Brick Lane near Shoreditch is one of London’s most creative areas to visit, so I’ve listed some of the must-see places and things to do, including vintage shops, street art, and markets galore.
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Here are 13 of the most unmissable things to do in Brick Lane.
Brick Lane is one of the top places to visit in East London, and for many centuries, it has been known as an area with a blend of different communities. It’s now best known for its eclectic mix of independent shops, colourful artistic murals, and culture.
Brick Lane activities and attractions range from vintage clothing markets, street art, and some of London’s best curry houses. As a local, visitors often ask me about what to do in Brick Lane, so I’ve gathered all my favourites into this handy guide.
Here are the best things to do in Brick Lane, London. From finding the best Brick Lane curry house and vintage markets to tasting the best chocolates from West Africa this Brick Lane guide has got you covered.
If you’re looking for more on London or planning a trip to the Big Smoke then read my London travel tips.
Top Things To Do Brick Lane
First time visitors to London may be wondering – what is Brick Lane famous for? Brick Lane is known for many things. You will find two sensational beigel shops that divide families and split royalties.
You will also find many curry houses, all claiming to be London’s best. But, there’s so much more to enjoy. Here are some of my top picks.
Brick Lane is home to what is possibly the best chocolate in London, found at Dark Sugars.
These handcrafted chocolates are some of the finest Ghanaian chocolate. The ingredients for Dark Sugars chocolate are carefully sourced by owner Fatou Mendy on her travels.
You’ll find everything from giant slabs of rich West African chocolate to colourful pearls, including a wide range of flavours like liquid sea salt caramel and pistachio. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at Dark Sugars which is topped with endless chocolate shavings, and has a rich, creamy, and smooth texture.
It is one of the most indulgent cups of hot chocolate you’ll ever taste. You’re welcome to enjoy the different flavours of chocolates such as white saffron, Hazelnut Praline, and pitch-black hot chocolate.
The Cocoa House is open every day from 10:00 to 22:00.
Haggle At The Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane Market is a lively artistic hub which attracts young and old Londoners in search of unique clothing, second-hand furniture, fruits and vegetables, and bric-a-brac.
Home to lots of stunning fabrics, antiques, and kitsch collectables, visitors can lay their hands on anything so long as they are willing to put a bit of effort in and look around. The good news is, you can haggle for the best price to get what you want.
Brick Lane Market consists of five different markets known as The Truman Markets which include the Brick Lane Backyard Market, Boiler House, Sunday UpMarket, Brick Lane Tea Rooms, and Vintage Markets.
The market comes alive on Sundays, though the shops and restaurants are open throughout the week. The streets are usually lined with people hawking second-hand wares on Sundays, and there are also street performers to add a touch of spark to the already bustling atmosphere.
Shop For Treasures At The Brick Lane Vintage Market
Brick Lane’s vintage shops are revered by specialists across the UK and even Europe. Many of these shops display their offerings at the Brick Lane Vintage Market.
Whether you are looking to purchase feather capes, glam fur coats, men’s suits, bridal wear, unique accessories, or vinyl records, you are sure to find some exciting discoveries at the market.
The shops at the Brick Lane Vintage Market are open seven days a week and are renowned for their excellent collection of everything vintage.
You can visit from Monday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 18:00 and Sunday 10:00 am – 18:00
Browse the Old Truman Brewery
Once home to London’s largest brewery, Old Truman Brewery is now a hive of creative businesses, markets, restaurants, bars, and independent shops.
In the past 15 years, the Old Truman Bakery has been transforming its 10-acre vacant space into event spaces, retail outlets, leisure hubs, and spectacular offices.
The fine blend of creative businesses and leisure has created a unique environment in London, and a go-to destination spot in Brick Lane for many Londoners.
The brewery space is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. There are many bars, restaurants, and clubs that offer awesome nightlife events. The space is also protected by 24-hour security for your protection.
