A not-so-lazy Sunday in East London
By Nina Derham in London—
Calling all Cheapos looking for an affordable, fun Sunday that won’t break the bank: Set that alarm clock and head for East London! The day promises art, plenty of shopping for all budgets and mouth-watering cheapo eats.
1. Morning: Art at the Whitechapel Gallery
Start your day at the Whitechapel Gallery in Aldgate East. Dubbed “the artists’ gallery for everyone,” the Whitechapel Gallery showcases the works of national and international contemporary artists and offers a variety of temporary exhibitions, from installations and sculpture to photography and painting. It’s an excellent and totally free way to start your Sunday.
Check out their Web site for an updated list of what’s on.
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
2. Early Afternoon: Shopping and a cheapo lunch
After that little burst of culture you can make your merry way down Brick Lane where the atmosphere promises to be vibrant and the smell of delicious spices and fragrant curry fills the air. There’s plenty of people-watching to be done as you work your way down the street, but the real focus on a Sunday is the Old Truman Brewery’s Sunday Up Market.
Shopaholics will be in heaven prowling around the clothing stalls where up-and-coming designers premier their latest designs.
Half of the market, however, is dedicated to food and is absolutely jam packed with mouthwatering dishes from around the world. It’s the perfect spot for a cheap lunch and the hardest part is making a decision between Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Caribbean, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish cuisine (to name but a few). Most dishes cost between £4 – £6 and portions are very generous. Follow the signs into the back room if you fancy sitting at a table, otherwise join the crowds of people outside munching hungrily from their polystyrene plates.
Refueled and ready to go, it’s a great pleasure to wander the rest of Brick Lane at a leisurely pace, popping into quirky shops, scouring the Vintage Market for a good bargain and soaking up the eclectic ambiance that makes this buzzing neighborhood such a perfect example of modern day London.
The Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
3. Upscale Afternoon: Spitalfields Market
It’s just a hop, skip and a jump across to Commercial Street and the understated urban grittiness that so defines Brick Lane quickly disappears. Spitalfields Market is an all-together more up market affair, attracting hoards of stylish fashionistas in search of the latest trend. Located in a beautifully spacious and airy building, flanked by fancy boutiques, sleek restaurants and bars, Spitalfields is a great place to explore and is one of London’s more relaxed market experiences.
In the middle of the market there is also a selection of restaurants, most of which are chains that serve up good food and make for a great place to sit and watch Spitalfields in action.
Tip: If you fancy finishing off your day by dining out then here’s a Cheapo tip for you. Be sure to visit the Spitalfields website first and check out the different offers available at the market restaurants. Downloadable vouchers entitle visitors to some really good discounts; my personal favorite at the moment is a £10 two-course dinner at Canteen.
105 Commercial Street, London E1 6BG