‘I’ve lived in East London for a year and think it’s far superior to every other part of the city’ – Ben Kempton

East London is the best part of the city. Why? Let me tell you.

Before I get into it, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Here we go, another person in their early twenties who’s moved to East London that thinks the world revolves around it’.

I’ve been to other parts of the city, and come to realise nowhere else in London compares.

Particularly when the most exciting thing to do in West is to visit a motor museum, and the less said about South of the river the better.

So here it is: my hot take on why East is best.

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Unlike any other parts of the city, East has its own food trademark. Pie ‘n’ mash and jellied eels are a staple of this part of the city and intertwined in its DNA.

A trip to F.Cooke in Hoxton will give you an insight into the history of the area.

And any Londoner would agree that Brick Lane is the best place for a curry, because, well, it just is. I’ve been working my way through them all and even tried the spiciest curry in London from Alladdins.

While on the topic of Brick Lane, how about a salt beef beigel from Beigel Bake? The queues around the block tell you all you need to know about how good they are.

There are hidden-gems like Tony Soprano-style cold cuts sandwiches at Dom’s Subs to the pocket falafel pittas from Netil Market.

And if you love Italian food, then Eataly, the swanky new two-storey John Lewis-sized Italian food megastore, is going to make you feel like Charlie Bucket going into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

For a proper greasy spoon experience there’s E.Pellici where you’ll have one of the best fry ups in town, although Regency Cafe in South West is certainly a close contender.

In terms of boozers, you’re spoilt for choice. A personal favourite of mine is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, but there’s also The Marksman in Hoxton, and the distinctively traditional Dirty Dicks in Shoredtich. I must confess, West isn’t short of a good few locals either.

Parks and the canal

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Regents Canal

Being surrounded by constant traffic and towering blocks of flats and offices can be somewhat claustrophobic. There’s no better remedy than finding a patch of green for some respite.

On Sundays, Victoria Park hosts a weekly food festival where there are rows of street food vendors. Paddle boating in the lake or going for a jog around the park provides blissful escapism. It also hosts one of the best festivals in the country, All Points East.

Going for a dip in London Fields lido then treating yourself to a drink at the Pub on the Park or a stroll through Broadway Market is a fine way to spend a summer’s day.

Epping Forest also provides the chance to venture further afield and feels like being transported out of the city entirely.

For the more sporty types, you can go for a kickabout at one of Hackney Marshes’ billions of football pitches, or feel inspired by a walk around the pristine Olympic Park.

My favourite part of the whole city is the picturesque Regents Canal, which you can easily spend hours of your day mooching down stopping off at cafes or pubs along the way.

Shopping and markets

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Spitalfields Market

I’m not much of a fashionista, so I’m not the best person to talk about shopping, but all you have to do is look around in East London to see how well everyone is dressed.

That’s because East provides some of the best shops in the city.

There’s all the boutiques in the back alleys of Shoredtich, quirky Brick Lane vintage shops and independent businesses at Spitalfields Market.

Ridley Road Market is a melting pot of different cultures all together on one street, selling incredible exotic foods from around the world.

Columbia Flower market for plants shopping – people in East really love their indoor plants I’ve come to notice!

High-end fashion outlets in Hackney, like Burberry. As well as a massive Nike store.

For more mainstream shopping there’s Westfields in Stratford.


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South London may have trams but it also has a total of about ten Underground stops.

That is of course an exaggeration, but when I have had the misfortune of visiting friends in South, I have found getting around to be a complete nightmare.

In East, we have frequent buses going pretty much everywhere, the Overground and the best of them all, the DLR.

There are also Santander bikes pretty much everywhere – apart from around the Hackney Marsh area.

East is best

I quickly came to realise that community is core here, and that feels unique to this part of London.

I’ve only been here a year so this isn’t a comprehensive guide, but I can say in my short time here I have fallen in love with East and could never imagine living anywhere else in the city.

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