East London is a vibrant, bustling area, full of local people buying and selling, working near the dockside and enjoying traditional East-End foods. But, more than just the home of the cockney, East London has much to offer the discerning traveller.
The London Docklands has a rich history which visitors to the Museum of London Docklands can discover. This exciting and educational waterfront museum sits on West India Quay, with the shopping bonanza that is Canary Wharf just a short walk away. Celebrating city life next to the River Thames from the Roman era onwards, the museum is home to some superb exhibitions. The era of sugar and slavery, the 19th-century heyday when London was the largest port in the world, and the traumas of the Blitz are all explored.
Visiting over a weekend? Be sure to visit the Columbia Road Flower Market. This is a single narrow street full of Victorian shops and houses, where most visit for the wonderful scene of market day. With street musicians and vendors selling their wares from doorways, it really is a vibrant, exciting place to be on a Sunday morning.
Whitechapel Art Gallery
Art lovers should visit the Whitechapel Art Gallery, built and opened in 1901 with the express mission to bring great art to the people of the east end. There are nine galleries in total, exhibiting both leading artists’ work, and public and private collection pieces.
Whitechapel is also famous for the notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper, who murdered several women here in the late 1800s. He has become something of a tourist attraction, and many companies operate walking tours of the area to see the places he frequented. Discovery Tours offers one of the best Ripper walking tours in London, and has been operating since 1982.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
You may, however, prefer a relaxing walk around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which was built for the London 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The park covers around 650 acres and is a beautiful place to relax, with parkland, wildlife and waterways to enjoy.
East London is a superb place to eat, and from a casual lunch to fine dining for two, there is something for everyone. If you are a fan of Mexican cuisine, be sure to check out Death by Burrito on Kingsland Road, where a mix of contemporary Mexican street food and traditional flavours are the order of the day.
Also, be sure to check out Jamie Oliver's Fifteen on Westland Place. Fifteen is one of a series of the celebrity chef's restaurants, which give disadvantaged young people the chance to shine in a culinary career. It really is a food lover’s paradise and has an excellent selection of food and drink to choose from.