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East London

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London neighbourhoods - East London

East London has one of the most diverse mix of cultures and styles of all London neighbourhoods, from the trendy artists of Hackney to the Asian influences of Brick Lane, the cockney home of Bow and the city bankers of Canary Wharf.

There are always things to do in East London which will suit all tastes, so travellers don't even have to venture into Central London.

Visitors can also find some cheap hotels in East London, putting you in the heart of the activity.

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Shopping in East London

Much of the shopping in East London is dedicated to boutique and vintage fashion.

Brick Lane has a host of vintage shops, including the popular Rokit store (101-107 Brick Lane; Aldgate East), which has a good collection for men and women.

Meanwhile, fans of fashion label Burberry can find items at as much as 50 per cent off if you head down to the emporium's factory outlet.

The Burberry Factory Shop (29-53 Chatham Place; Hackney Central) sells discounted clothes and accessories as well as seconds at a heavily cut down price.

Some of the best London markets are in East London. Spitalfields (Liverpool Street) has stalls by jewellery and fashion designers, as well as second hand bookstalls and other quirky boutiques.

Columbia Road Flower Market (Bethnal Green; Old Street) has thousands of plants on sale every Sunday that fill the streets. Choose from conventional flower beds to trees, before stopping off at the street's cafes for breakfast or cake.

For more conventional shopping in East London, Canary Wharf (One Canada Square; Canary Wharf) has all of the major high street stores under one roof, including John Lewis.

In 2011, Stratford will become home to London's second Westfield Shopping Centre, what promises to be Europe's largest shopping mall. This will have hundreds of high street shops and restaurant outlets, right next to the new Olympic Park.

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Eating out in East London

You can find some great cheap eats in East London, from traditional English cuisine to food from around the world.

Fish House (126-128 Lauriston Road; Mile End or Cambridge Heath) serves fish and chips for the 21st century diner, from fish of the day at around £10 to crab cakes, seafood risotto and even oysters for less than a tenner.

People who want to eat out in East London for curry can go where all of the locals go as well, Tayyabs (83-89 Fieldgate Street; Whitechapel). This is a busy restaurant, so it is worth booking, but the food is great and is genuine to the culture.

If you're eating out in East London on a tighter budget, it pays to walk down Brick Lane where there are waiters outside enticing you into their curry house. They will offer all kinds of deals to get you in, so you might be able to bag yourself a free bottle of wine with your meal.

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Entertainment in East London

Entertainment in East London is unparalleled. You can find some great London pubs in the neighbourhood, such as the Crown (223 Grove Road; Mile End), which has a friendly atmosphere and a seating area outside that looks over Victoria Park.

You can also relive some history at the Blind Beggar (337 Whitechapel Road; Whitechapel), where Ronnie Kray famously shot dead George Cornell. It is also worth visiting for the large beer garden, which is a rare treat in East London.

Brick Lane has some great London bars, such as Vibe Bar (The Old Truman Brewery, 91-95 Brick Lane; Aldgate East), 93 Feet East (150 Brick Lane) and the Big Chill Bar (Dray Walk)

Meanwhile, the Dolphin (165 Mare Street; Hackney Central) and Catch (22 Kingsland Road; Hoxton or Old Street) are trendy hangouts for the Hoxton and Shoreditch locals.

For something that goes on into the early hours, Bar Aquarium (256-264 Old Street; Old Street) has the unique selling point of its own swimming pool, while Cargo (Kingsland Viaduct, 83 Rivington Street; Old Street or Shoreditch High Street) is situated in a disused railway yard.

Believe it or not, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club (42-46 Pollard Row; Bethnal Green) is the coolest retro night out in the East End, with 50s rock and roll and burlesque nights that have a strict fancy dress code policy.

During the day, the East London neighbourhood has vast open spaces, including Victoria Park and London Fields, while one of the best London galleries is the Whitechapel Art Gallery (77-82 Whitechapel High Street; Aldgate East), which recently underwent a major refurbishment.
Over in Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum (Romney Road; Greenwich) charts the naval history of the East End, while the Museum of London Docklands (1 Warehouse; West India Quay) adds to the past retelling of the London neighbourhood.
The O2 Arena (North Greenwich), which has hosted multi-million record-selling artists, also houses a museum dedicated to the history of modern British music.

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Staying in East London

Where to stay in East London can depend on what you want to do in the London neighbourhood.

For things to do in London that involve the area's bars and clubs, then the Sacred Heart Lodge (100-102 Hassett Road; Homerton) in hackney could be perfect, as it has rooms from just £17.50 a night.

However, for a cheap hotel in London and easy access to a gig at the O2 Arena, staying in Stratford or Ilford could be your best option.

The Countryside Hotel London (207 Romford Road; Stratford) offers two-star accommodation from only £16.25, while the Best Inn Hotel (10 Argyle Road; Ilford) in Ilford has rooms from just £12.40.

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