Sunday, 22 April 2012


The Shard (Bermondsey) glimpsed from Leonard Street (Shoreditch)
When you're tired of London you are .... well just tired. Jeez, there's so much going on:  new exhibitions, pop up restaurants, secret cocktail bars, concerts. You plan a maelstrom of activity, then think, "what the hell I'll just put my feet up and watch episodes of Mad Men back to back." But housesitting for a few months in East London means sucking the juice out of the time here, and one of the best ways to do this is just walk.

This easy stroll between two of London's food and fashion hotspots, Hoxton and Shoreditch to South London's Bermondsey Street takes about an hour, though the distractions at each end of the walk will add hours and ... uh quite a few calories... to the day. 

Old Street tube station is a good starting point. Beware: it would be easy to spend the whole day browsing and eating one's way through Shoreditch alone, leaving the rest for another day.

Arrive early early, as Hoxton and Shoreditch are crammed with popular brunch opportunities: The Diner, The Breakfast Club, The Boundary (Albion) Cafe and The Book Club to name but a few.
The Diner 
The Breakfast Club

The Book Club
Or shimmy on down past the BoxPark, under the crossrail and into Spitalfields for the king of carnivorous breakfasts that is Hawksmoor

Brunch over, mosey around Spitalfields market or have your tresses tended at Taylor, Taylor where they serve cocktails in the stylish of interiors. Now head back to the City Road and turn south, heading on to Moorgate, Prince's Street, Lombard Street and King William Street: in effect it is a straight line to London Bridge. 

On the way, there are plenty of diversions.  Shortly after the City Road / Leonard Street junction is Bunhill Fields, an ancient Anglo-Saxon cemetery ("bun-" is probably a corruption of the Saxon word for "bone") now most famous as the last resting place of William Blake, John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe (his Journal of the Plague Year makes good reading for those who choose to relax in this well-tended, green space). On the opposite side of City Road are John Wesley's Chapel and house; this is still a working place of worship and there is also a museum attached. Further on, on Monument Street which runs left from King William Street, you can have a look at (and climb the 311 steps?) the London Monument, memorial to the Great Fire of 1666 (symbolised by the golden flame on top), or stroll along to the aptly named Pudding Lane where it all began, in Thomas Farriner's bakery.

London Bridge going south
Once across London Bridge, there is a choice: head right to Borough Market (on a Friday or Saturday) for some serious foodie shopping, or left (on St Thomas Street) past The Shard to Bermondsey Street. 

Bermondsey Street
 Once on Bermondsey Street, there is plenty of choice: tapas at  Jose (the best in London) or something more substantial at bigger but younger brother Pizarro; or try contemporary Italian at Zucca.  
Jose Pizarro's newer place
Jose - great tapas, day or night
Head off Bermondsey Street on Tanner Street and you will come to the newly flourishing Maltby Street Market  (Saturdays 9:00-2:00 only at the moment, but longer hours are imminent, so check on-line) where Jose Pizarro, among many others, has a stall where you can sit, drink sherry, nibble jamon, watch the passers-by.
Bermondsey Street's recently opened White Cube Gallery, which you will pass as you move from Jose to Pizzaro, is now a major attraction staging cutting edge exhibitions.
Entry to the White Cube
Anselm Keifer at the White Cube
The return journey from London Bridge to Old Street is quick (on foot or by tube), but why not walk along the river to Tower Bridge and then meander back through the City.

No comments:

Post a Comment