Super Shoreditch: Creative Destination
Over the last two decades, Shoreditch has become an area where young creatives hang out. Historically, low rent prices made this the perfect place to get an art venture off the ground at cheap prices. Young creatives from all over the world settled and made this place what it is today (and a little help from commercial bandwagoning…) As a taxi driver I’ve seen this place blossom from a dirty slum to what it is today – a creative paradise. In September time, when the universities are ready to start and the working artists begin to bloom, Shoreditch becomes a hub of activity.
Here is the complete guide to living in Shoreditch, whether hopping off a plane, arriving here by train, or perhaps your moving from another borough of London, I can show what it’s all about.
Where to Live
Shoreditch has higher rent prices these days due to mass gentrification. If you are sharing, you can live here on the cheap. The average room share will cost you about £140 every week. This is a really good deal for living in the capital. Although renting on your own will probably cost you significantly more.
The trendiest areas are on Liverpool Street and Old Street. You are close to the tube links and can get practically anywhere in Shoreditch within 10 minutes. But if you’re really hip you’ll head to the centre of the action, Redchurch Street and any of the streets off Brick Lane would be my pick.
As always appears to be the case with artists, coffee shops seem to follow them everywhere. And there’s no shortage of cafes in Shoreditch. Prufrock Coffee and Shoreditch Grind are just a couple of the many coffee shops along the high street and in the back alleys. These places serve really good coffee served by highly trained barristas, all of which have that added element of cool. Coffee prices range from the very cheap blends to costly cups of espresso. Most offer wi-fi and make for really cool ‘offices’, you know for when you’re working on the move. Just be careful not to empty your wallet!
Blackall Studios is a major international rental gallery. It has two floors and regularly features in major events. It is also open to smaller, emerging artists who just need a small slab of space for their latest creations. Art space is expensive in Shoreditch, so seek out some of the local art groups. We can recommend Space, although these operate in Hackney, but they host a lot of interesting activities throughout the East London are community, as well as offering regular opportunities such as residencies. Art groups in Shoreditch tend to rent space for their members as part of special group events.
During your first few weeks in Shoreditch, you’ll be visiting a lot of galleries. A lot! There are so many. One of the galleries you should get to is the Jester Jacques Gallery. This is a monument to the best in abstract and street art. It also sells prints, so you can take some of your favourite works home with you.
Use the First Thursday’s website to find places to visit. This is an initiative headed by Whitechapel Gallery. The idea is to open up many of London’s east end galleries until late with lots of special events. For young creatives, it is also where you can find a handy map of every gallery in Shoreditch and the best of emerging talent! They also have a lot of free beer on offer.
Places to Be Seen
Obviously, when you arrive in Shoreditch the first thing you’ll wonder about is where you should be seen. Start with the Broadway Market. It is the ideal place to buy your specialist art supplies, vintage furniture, organic produce and sample some amazing street food. You can even pick up things you had never considered before. More than a few artists have discovered new inspiration from shopping here.
Brick Lane Market is a weekly market held each Sunday. Traders set stalls up and sell all manner of bric-a-brac. If you have not yet become used to the high prices of living in London, a trip to the market can help save your bank balance.
Hoxton Square features a host of delightful restaurants and cocktail bars to tempt and hang out in. I would urge you to explore this area on an evening, it’s a little off the beaten track but a real treat to explore. Box park also has some amazing pop-up bars and restaurants that are really cool to hang out in. These are ever changing so try not to get too comfortable.
My ultimate recommendation has to be this: head down Kingsland Road and go to anyone of the Vietnamese restaurants down there – they are all absolutely fantastic. Some are BYOB so be aware of that before you order a bottle of beer. Afterwards I can think of nowhere hipper to hang out than the uber trendy Jaguar shoes.
There’s so much to do in Shoreditch you simply have to explore for yourself, but if you ever need a tip, or a hand with all that heavy art gear, give us a call, book yourself a taxi and I can let you in on the secrets of London.
Until we meet again!