Things to Do in East London

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Most visitors to London never venture to the East End, but the preparations for the 2012 London Olympics have put this part of the city on the tourism map. Neighbourhoods around the future Olympic Village in East London are being redeveloped and renovated for Olympic tourists, and the East End offers vibrant street markets, free art galleries and museums, and things to do for the whole family.

Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane and Old Spitalfields Markets

The Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane and Old Spitalfields markets take over a whole neighbourhood every Sunday morning. The stalls on Brick Lane sell clothes, bric-a-brac, second-hand items and food, and the street is lined with shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and curry houses. The Petticoat Lane market isa good place to find cheap deals on clothes and household items from electric kettles to plastic buckets
The original Spitalfields market has gone through a redevelopment that was opposed by many locals, because it involved destroying a large part of the old market to make  way for an office block.  Parts of the old market have since been rebuilt and the Old Spitalfields Market is now a  collection of old-fashioned market stalls, trendy shops annew restaurants. Some of the markets are open during the week, and many shops are open seven days a week,  but Sunday is the biggest market day. The nearest underground  stations are Liverpool Street and Aid gate East.

The Columbia Road Flower Market

The Sunday morning flower market on Columbia Road (off Hackney Road) isa good place to meet people, have a coffee and end up with a bunch of flowers and  plants Flower sellers take over the road between 8 am and 3 pm every Sunday and offer good deals on everything from cut flowers to house plants. Buses 26 and 48 (from Liverpool Street station) stop near Columbia Road, and it is also possible to walk from Columbia Road to the Brick Lane market.

The Whitechapel Art Gallery

The Whitechapel Gallery (77-82 Whitechapel High Street) is East London’s most famous gallery for contemporary art. This historic gallery was recently expanded and reopened in 2009. The Whitechapel Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday and has a late opening until 9 pm on the first Thursday of every month. Entrance is free. The nearest tube (underground) station is Aldgate East.

The Museum of Childhood

The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green (Cambridge Heath Road) is not just for kids Toys and games from several centuries are on display here, from 17th century dollhouses to early 20th century toy soldiers. The museum also hosts family-friendly activities and frequent events This museum is open daily and it is conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Bethnal Green station.

Victoria Park (East London)

The Victoria Park is one of London’s biggest parks There are lawns for picnics and for playing cricket, a small lake and a wildlife enclosure, walking and cycling routes and a cafe for breakfasts, lunches and coffees with cakes On the North side of the park you can find nice independent coffee shops and restaurants. The Victoria Park is being renovated for the Olympics, and although parts of the park are undergoing serious redevelopment, the park is for visitors. The nearest tube station is Mile End and the nearest train stations are Cambridge Heath and Hackney Wick.

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