London: Local Take with Drive on the Left

Drew and Julie, two American expats living in London, are the dynamic couple behind the blog Drive on the Left.  Spending all their free time exploring the city they now call home, often accompanied by their adorable beagle Basil, their blog posts are full of stories of travel, food and life in the U.K. Here is their ideal way to spend the day in London’s hot East End:  London is a huge city, and one that could be explored over the course of years. We’ve lived here for two years, and still have a long list of must-visit places that we chip away at slowly. However, with a lot of stamina and coffee, it is definitely possible to get a feel for the city quickly. Here’s how we would suggest you explore London’s East End, in a single, crazy day!

Tripper Tips:

For another fun day exploring London, check out Julie and Drew’s post on Exmouth Market home to one of Daytripper’s favorite restaurants Moro. Not traveling to London anytime soon you can recreate Moro’s delicious recipes at home using one of their excellent cookbooks: Moro: The Cookbook, Moro East, Casa Moro and Morito. To see a sampling of recipes selected by beloved British chef Nigel Slater click here.

Want to stay in the East End? Good hotel options include the Ace Shoreditch, The Boundary and the Hoxton with two locations in Shoreditch and Holborn.

Transportation: While London is huge, each area is relatively compact. In a single day, you can easily get around East London just by walking. However, there is an extensive Tube system and bus system if your feet get tired. Download the Citymapper App on your phone before you arrive for the best directions known to man. We can’t live without it!

Morning: Our perfect weekend morning involves a trip to the Columbia Road Flower Market (especially off-seasons when the crowds subside). We take loads of photos of the displays and merchants, and then head to our favorite weekend food market, Broadway Market. We can spend an hour or two here easily, sampling all of the food and treats. We also like to duck into the several local bookshops that line the street. End your morning with your first pint of beer of the day, at the Cat & Mutton, conveniently located about halfway down Broadway Market.

Afternoon: One of the best parts about London’s eastern neighborhoods is the amazing abundance of street art. The difference between street art and graffiti, by the way, is if there are words (graffiti) or not (street art). Take one of several great walking tours of Shoreditch, the centre of street art action. You’ll get to see at least one Banksy, along with many other renowned local artists’ work. Once the tour is done, take a break at the Boxpark in Shoreditch for a snack at one of the food stalls, or another pint of beer. 

Evening: East London is known as an up and coming food scene. In our opinions, it’s already arrived, and some of our favorite eateries are here. Try Andina for great Peruvian food, Pizza East for seriously good pizza or for a splurge, our dearest spots are the Clove Club and Lyle’s. When the weather is warm in London, locals take to the streets. The sun sets late, the weather is comfortable, so everything that can be done outside, is. One of the best things to do is to see a movie outdoors, at one of many pop-up locations. The 2015 schedule is available here, but just do a little online search to find out what’s playing.

Night Cap: The East End is young and hip and full of off-the-wall cocktail bars. See what the fuss is all about at Ninetyeight, Little Nan’s Cocktail Den, The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch, or White Lyan. 

Related Destinations