London’s a big place, so we’re taking a chunk out of it with our guide to the east of the city. You will find our Hoxton and Shoreditch sites there, as well as Magenta House, Aldgate and the latest addition to our London network, Will Wyatt Court, near Shoreditch Park.
Here are local 10 picks to get you started…
Part street food market, part pop-up retail hub, BOXPARK has its roots in Shoreditch where the first of three sites (so far), opened in 2011. Within a 10-15 minute walk of both our Shoreditch and Hoxton properties, BOXPARK hosts a variety of fashion and gift shops housed in repurposed shipping containers, but the food and drink is the main attraction – with everything from pies to pitta, salt beef to soft-serve ice cream, you will be returning again and again. Great bars, live music and club nights make this a destination for weekends too.
This intimate cinema is tucked away in rather unassuming surroundings, about 5 minutes’ walk from our Aldgate site, but it’s a real find. A good range of mainstream and indie films are shown on four screens, and there are comfy, reclining seats to watch them from (in a fetching shade of yellow). The Curzon also doubles as a cool spot to hang out with a coffee or enjoy a pizza, thanks to its chic café bar adorned with movie memorabilia.
Mile End Park
One of East London’s relaxing green spaces, this canal-side park is certainly a nice place to get a change of scene. It’s full of wildlife, and has a variety of other attractions too, including an art pavilion and gallery, leisure centre, climbing wall and ecology park. Not so far along the canal, you will also find the large Victoria Park, with its boating lake and café.
This Stepney theatre is a true East London icon, having opened in 1933, survived World War II and seen several reinventions since. Troxy has spent time as an opera house, bingo hall, cinema and at times was closed completely, but the grand hall is now back in action as a live music and event space with a ton of old-school character. In recent years, the likes of Nick Cave, Robbie Williams and London Grammar have graced the stage, and Troxy has become known as one of London’s top LGBTQ-friendly venues.
V&A Museum of Childhood
This fascinating museum in Bethnal Green should take you back a bit, with its free-to-visit collections embracing all things childhood. With lots of toys, games, clothes and even furniture to see, along with archive material and hundreds of photographs, this museum evokes plenty of memories. Over the next few years, the museum will move to a new home in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Speaking of the Olympic Park, you can also visit what claims to be London’s most exciting attraction there. The ArcelorMittal Orbit is that tall, red, elaborate structure that was built for the 2012 games – you can go up 80m to the viewing platform for an unrivalled view of the capital, slide down the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide or, if you’re feeling particularly daring, abseil down it. Actually, that does sound pretty exciting.
The delights of Brick Lane begin just a 4-minute walk from iQ Aldgate. This iconic area of London is one of the trendiest districts in town, famed for its multicultural restaurants, street art and the vibrant Brick Lane Market. There is an array of curry houses but you will find all kinds of other foodie treats there too, as well as a vintage market, ten-pin bowling alley and art events and exhibitions at the Old Truman Brewery.
London Fields Lido
It’s not always easy to find an outdoor swimming pool, let alone an Olympic-size one, but that’s just what you get at London Fields Lido. As you can imagine, this place is particularly popular on sunny days, with a large sun deck and a café to keep those cold drinks coming. And if you’re not yet a swimmer, you can get lessons here as well.
Hackney City Farm
Providing an opportunity to go and see some lovely animals without leaving the city, Hackney City Farm is well worth a visit. As well as being home to a range of livestock including rabbits, sheep, guinea pigs, ducks and a pair of Tamworth pigs, the farm is a hub of social enterprise – it’s involved in a variety of projects which benefit the environment or local community, so it’s worth supporting with a donation.
St Katharine Docks
One of the nicest spots to enjoy life beside the Thames, St Katharine Docks lies not far from the Tower of London. The chilled marina is lined with bars and restaurants offering Turkish, French and Italian cuisine, among others, and often hosts special events – recently including a World Food Market and Floating Film Festival.
Somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife