The narrow London road called Brick Lane is renowned for its row of old yet beautiful brick buildings. Many of these buildings are now home to some fascinating tourist attractions including vintage clothing boutiques, specialty coffee shops, the Old Truman Brewery, the famous Brick Lane Market, and some of the best street art in the city. It’s a veritable paradise for art lovers, coffee connoisseurs, and history nerds alike. And thanks to the recent London launch of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs’ ad campaign, you might also see a black cab or two sporting the tourism department’s motto of It’s More Fun in the Philippines driving through Brick Lane.
Photo by James Cridland
A Foodie’s Dream
Brick Lane is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon in London. You can start by fueling up at one of its many cafes and restaurants. The Cereal Killer Cafe is bound to give you a sugar rush with one of its creative cereal dessert bowls. If you’re looking for a more savoury treat, head to Brick Lane Beigel Bake for a serving of their cream cheese and beef specialty – available 24/7 and catering to a variety of London clientele. And of course, a Brick Lane food trip wouldn’t be complete without at least visiting one of its famous curry restaurants. The Monsoon can satiate your cravings for authentic Indian cuisine like tikka masala and Azwan chicken. The place is easy enough to spot thanks to its blaring, beacon-like neon sign. Sheba is another curry place with a good reputation. In 2013, Cobra Good Curry Guide awarded them with the title of Best UK Curry House, so make sure to sample their specialty.
Brick Lane’s Street Art
Don’t forget to bring a nice camera with you. Half the reason people visit this famous London road is to see both the architecture as well as what’s painted on it. Brick Lane is an international hub for street art, drawing in graffiti artists, writers, and commercial muralists not just from London but from around the world. This means an array of spray-painted goodness – everything from smooth tags to expansive, full-colour art pieces. Most of this art is concentrated at the part of Brick Lane nearest to the railways. You might even spot a D*Face and Banksy piece or two. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss a thing, you can try to book a local tour that will take you to see some of the best street art pieces on the street.
Brick Lane is also the place where you can spot some of the best vintage clothing shops in the city. Apart from unique jackets, pants, shoes, and shirts, many vintage stores also sell a variety of antiques that reveal tiny aspects of London’s storied past.
Stave off afternoon sleepiness at one of Brick Lane’s many specialty coffee shops. Nude Cafe on Hanberry Street is a roastery that serves arguably the freshest brews in the area. Grab a quick espresso or filter coffee, take home some of their roasted beans, or even book a coffee masterclass. If you’re looking for fair trade coffee, The Culture Trip points to Cafe 1001 for all your organic coffee needs. At night, this cafe turns into a live music venue, the perfect place for a nightcap.
Getting to Brick Lane is easy enough. It’s a short walk from Liverpool Street tube station, Shoreditch High Street Overground, or Aldgate East tube station – whichever direction you’re coming from. It’s also about an hour and a half away from London Heathrow Airport where most international flights land. Philippine Airlines is set to launch their new B777-300s direct flight from Manila to London Heathrow on September 19, 2018, and it will serve passengers on a daily basis. It will be the fastest way to get to the UK straight from Manila.
Again, don’t forget to bring a nice camera, and check the local weather forecast so you know how much you need to wrap up. It can be hard to adjust to London’s biting cold.