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Completely London

Area guide for East London

East London overview

Renewed by innovative development and youthful energy

From the iconic skyline of Canary Wharf to the parks and Victorian terraces of Hackney, East London's landscape tells a tale of rise and regeneration.

Iconic riverside living

Canary Wharf and Isle of Dogs • Shadwell • Wapping

Stretching from historic Wapping to iconic Canary Wharf, this area offers unrivalled opportunities for riverside living on the north bank of the Thames. The history here is intrinsically maritime and much of the available property is in converted riverside warehouses. Boat moorings in St Katharine Docks and Limehouse Basin, as well as the marinas in and around Poplar, mean that London life on the water is still a possibility, and Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre is a great place for watersports enthusiasts. This area suffered post war, but was injected with life in the 1980s when a group of artists formed The Wapping Project in an old hydraulic power station. Now closed, in its place an exciting residential development is planned. Similarly, News International's former print works is due for redevelopment, creating 1,800 new homes and a school. In the past decade the derelict ex industrial docks that once stood at Canary Wharf have become one of the Capital’s most desirable neighbourhoods, rivalling the City of London as the Capital’s global financial centre. Its central location, riverside views and excellent restaurants and amenities mean new blocks of high end apartments and riverside developments are popping up throughout the area. With Crossrail set to arrive in 2018, the potential for further growth is expected. Local attractions include Billingsgate Fish Market, and the Museum of London Docklands at Sugar Wharf. 

The East End

Bethnal Green • Bow • Mile End • Shoreditch • Stepney Green • Whitechapel

These neighbourhoods are the beating heart of London's historic East End. Traditionally those born within the sound of Bow Bells were considered Cockneys, and you'll find cash machines along Hackney Road offering the local lingo as an option. Since the only major hospital in the area is the revered Royal London Hospital on Whitechapel Road, these days few residents are born within the catchment of the church, and the cash machines are a novelty for tourists visiting local sights like the Columbia Road flower market. But that doesn’t mean the area has lost its charm. Old school cafes like the Grade II listed E Pellicci on Bethnal Green Road, which has been in the same family since 1900, and proper pubs like the Horn of Plenty in Stepney Green, are the flavour of the day. Meanwhile Wilton’s Music Hall, near Whitechapel, the oldest such venue in the country, has had a recent revival and is now run as an arts space. Despite being badly damaged in the war, there are still plenty of Victorian terraces here, the most desirable of which are around Bethnal Green close to Victoria Park. There are also fine examples of Georgian houses around Tredegar Square in nearby Mile End, and plenty of warehouse conversions reflecting the area's industrial heritage, mostly in textile production. Indeed, this part of the Capital remains a creative stronghold and fashion centre. A lively mix of immigrants, young City professionals and those in the arts gives the area vibrancy and diversity – and some excellent culinary options. Meanwhile, the community spirit that the East End is famed for endures. Those living in Shoreditch can boast a ten minute walk south into the City for work and some say it represents the best of inner city living.

Revitalised urban neighbourhoods

Clapton • Dalston • Hackney • Homerton • Leyton • Leytonstone • Stratford • Walthamstow

Of all East London’s neighbourhoods, nowhere has been injected with new life quite like the borough of Hackney. While hipsters spill up Kingsland Road into Dalston, other parts of the borough feel more grown up and there are several village like neighbourhoods within walking distance of Hackney Central station. Straddling Homerton and Clapton, Chatsworth Road is one such neighbourhood, while Victoria Park Village and Broadway Market also have friendly local high streets and strong communities made up of young professionals, those working in the arts and media, and a healthy proportion of born and raised residents. The extension and development of the Overground network has meant vastly improved transport links all over East London, and it's now possible to get from Hackney Central to Oxford Street in 20 minutes. Meanwhile the Hackney Learning Trust is a shining example of what due care and attention can do for education. The borough is rated as the greenest in London, with more parks and open space than anywhere else: Victoria Park and London Fields, where there’s a revamped 1930s lido, are two of the most popular. Although a community of committed locals has been hard at work for a decade or more, the 2012 Olympics was a major catalyst, also positively affecting Stratford and Walthamstow. The arrival of Westfield shopping centre, and the conversion of the Olympic Park into the East Village residential centre, has transformed Stratford's prospects. With prices soaring in East London, Forest Gate, Leyton and Leytonstone are key areas to watch to experience a similar revival.

 

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