Kicking off with a new series you can expect across my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram today! I’ll be sharing guides of my favourite areas in London, letting you in on my favourite pubs, restaurants, activities and hidden gems across each location!
I’ve decided to start with Bethnal Green, one of my fav spots in London. I lived in BG back in 2014/15 and just FYI, paid £1200 a month rent (not including bills/council tax) for a 1 bed flat. With such great transport links, being situated on both the central line and overground, I imagine the cost of living has shot up since then, but I really recommend the area to live in!
If you want to add my favourite places onto your google maps, follow my list here: https://goo.gl/maps/6PgE27CNUb1sv2SE6
Food / Cafes
My first recommendation is a minute’s walk from Bethnal Green Station, but I really recommend a stroll down Paradise Row. Underneath the rail arches you’ll find a selection of great restaurants and bars from Mother Kellys – a new York inspired tap room + bottle shop with 3 craft beers on tap, to Sager + Wild; a rustic restaurant serving up European cuisine with seasonal, local produce. Further down you can find London Cocktail Club, a Venuzelain restaurant and also a Japanese Canteen. Each arch has an accompanying terrace so in warmer weather you can sit outside, drink and dine and it’s just wonderful!
A dog friendly, vegan hub in Bethnal Green featuring hammocks, bean bags with occasional live music! The whole menu is vegan and sounds mouth-wateringly delicious. From Biff’s wings, Beyond Meat Burgers and No-sin duck Pancakes, the menu is fab and I can’t wait to try it out after having heard loads about it!
Hackney Coffee Company
One of my favourite coffee shops, mainly for the decor but also for the great tasting coffee and pastries! The first time I stumbled into this place I thought I’d hit the cafe jackpot. It’s just beautiful, cosy, quiet and the perfect place to hunker down with friends to catch up on goss!
The Common E2
This was my favourite cafe to work from after pottery classes (see activity/hobbies section for more details on this!), as it’s an independent store and the food is delicious (think home-cooked, hearty meals and salads). Again, I’m a sucker for brick walls and plants so this satisfies my interior decor itch!
Second Shot Coffee
An innovative coffee store all of us should get behind. Located a few steps from BG tube station, Second Shot is a coffee social that trains, employs and supports people affected by homelessness. They also operate a ‘pay it forward’ system where customers can pre-pay for another coffee so that someone from the street can receive something to eat or drink free of charge.
S.R.Kelly Pie and Mash
If you’ve never tried a traditional East End Pie and Mash, you’re missing out! I grew up on pie, mash and liquor and I recommend the last remaining pie shop in Bethnal Green to get your fix! I also recommend drowning the meal in vinegar and trying the liquor – even though it looks un-appetising, it’s the perfect accompanyment! I purchased 1 pie, 1 mash and a small liquor for £4.80 and devoured it for lunch – bargain!
Brick Lane Bagels
Another East-end food you MUST experience – a salt beef, pickle and mustard bagel. There are two competing bagel shops, two doors away from eachother in Brick Lane, both serving up this delight of a meal for around £6. You can’t visit Brick Lane without trying these bagels, they’re unreal!
I couldn’t write a Bethnal Green guide without including E Pellici’s – an East End cafe with a cult following and a long history! Opened in the 1900’s, E.Pellicci’s is an Art Deco cafe serving up your standard British fry up breakfast (complete with fried bread, hash browns, beans etc!) and also pasta dishes! The Kray Twins were regular customers here in the 1950’s, coming here most mornings for breakfast. The cafe is still family run and is a popular spot for all ages!
Tas Firin – Not the fanciest restaurant, but one of my fav Turkish restaurants in London! Delicious lamachun that I couldn’t miss out of this blog post!
The Sun Tavern is one of my favourite bars in London. It’s dark, intimate and the decor is my dream living room with brick walls, leather bar stools and a great selection of wine, cocktails and whisky. Word of warning though – there are no mirrors in the loo’s! So if you’re on a date, take a pocket mirror with you to check up on your hippie!
The Star of Bethnal Green
A fab pub with great food with changing kitchen residencies, live music, a karaoke room, board games and the weekly pub quiz every Tuesday night. I love ‘the star’ pub franchise (there’s also the Star of Kings in Kings Cross and Heathcote and Star in Leytonstone; both also fab).
The Conservatory Archives
The plant shop of dreams nestled into a greenhouse type shop along Hackney Road. It is so beautiful in this store and filled to the utter brim with greenery. You can also pick up plant pots here and the staff are lovely and super knowledgable about all things green, so I recommend having a browse, picking up a plant or two and learning from the best!
The Brick Lane Bookshop
Established in 1978, I really recommend Brick Lane Bookshop, an independent bookshop in the East End, to have a browse at some of the latest publications. It’s a small shop but they have a great selection of books and they also have an area dedicated to East London which I love browsing through!
Brick Lane has a selection of vintage and second hand clothing stores that I recommend taking a look in if, like me, you’re trying to minimise fast fashion shopping. These stores include Rocket, Brick Lane Vintage, and also there are lots of small businesses available to browse in the Truman Brewey Market, Backyard Market and obviously Brick Lane Market. I also recommend Flashback Records if you’re after new or second hand vinyl!
I think Four Store is a new addition to Bethnal Green Road – it’s a beautiful store that specialise in artisan products inspired by life and nature. You can expect to find a huge and varied selection of terrariums and self grow hydroponic herb kits to aromas and light products. They’re also starting terrarium workshops in the store which I think would make the loveliest gift!
I wanted to share some of my favourite roads for decor, photography and interior design inspo too! Firstly, hidden away on Winkley Street are some of the cutest houses, with pots of greenery surrounding them. Wimpole street features a row of townhouses with Chelsea vibes – think white pillars and iron gates.
If you’re after somewhere to stay, I only have one recommendation which is Mama Shelter. Situated on Hackney Road, G and I stayed here to celebrate our 3 year anniversary and it was lovely – the decor is gorgeous, fun, bright and the rooms are small but perfectly kitted out with great innovative use of space (think safes doubling up as bedside tables corner sofa booths with tables so you can order room service and never have to leave your room)! Except, if you did want to venture to the restaurant, the cocktails are great, the food is nice (I recommend the lobster croquettes) and there’s also a karaoke room downstairs too – oh, and free naughty movies on the TV in each room for guests!!
Activites / Hobbies
Crown Works Pottery – I can’t recommend Crown Works Pottery enough if you’re looking for a pottery studio in East London. I went to a 6 week pottery throwing + glazing course in 2020 before lockdown and loved every minute of it! The teachers are fab (I had Claire teaching me) and I now have the most beautiful pots I made at home.
Exotica Pole – If you want to build your strength or increase confidence, I LOVE pole dancing! Exotica run the best pole classes I’ve found in London – their instructors are great and you learn a number of moves and tricks in each class. I went to a series of beginner classes and can’t wait to go back for more.
EyeCulture – Finally, if you’re into film photography, I love Eye Culture for getting your film processed and developed. It’s a small business, they’re so helpful and it’s much more affordable than the Snappy Snaps further down the road. I got 3 rolls of film and a disposable developed and scanned to me for £14 and I can also pick up my negatives incase I want to print any too! Support these guys!!
I hope this guide has been helpful! I’d love to know if you enjoyed it and if you have any suggestions you’d like next in this series! Lots of love, Katie x