I wanted to check out the more unique things to do in Shoreditch, just for fun.
I’ve literally got everything I could ever want – well except for holidays, a car and a new bike, but £££ – so for our birthdays this year my boyfriend and I decided to have a weekend in London. Rather than look at all the usual touristy things in London, we decided to stay in Shoreditch.
I used to live in the Big Smoke, but that’s FIVE years ago now, so I’m outta touch. I had to do some research into what to do in Shoreditch.
We went to London from Saturday afternoon to Monday evening, to really make the most of our day off. He bought me a trip round Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (in Bankside), and awesome tickets to Mamma Mia for the Monday (in Central London), so we wanted to find fun things to do in Shoreditch for the weekend.
I found a chicken wing tour, crazy golf under neon, so many food markets, and, with a little tube adventure, some virtual reality gaming. I also spent a good amount time when I lived in London, just chilling in Shoreditch bars. When it comes to what to do in Shoreditch, I could write a book, or a blog post…
Things to Do in Shoreditch
Where to stay in Shoreditch
The East London Hotel
Drop your bags off at the East London Hotel for your Shoreditch weekend. Check in isn’t until 3pm but you can check out the cool vibe, and it’s in such a great location for the other things to do Shoreditch, it’s no drama to pop in to leave you feeling freer for the weekend.
The nearest tube is Bethnal Green and you can walk the mile to Brick Lane, or take the bus.
The East London Hotel is one of those pod hotels, where you have everything you need in a cosy space.
As for sleeping I thought it was great. We were warm and cosy in the room, yet had control over the heating and cooling too. We had a view over the park and the V&A Children’s Museum and we had a great shower, a huge TV and enough space for all our stuff.
We had breakfast included with the booking. We got to choose some sort of bread (bagel all the way) and then how to stack it, along with a hot drink and a cold one too. The best of my two breakfasts was the bacon, cream cheese and avocado bagel, with strawberry yogurt on the side. Phwooooar, it was lush.
There was a really nice space downstairs to work (forever looking for laptop space). If you’re using laptops in public spaces like this it makes sense to use a VPN to keep your information safe. You never know who’s lurking.
I just want to give a shout out to the lovely staff at the East London Hotel too.
Click to check the latest prices for the East London Hotel on Booking.com.
Ok, let’s get to the best things to do in Shoreditch, shall we?
1. Junkyard Golf on Brick Lane
Nestled down by the Truman Brewery, by Cafe 1001 (used to be one of my fave bars, check it out) you’ll find London’s Junkyard Golf. Basically, it’s crazy golf, but inside and in a kind of urban, edgy, grafitti, neon-style Shoreditch. There’s a bar with food and drink, and you can drink on the way round. They didn’t have this when I lived in London, definitely one of the more unique things to do in Shoreditch.
There are different courses, but we did the Bruce, which also had a bar on the way round, although sadly no one was manning it. Probably for the best.
You might get round it quite quickly if there’s just the two of you. Lucky for us we had six friends come and join us so it actually took us ages. In fact, we might’ve caused a bit of a backlog. Ah well.
Expect to spend around an hour here and it costs £12.50 for one round.
Check out some of the Famous Streets in London on gringajourneys.com
2. Brick Lane Food Market
After Junkyard Golf we actually ate at DF Mexican round the corner, just because there were so many of us. I really liked the food, but then, I’m a big fan of Mexican, so figures. They also had a great soft drink section. I know, random. The soft drinks were bottomless and so you could try them all – from lime, to horchata, to hibiscus.
If it’s just the two of you I’d recommend you go to the food market on Hanbury Street though, just a bit further down. There’s food from all over the world. We went on the Sunday and I was finding it difficult to choose between Argentinian Arepas, Taiwanese bao buns and Nepalese momos. That’s the kind of variety you can look forward to.
I’m not sure why with all that food the only thing I took a picture of was a salted caramel slice, but here you go.
You’re looking at around £6 for a meals at the Brick Lane food market. But, you could spend a lot more if you wanted to really go for it.
3. Check out the pubs in Shoreditch
Obviously, being the cool weekend area that it is, there are many, many places to drink in Shoreditch. From back street dives to super-trendy-prices-to-make-you-cry kinda places. Walk around and you’ll see them all.
We spent the Saturday afternoon at the Ten Bells pub on Commercial Street. It’s right near everything I’ve just listed, feels like a proper boozer, and has a rich history thanks to the links with Jack the Ripper. If it’s too busy in there, go to the The Golden Heart on the corner. I spent many a good night, and few pounds, in there when I was at journalism college.
The Golden Heart shows sports too, if that’s of interest. Being England, and London, the pubs are one of the best things to do in Shoreditch.
4. Late night partying
I mean, you could go out – there are plenty of options in Shoreditch. Or, you could go back to your hotel and think about what a good day you’ve had while relaxing in your room. Ar yeaahhh, getting old is so chill.
We went back to the East London Hotel after a day with our friends and just enjoyed having somewhere warm and cosy to stay.
I can strongly recommend All Star Lanes, if you want some bowling or karaoke. It’s just on Brick Lane but make sure you book in before. And then, if you do want to party, Brick Lane is full of bars. Shoreditch nightlife is well known, as Old Street is nearby and there’s loads round there. Unfortunately I knew this was waiting for me at home so I ditched Shoreditch at night and went home for this.
