Want to avoid the madding Christmas crowds but still enjoy the spirit of the festive season? A Girl Who Travels shares her inside tips on what London’s hip hood Shoreditch has to offer.
My head’s bobbing to the sound of the moving train as it lumbers out towards Shoreditch; rain drops bounce off the windows when we speed up, making me forget for a second that it’s already December.
If there’s one city in the UK that knows how to turn its streets into a fairytale Christmas party, it’s London. From the festive staples like admiring Oxford Street lights, getting your sugar fix at the South Bank’s Winter Market and ice skating at the Natural History Museum, you can’t possibly run out of things to do during the festive season, but how does Shoreditch, London’s quirkiest neighbourhood, get Christmas-ready? Armed with a chai latte and my DSLR, I’m about to find out.
First stop, Box Park, home to alternative pop-up fashion and lifestyle stores. With fairy lights peeking curiously from Christmas garlands, a large fireplace projector welcoming everyone at the entrance and the Box Park’s events calendar filled up every day till after Christmas, the mood here is most certainly festive. A quick stroll through the stores shows that they don’t shy away from the celebrations either.
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Moo, a small design shop filled its white walls with colourful postcards, encouraging their customers to get crafty and help decorate Christmas cards, adding a nice personal touch to the store’s decor.
Just a short walk away Pump, East London’s biggest street food market, embraces the festivities as mulled cider and wine make appearance.
The real treat, however, is a visit to Queen of Hoxton, a local pub and a music venue that transformed its rooftop bar into a fairytale winter wonderland. Their ‘Once Upon a WigWam’ pop-up greets you with the sound (and smell!) of crackling fire, winding branches and a giant tree stump placed in the middle of the bark-covered floor. There’s also a gingerbread house-themed bar outside and a bunch of seats scattered around a real fire, where you can sip your buttered rum as you’re roasting marshmallows over the flames. It’s all very much magical, making you almost forget that you’re still in the city!
The colourful streets of Brick Lane, where the smell of curry blends with freshly made coffee and vintage stores meet minimalist fashion, are yet to get ready for the festivities but there are already a few decorations popping here and there so be sure to go for a little wonder if you happen to be around. The area’s quirky stores are a perfect holiday shopping spot, so keep an eye out for unique finds for your nearest and dearest.
Shoreditch’s fun take on the Christmas spirit makes it a wonderful destination during the festive period – if you’re planning on visiting London this month, be sure to venture out East and enjoy the festivities!