Explore Backyard Market Brick Lane
Located in the Old Truman Brewery, the Backyard Market is one of the best things to do on Brick Lane street over the weekend.
Featuring over 50 stalls, Backyard Market is home to arts and crafts, artists, and young designers, with a unique community spirit. It is typical to find home-cooked food and one-off events taking place.
The market opens on Saturdays from 11:00 to 18:00 and Sundays from 10:00 to 17:00.
Savour a snack from Beigel Bake
Serving freshly baked filled bagels, this 24-hour source of doughy satisfaction has become the snack shop of choice for clubbers, drinkers, and taxi drivers.
The serving here is focused on traditional Jewish style beigels, with fillings such as chopped herring, mustard with hot salt beef, and salmon with cream cheese. They also serve sweets and pastries such as Eccles cakes, Danish rolls, cheesecake, apple strudel, as well as rye, white and black bread.
Founded in 1974, there are many unique things about this institution. It started as a small family business, with the beigels being made by hand.
Over the years, the shop has become a favourite for anyone in the mood for a beigel – with celebs often being spotted in the store.
Check Out Cereal Killer Café
Cereal Killer Café, UK’s first specialty cereal café, is a hipster-style outlet which sells bowls of sugary breakfast cereals all day. The cafe was initially met with mixed feelings when it opened but has since gained a loyal following.
It’s certainly one of the most interesting Brick Lane things to do and is worth paying a visit. However the founder decided to permanently close both cereal Killer café locations in London.
Appreciate Good Sound At Rough Trade East
Like its sister outlet in W11, Rough Trade East boasts an impressive selection of live performers of pretty much every genre, and even more space and cafés. It also features a purpose-built stage, and gigs take place early in the evening.
More impressively, however, the sound system here is top-notch and a massive improvement on what is unobtainable in other local clubs. With its ample space, visitors have comfy areas to sit down and chat.
The goal here is to bring music fans together in a simple store – it is a great place to visit if you love good music and good vibes.
Peruse The Brick Lane Bookshop
Initially known as Tower Hamlets Arts Projects in Whitechapel and Eastside Books, this small indie bookstore has a stock of local history books as well as the usual non-fiction sections, cards, wrapping paper, and gifts.
Books here also include travel guides, gluten-free cookbooks, and new release fiction.
The Brick Lane Bookshop is home to one of the largest collections of East End history books, making it an absolute must-visit.
If you visit on a Monday or Tuesday, you can join the regular writing group, and a monthly book club is also held where members get a 10% discount on the relevant titles.
Visit The Nomadic Community Garden, Shoreditch
Formerly a wasteland, Shoreditch Nomadic Community Garden has now been transformed into a beautiful blend of urban landscape and nature and is one of the most unique places to hang out in London right now.
The community garden was set up in 2015 to give the locals somewhere to grow vegetables– a social regeneration experiment which seems to have done a lot of good.
The area has been transformed from an unappealing part of Shoreditch into a chilled-out hangout where anyone is welcome with makeshift bars and coffee shops adding a feel of refreshment for any visitor.
Walk The Streets And Discover More Of Brick Lane, London
Brick Lane has so much history, one of the most rewarding things to do here would be to simply explore the many streets. Stop and admire the old houses and buildings, and take in the rich past of the area.
19 Princelet Street is one of East London’s smallest and most beautiful buildings with a fascinating history. Though the building is only open occasionally to the public due to its fragility, waves of people – from Bengalis to Huguenots and Jews to Irish have left traces of their lives here.
The earliest houses on Princelet Street were built in the 1700s, while Number 19, the first home to a Huguenot silk merchant Peter Abraham, was set up in 1719. Princelet Street currently functions as a museum of immigration – a location that best describes the diverse nature of the capital.
Admire The Stunning Brick Lane Street Art
A casual visitor to London looking to find a high-quality selection of street art need not look any further than Brick Lane. It is the hub of street art in the city.
Artists from the UK and all over the world come to Brick Lane to showcase their work, safe in the knowledge that their work will be received by an appreciative audience, and will gain broad appeal.
This is unsurprising because Shoreditch, and Brick Lane, have played a significant role in what is now known as street art in London today.
The Seven Stars Yard is a street in East London, and a must-visit place for every self-respecting street art connoisseur visiting the city.
This is because the street, located at the end of a tiny alley just off Brick Lane, is one of the best places to find street art in London. What’s more, it is ever-evolving.
Following the demolition of buildings in the area, the brickwork left now forms some of the most amazing canvases for any visiting artist to paint onto. It is now a recognised art scene in the East End of London, and if you visit, you’d likely be joined by photographers, art tour guides, and even a few selfie queens.
Take a London street art tour to see some of the best art in Shoreditch and Brick Lane.
Find The Best Curry In Brick Lane (And Perhaps London)
Looking to spice up your trip to the UK’s capital? It’s not news that Londoners love their curries and if you love Asian and Indian cuisine, you’d definitely want to make the trip down to Brick Lane, UK’s curry capital.
If you’re looking for the best curry in Brick Lane, why not try the following curry houses?
City Spice London is located at the heart of Brick Lane. This award-winning curry house offers a mix of Bengali, Mughal, and classic Indian cuisine with tandoori rupchanda, curry leaf chicken, and chana makhani.
Their offerings are so delicious that it has become the go-to curry spot of choice for celebrities, ranging from fashion designers and footballers to TV personalities.
So, whether or not you are interested in celebrity spotting, the most important feature of City Spice is that the offering here is consistently good.
Brick Lane Brasserie is one of the best places to eat in Brick Lane, where a blend of Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine is served, including lamb Ureebisi Gatta, Shatkora chicken, and fish specialties, as well as many traditional curries.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a quick and easy meal during the week, or a three-course meal with friends at the weekend, Brick Lane Brasserie has you covered.
Tayyabs is not precisely on Brick Lane, but it is definitely one of the best curry houses in East London. Tayyabs has been serving traditional Punjabi cuisine since 1972 and is a 10 to 15 minutes walk from Brick Lane.
But it’s worth the walk as you’ll eat one of the most delicious mouthwatering curries in London and there is a beautiful story behind the restaurant’s history.
The naan bread here is amongst the best I’ve had and the lamb chops starters and beef curry are a must here. The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, but you can bring your own drinks.
How To Get To Brick Lane
Whether you’re visiting Brick Lane during a weekend in London, or coming from a bit further out, here’s how best to get to where you want to be.
If you are travelling to Brick Lane by train, Liverpool Street station is only a 12-minute walk away.
If you are travelling by car, the nearest car parks are located at the Sclater Street, White Row, as well as the Truman Brewery (on either Grey Eagle Street or Hanbury Street).
From the West End, you can get to Brick Lane through routes 8, 55, and 242. From East London, you can reach Brick Lane via routes 8, 26, 48, 55, 57, 242, and 388.
From South London, you can reach Brick Lane through routes 35, 47, 48, 78, and 149. From the City of London, you can get there via routes 26, 55, 242, 243, and 388.
If you are travelling to Brick Lane by Tube, Aldgate East and Liverpool Street are the nearest stations, and they are 11-minute and 12-minute walk respectively.
If you are taking the overground route, Shoreditch High Street, which is an 8-minute walk away, is the nearest station.
From a 15th century brick and tile manufacturing centre to a home for the Jewish community and now the Bengali community, Brick Lane has evolved over the years. It’s now become the heart of London’s East End.
Due to the re-gentrification of the East End of London, Brick Lane is now a trendy part of London and a hub for eclectic independent shops and cafes in London. Everything that makes East London an exciting and beautiful place.
Enjoy your visit to the fascinating area, and be sure to take in as much as possible.
To find out more about the beauty and adventure that London holds, you can browse the rest of my top things to do in East London content, beginning here;