A Cultural Guide to Bethnal Green

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Culture Calling guides you through Bethnal Green's greatest hits

Nestled in the heart of East London, Bethnal Green combines the vibrancy of nearby Shoreditch with deep-rooted East End character. Join London Calling as we take you on a tour of our favourite spots in the colourful hotchpotch that is Bethnal Green.

Where to Eat

If you're looking to get breakfast in Bethnal Green, you've got to head to E Pellicci, a former Kray stomping ground and still one of the area’s most popular eateries. Something of a local landmark, every weekend this family-run café has queues of people hungry for their famous fry up. After working your way through the hustle and bustle of the flower market, load up with one of Café Columbia’s famous bagels, or sit down for a Sunday roast at the Royal Oak on Columbia Road. Alternatively, grab a burger at the Star of Bethnal Green or get your fish and chips fix at The Old George.

Where to Drink

If you're looking for a caffeine hit, Second Shot is a brilliant independent coffee shop aiming to tackle homelessness one coffee at a time. Not only do they offer employment and training opportunities to formerly homeless people, their Pay it Forward scheme means customers can buy something from the menu to be donated to the homeless community. After the sun sets, Bethnal Green has all the ingredients you need for a night out. Try a signature cocktail at the Sun Tavern - an ideal date location with its low lighting and exposed brick interior. For something a bit livelier, move on to Paradise Row: a vibrant hub all of its own, before sampling some hand picked craft beers at Mother Kelly’s and dancing the night away, cocktail in hand, at London Cocktail Club. If you aren’t much of a dancer, there’s always BackYard Comedy just a short walk away. With a variety of comedians - including regulars on the circuit and new talent - they have locals laughing over pizza and beer every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

Where to Shop

Every Sunday, Columbia Road Flower Market attracts people from far and wide. Traders take to the street selling everything from bedding plants to cacti, and even banana trees. The whole road is awash with bright colours and the smell of flowers travels through the air. Behind the stalls, the pavements are lined with independent shops, bakeries and galleries. Browse the eclectic graphic and street art on display at Nelly Duff. York Hall also plays host to a number of vintage fairs and seasonal craft markets throughout the year.

What to Do

Take the family to the V&A Museum of Childhood for a trip down memory lane with all of your old toys and games. York Hall spa and public swimming pool will take care of your healthy body: London Buddhist Centre will help with a healthy mind. They offer affordable (or free!) yoga classes, as well as sessions on Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation. Victoria Park is perfect for walks with the family or picnics with friends and which also hosts multiple festivals throughout the summer and Bethnal Green Gardens is just a stones throw away from the tube station. Take a stroll through the gardens, past the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ war memorial, and you'll come to Bethnal Green Library. A grand Victorian building with a recently renovated interior, you’ll find a perfect quiet spot to get lost in your favourite book.