Here’s a cool thing to do should you find yourself in London with a free afternoon. You can wander through Banglatown (we can call it Shoreditch if you prefer) and look at all the wonderful street art.
I tend to go a lot on a Sunday when it is always really busy and end up missing much of what goes on around me as I become engaged merely pushing myself through the throng of people (there is of course an excellent – but expensive – Sunday market).
It is a rapidly changing area. Always home to immigrants (first Jews and more recently the Bangladeshi community) it is now becoming increasingly gentrified, pushing out the original character and replacing it with… well what exactly? Becoming an extension of the city of London? It’s depressing to think how little of the atmosphere of this area will remain in a few years’ time.
There’s a huge array of curry houses to choose from, should you get peckish whilst taking in all this art. I wouldn’t recommend any one in particular; I’ve been to 6 or 7 over the years and all have been pretty good and reasonably cheap. There’s also two excellent bagel shops at the top of Brick lane, a memory of the Jewish roots of the area.
There are a number of walking tours available or you can just wander around and discover it all for yourself. Get the tube to Shoreditch High Street (Old street, Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green also work). The area around Brick Lane, Hanbury Street and Old Truman Brewery is a good place to start.
Note: it changes all the time; these photos are from earlier this year.