I had the pleasure of taking two guided tours this weekend. The first was around Angel, a built-up transit hub about 30 minutes walk from work. Close to the city, vibrant, and not really sketchy at all. Definately on the shortlist.
More interesting was Saturday, where I had a guided tour of London’s east end. The east end has been historically poor/sketchy, though parts have been gentrified over the last 8-10 years. It’s adjacent to the financial district and about as cheap as London proper living can get. And, on a warm Sunday afternoon it was absolutely hopping!
We first hit Spitalfields Market/Brick Lane, which was basically a continuous area of street vendors, covered market, music, and food. Like St. Lawrence + Kensington to the tenth power. Plus Queen West and Little Italy. Awesome.
Famous east end record store – can you name it?
Americana bowling alley inside a brewery (this didn’t make any sense and I don’t know why it exists.)
Karroom / Carrom game on Brick Lane
The east end has been ground zero for groups of new immigrants for generation, and now Brick Lane is arguably the centre point for London’s Bengali community. I was expecting an entire street of Curry shops, but it’s more mixed than anticipated, and the street seems to be gentrifying north-to-south, and the top half looked more like Toronto’s Kensington than Little India.
Further east towards the Bethnal Green tube station, there are more residential sites, but generally the east is a mix of bohemian, run-down, and in between.
Can I live here? No idea, have to visit it at another time of the day and week.
Day was capped off on a patio consuming cheap Czech lager.
To my gracious hosts/tour guides: thank you.