It was a hectic day, with plenty of drink stops in between what I’ve listed above, so we decided to go back to our hotel and watch a film on the massive TV. We had a bottle of Champagne, some strawberries, some Rolos.
Maybe you’ll be more adventurous and explore Shoreditch’s nightlife? Let me know how that goes.
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Sunday funday in Shoreditch
After eating your delicious breakfast in the hotel, and having the essential Sunday lie in, it’s time to go and explore some more fun things to do in Shoreditch to try.
5. Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane Food Market will be in full swing, and is only a mile’s walk from the hotel. Get your free Nespresso coffee from your room and take the walk along Bethnal Green Road. You’ll see the sari shops turn into hipster coffee shops and then you know you’re nearly there.
This is a different market to the one on Hanbury Street by the way, but the same premise.
The market will have many fragrances and flavours to delight your senses, but I’d recommend holding off. It’s such a busy street on a Sunday that you won’t have anywhere to stand and enjoy your food. Just breathe it all in.
You’ll see a vintage market and a design market as you walk – go and check them out.
6. Old Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields is an upmarket, super expensive market where I just don’t understand who buys the wares for those prices, but check it out, see what you think. You can also get a drink here, and there’s food too, but save some space, you’ll need it for the next activity.
Shoreditch shopping is second to none. Anyone looking for a cool place to do some vintage shopping will love it here, but you’re going to need a healthy pocket of cash!
7. Chicken Wing Crawl round Shoreditch
You like chicken wings? Me too. It’s quite a new revolution for me – ever since I had them in Banff last year, in Canada. And now I’m a little obsessed.
So when I saw the Ultimate East London Chicken Wing Crawl, from Koala, I booked us straight on.
We met near Brick Lane, near the Truman Brewery, and went to a nearby chicken wing truck to chat with Flo, our tour leader, and bond with the rest of the group. She had a few beers for us and ordered the wings in.
I’m not going to say where we went as it kinda ruins the point, but we tried the wings at three different places all within walking distance of Brick Lane. We ate them on a picnic bench, in a shop and in a bus. It was classier than it sounds. I think I ate about 20, and there was still more if I wanted.
The tour took around two hours and it was a great way to learn more about this area of London, with some fellow chicken wing aficionados. I featured this on my Instagram Stories and I love how crazy everyone went for it. It was fun trying chicken wings from so many places in quite a short timescale – meant I could really compare and contrast.
The tour was £29, and you can check it out here: Ultimate East London Chicken Wing Crawl.
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Fun things to do in Shoreditch
I loved checking out some of the more unique things to do in Shoreditch, and of course, spending some time in Central too. Hope this post helps you with your planning. Just let me know if you have any questions below!
6 more unique things to do in Shoreditch
8. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium – one of those cat cafes.
9. Hackney City Farm – free entry to see the farmyard animals.
10. Check out the street art – Brick Lane is one of the most vibrant areas of London, thanks to the street art.
11. Visit Box Park – a mini shopping centre made from huge containers allowing new brands and creatives to display and sell their wares.
12. Go to the Electric Cinema – an olde style cinema to remind you of the way it used to be.
13. Visit Beigel Bake – THE best salt beef bagels in the world, ever. IMHO. I had two in one sitting once and it was a glorious night I hope to remember forever. I was thinking the other day which food I’ve missed most while the country shut down, and surprised myself by realising that this was actually it.
Check out this video by Insider on Beigel Bake in Shoreditch
14. Eat at Dinerama Shoreditch Yard
Dinerama Shoreditch Yard is a food and drinks market from London’s leading street food market company, Street Feast. Visit Dinerama and you can indulge in everything from steamed dumplings to nitrogen ice cream. It’s one of the best things to do in Shoreditch on a weekend.
15. Breakfast at the Cereal Killer Cafe
Wanna pay a small fortune for a bowl of cereal? Then head to the Cereal Killer Cafe, one of London’s most controversial breakfast spots. You can try any of 120 breakfast cereals here – vegan, full of E numbers, whatever you choose!
16. Go to Columbia Road Flower Market
This is the iconic East End Flower Market, loved by Londoners all over. Amazingly in 7 years of living in London, I never actually made it here.
Visit on a weekend though and you’ll see all the hipsters carrying their succulent swag back to their homes. It gets really busy here but it’s one of the top things to do in Shoreditch, so it’s totally worth it.
17. Have a game of pingpong at Bounce
Ping pong is a thing in Shoreditch. At Bounce you can enjoy a game and a drink at the same time – also, brunches on Sundays. You could also go to the Book Club, they have the same kinda vibe. Loved it there.
18. Last Days of Shoreditch
Once upon a time it was a street food market, but now, Last Days of Shoreditch has grown into a multi-purpose arts, music and recreation space. There’s an Enchanted Garden area where you’ll find a tropical beach area, swinging hammock beds and even a treehouse. Check the calendar for the summer months, as you might find something a little bit extra going on.
There are loads of cool places in Shoreditch to see.
19. Hit up the museums and galleries
I mean, this is London. Of course one of the best things to do in Shoreditch is to explore the museums and galleries. The Geffrye Museum is free, so go see how our homes have changed over the last 400 years. You can also peruse the Brick Lane Gallery or Victoria Miro’s gallery to get that culture hit.
My two-night stay at the East London Hotel was complimentary, in return for a my thoughts on my blog. I thought it was a great hotel and would absolutely pay to stay there again. Prices start from £84 per night.