London is home to a wealth of beautiful regions, streets and districts that have a life of their own. Whether it be west or north, London is truly a city of villages, each area adding its own distinct character to a collage of London. One such area is the beautiful Shoreditch district of the East End. Comprising ancient and modern architecture and a wealth of cultures, guests of the Montcalm Hotel Chiswell Street needn’t travel far to sink their teeth into the vibrant district of Spitalfields.
The area of Shoreditch is known for many things – fashion, music, nightlife, theatre and food amongst much more. But no street has as much of a personality and embodies so many aspects of London as Brick Lane does. Knowing where to start when you’re visiting a street as iconic as Brick Lane is difficult, and whilst nearby Montcalm luxury hotels will no doubt explore this strete, there are plenty of reasons that those based a little further away may want to visit.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing alternative to the Montcalm afternoon tea or you’re wanting to find a night out to remember (or forget!), the possibilities on East London’s most famous street are near endless. This blog will explore some of the most popular attractions, activities and shops on this buzzing street.
History Of Brick Lane
Formerly known as Whitechapel Lane, Brick Lane has a history that dates back to the 15th century when it was used as a tile and brick manufacturing area, from which the present day name derives from. Brick Lane became a hub for beer brewing in the 17th century, before seeing an influx of immigrants, notably French Huguenot exiles who took up silk weaving in the Spitalfields area around the same time.
With 19th century immigration of Ashkenazi Jews and Irish settlers into the area, Brick Lane became a thriving and busy social hub and industrial heartland during the Victorian era. After becoming a slum in the late 19th and early 20th century, the area saw regeneration after the war as well as immigration from Bangladesh, thus cementing its history as a major hub of multicultural London.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Shoreditch and Brick Lane have seen major redevelopment as it’s become a popular nightlife, fashion and cultural spot. The area’s history has made it popular among tourists and locals alike, many people embracing and learning about the culture through the shops, bars, events and entertainment now prevalent on the street.
Getting To Brick Lane
At three quarters of a mile long, Brick Lane is easily walkable. It’s also easy to reach from two major stations, both of which can be travelled to from the Montcalm spa in West London . Liverpool Street Station is about a fifteen minute walk from Brick Lane, which serves the Circle, District, Central, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines.
Brick Lane is also just a five minute walk from the Shoreditch High Street Overground Station which can be travelled to via many stations in east, southeast and northwest Overground stations.
Curry Houses Of Brick Lane
Brick Lane is home to a range of famous curry houses that have served the Shoreditch community of tourists, commuters and partygoers for years. The likes of the Famous Curry Bazaar, Aladdin’s Cave and Bengal Village all have their own spin on proceedings, but were all brought to the boil from the same East London tradition of British Asian culture.
Brick Lane is famous for having two beigel shops situated just one building apart. Beigel Shop and Beigel Bake derive from the same jewish heritage and it’s a common conversation piece amongst Londoners debating which is their favourite and why. These two shops offer great value beigels that come with a wealth of different fillings, adding yet another gut busting bucket list addition for the first time Brick Lane tourist.
Street Art Of Brick Lane
Brick Lane is well known for its bursts of colour, not just from shop fronts and markets, but from the street art all along its walls and buildings. Many international graffiti and street artists flock to Brick Lane to add to the collage, whilst locals keep it fresh with artworks and prints changing every month.
Music On Brick Lane
Brick Lane and the Shoreditch area have long been associated with music. Offerings on the street come from the likes of 93 Feet East’s beer garden, which regularly hosts Dj sets and live music. Rough Trade East, however, takes the biscuit for music lovers. This record store is the outlet for the Rough Trade Record Company, and the back of their shop often moonlights as a gig and album launch venue not only for their own rostra of artists, but for international acts too. You can regularly find a diverse range of musicians signing their new albums, engaging in both full band and stripped back sets and conducting q&a and lecture sessions in this world renowned music shop.
Markets Of Brick Lane
Alongside its vintage shops and fashion boutiques, Brick Lane has an active and ever changing market scene. The markets you’ll find in Brick Lane through the week include the Sunday Upmarket, consisting of 200 stalls of fashion art and food, the weekend Backyard jewellery Market, the weekend Boiler House Food Market, the vintage clothes focused Vintage Market (thursday to sunday) and Aladdin’s Cave furniture and antiques market in the Tea Rooms every weekend. There’s a lot to fit in, and weekends will see Brick Lane teeming with tourists and locals alike.
Art Galleries In Brick Lane
From university shows to installations by famous artists, there are many pop up venues and galleries on Brick Lane that showcase East London’s creative talent. Of note, Truman’s Brewery is a venue that whilst a stalwart of Brick Lane’s beer brewing history, now acts as a gallery and conference venue. Other galleries include the Brick Lane Gallery for contemporary and fine art, Gallery SO and the Nog Gallery, all situated on the famous street and adding to its stylish atmosphere.