When you think of London, it’s easy to imagine a sprawling city with skyscrapers and historic buildings, bustling markets and crowded Tube stations. While all those things certainly characterise the British capital, it’s also important to remember that London is not a homogenous city – it has different neighbourhoods and regions, each with its own local flavour. All these unique experience can be yours when you spend some time staying and leisuring at London best Park Grand Kensington accommodation.
One of the most commonly cited divides between areas of London is East London vs West London – and it’s easy to see why. West London is typically seen as the more posh side of the city, while East London is known for being a bit more gritty.
Although these descriptions might make visitors think twice before heading east, it’s also important to note that East London has loads to offer. Its less wealthy past gives it a unique character and parts of the region are becoming very trendy. Plus with the city’s increasing gentrification, areas that were once very poor are being redeveloped at a fast pace. This means that while the old stereotypes may still be believed, in many cases they are no longer accurate. With the increasing popularity of tourists visit to these places, there had established many 4 star hotels in Kensington London
Defining East and West London
While the East and West divide is a common way of describing parts of London, the city is usually actually split into five sections: Central, North, East, South and West.
East London is usually defined as the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. The East End of London is part of East London, and the term is normally used to describe the area around Tower Hamlets, as well as some of southern Hackney.
West London includes the boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames. Note that the West End of London is actually part of Central London. It contains many of the city’s main tourist attractions, as well as the West End theatres.
Whether you’re looking for an exciting night out or a quiet drink at a traditional boozer, the bars and pubs in both East and West London are sure to deliver.
- Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar – Located below Spitalfields’ Resatuarant, this stylish bar has a gorgeous interior with turquoise tile and plenty of secluded booths, and it serves an array of tasty cocktails too.
- Sager and Wilde – This wine bar on Hackney Road is a trendy spot with an industrial setting and staff that’s well versed in all things vino. There are plenty of delicious snack items too – but with an always-changing menu, you’ll have to find out what’s on offer yourself.
- Peg and Patriot – This bar near Shoreditch offers a unique selection of cocktails with unusual flavours like Marmite, brie and burnt eucalyptus.
- Smiths – This cocktail bar is located in the basement of the Brook Green hotel in Hammersmith. It has a stylish atmosphere with exposed brick walls, velvet upholstery and low lighting, giving it the ambience of a drinking den in Paris or New York.
- The North Star – This cosy traditional pub in Ealing is known for its vibrant crowd and comfortable beer garden. It offers a wide range of real ales, speciality draught lagers, beers and ciders. And if you’re feeling hungry, the menu features delicious pub grub and there’s also a tasty Sunday roast
- The White Cross – A riverside pub in Richmond, this pub offers glorious views of the Thames from its spacious beer garden. Its food and drinks are fabulous too.
If you want to shop, grab a bargain, sample delicious food or just sit back and watch the world go by, a trip to a London market offers something for everyone. East London is home to many of the bigger markets, but you can find plenty of lively shopping areas in West London too.
- Petticoat Lane – This massive Sunday market in Aldgate comprises more than a thousand stalls covering Middlesex Street, Wentworth Street and the surrounding lanes and walkways. It has been operating for more than a hundred years and offers a broad range of goods from clothing and fabrics to rugs, electronics and bed linen. And if you’re looking for a deal, be prepared to haggle.
- Old Spitalfields – There has been a market on the site of Old Spitalfields since 1638 when King Charles gave a license for meat, poultry and vegetables to be sold in what was then a rural area on the eastern outskirts of London. Today, this covered market takes place in two Grade II listed buildings from the late 19th century, as well as an extension that was built in 1926.
- Brick Lane – A massive market in the East End, Brick Lane offers a variety of stalls selling leather goods, crafts, second-hand items, furniture and bric-a-brac. In recent years it has also become known as something of a foodie haven, and at the Old Truman Brewery you’ll find plenty of specialty food stalls – or you could always try one of the many curry houses that the area is famous for.
- Columbia Road Flower Market – Situated in a road of Victorian shops off Hackney Road, this Sunday market is open from 8am to 3ish. It’s a bright and colourful place to be, even on the drizzliest of mornings, and you’ll find a huge range of beautiful plants and flowers.
- Billingsgate Fish Market – The UK’s largest inland fish market, Billingsgate merchants sell a combined 25,000 tonnes of seafood products every year. While the market may be aimed primarily at the wholesale industry, individuals are welcome to browse the stands, shops and cafes.
- Greenwich Market – Located in the heart of historic maritime Greenwich, this market offers a variety of boutique stalls selling goods from designer-makers, as well as antiques and plenty of delicious food.
- New Shepherd’s Bush Market – This is a colourful community market that reflects the multicultural nature of the local area. Here, you’ll find exotic fish, Halal meats and African-Caribbean produce. You’ll also find a range of other products such as clothing, shoes, jewellery, fabric, linens, music and electronics.
- North End Road Market – At this market in Fulham, you’ll mainly find fresh fruit and vegetables, but be on the look out for deals on clothing, records, crafts and bric-a-brac too.
- Acton Market – Situated in the heart of Acton Town Centre, this market has a number of stalls selling everything from arts and handmade crafts, through to jewellery and candles. There’s also a thriving Farmers’ market where you can get some delicious farm-fresh produce.
Art and culture
Once you’ve finished eating, drinking and shopping, there’s still plenty left to do in both East London and West London, with both areas offering a range of options in terms of art and culture.
- Horniman Museum – This fascinating museum in Forest Hill offers an eclectic mix of ancient artefacts, musical instruments and natural history. It also has beautiful gardens and a large aquarium.
- The Whitechapel Gallery – Designed in a distinctive Arts and Crafts architecture style, this was Britain’s first purpose-built arts gallery. It offers an ever-changing programme of works and has shown works by up-and-coming artists as well as iconic pieces by Picasso, Jackson Pollock and David Hockney.
- The V&A Museum of Childhood – Located in Bethnal Green, this museum houses a collection of objects dating from the 1600s to present day. Items on display include toys, dolls and games as well as objects relating to various aspects of childhood like home, learning and clothing.
- Headstone Manor Museum – This historic site in Harrow is a 14th-century moated manor house, and was formerly the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Built around 1310, the house now contains the Harrow Museum, which hosts a number of temporary exhibitions and permanent displays.
- London Motor Museum – Located in Hayes, this museum boasts the largest collections of classic and custom automobiles in Europe. It has more than 200 vehicles, ranging from sportscars and muscle cars to two styles of Batmobile.