ONE of my goals for this year is to get out of my comfort zone and see and experience more of London, and what better way to start than an alternative walking tour of East London?
Alternative London offers a variety of tours and workshops for those keen to know more about London’s creative hub and culture. Me and my friend Ellie decided to book onto their two hour East London tour. One great thing about Alternative London is that their walking tours are on a pay-what-you-like basis. Great for people on a budget!
We were told to meet at a talking goat statue (no really) at Spitalfields Market, where we met our tour guide Doug, and the rest of our twenty-strong group. Attracting people from both London and different parts of the world, the Alternative East London tour is not just for tourists, it’s for people who are interested in learning about East London’s culture. And what better place to start than Brick Lane?
Home to quirky independent shops, curry houses and the odd hipster, Brick Lane is awash with plenty of street art. From sculptures created by Jonesey (above), to portraits by Ben Slow (below), Doug opened our eyes with how many different artists have actually left their mark here. (Note to self: it wasn’t ALL Banksy)
Whilst we were walking around Shoreditch, Doug also informed us about the area’s history such as the story of why there are so many curry houses on Brick Lane (lots of Bangladeshis immigrated to East London in the 1970s) and that before this, the East End was predominantly a Jewish community.
As the tour was coming to an end, Doug took us to famous street artist Borondo’s ‘Animal’ exhibition on Redchurch Street. The exhibition was really poetic and evoking, and I would definitely recommend it.
Overall, the Alternative East London tour an amazing experience – we got to see some amazing street art and learn about local culture – all the while on our own budget. If you’re looking for something different, I would suggest you check this company out – they also do pub and bike tours!