’ feel, the plethora of options available for a night out in Shoreditch is surprisingly broad.

The Hoxton Pony is an area favourite for the mid-20 crowd, serving up the best of funky house, disco and pop to name a few. If you are, however, after some old-school 90’s tunes and a bit of cheesy nostalgia, Cargo and Zigfrid von Underbelly would be ideal.

Our favourite place in Shoreditch though, has to be the Book Club. Aside from its club nights, it also hosts ping-pong, salsa nights and expert talks throughout the week. So none of its visitors ever leave disappointed.

These were just some of our favourites, but if you are after a fun night out, we would definitely recommend exploring more of the clubs that Shoreditch has to offer!

Wining and Dining in Shoreditch

As you’ve probably guessed, Shoreditch High Street won’t be serving up all of your favourite chains of restaurants – instead you have a selection of locally sourced and niche little stores. These often have very loyal customers and subsequently are marketed mostly through word of mouth.

This part of London has become a diverse cultural hotspot, and with that has come many worldly cuisines. The Aarhus Polser food truck is one of many in the area, and serves up some amazing Danish hotdogs, and service with a smile!

Shoreditch is famous for street food - here are some Danish hotdogs

We also took a trip to Pizza East, right by Shoreditch Overground Station. It has a great atmosphere and even better food; because pizza ALWAYS does the job. Other notable places include: Boho, Hawskmoor and Tsuru.

On the top floor of BoxPark you can find a range of small places to eat. The Athenian is great for authentic gyros with chips inside. Then there’s Falafelicious or the popular CookDaily that serves up scrumptious and imaginative vegetarian and vegan food. CookDaily has gained a popular following from grime artists and grannies alike.

If you’re going with friends and you like something different, BoxPark is perfect for you. There’s a nice heated seating area. There are also a few bars, including the Caribbean themed one (pictured below) which you can always escape to if the London weather isn’t quite up to scratch.

Many of the bars are also great places for casual drinks before the clubbing hours kick in.

Moving to Shoreditch

Considering Shoreditch’s prime location, property in the area is not as dear as one might expect. Many of the area’s residents are in flats, with average rent now a reasonable £551/week.

A studio flat will set you back around £500,000, with average house prices pushing over £1m.

Source: Foxtons

Schools in Shoreditch

The Shoreditch population is primarily under 35 and without children. So there’s limited schooling within the area itself. However, its surrounding areas Hackney and Haggerston are more catered to any families that may be living in Shoreditch. Broadgate Nursery and Noah’s Ark are both well suited for the youngest in the family.

There’s a wide range of primary schooling, most notable Virginia Primary School and St Matthias Church of England Primary School. Secondary schooling in the area has come a long way in the last 8 years, with accomplished schools such as Central Foundation Boys’ School and Hackney University Technical College becoming widely publicised. Nearby universities include the London College of Fashion and the Institute of Marangoni.

Moving to Shoreditch will definitely be a huge shock to the system, no matter who you are. But, if you’re willing to explore your more adventurous side, this is the place to be. Shoreditch is now a fully-fledged London Hotspot, and a vital part of the landscape. So after reading this Shoreditch area guide what do you think, is this the place for you?

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