Graffiti-lined Brick Lane has long been an immigrant neighborhood, having hosted French Huguenot, Irish, Jewish, and—most recently—Bangladeshi communities. The string of curry houses at its southern end specialize in Indian and South Asian cuisine, while farther north, retro clothing shops, cafés, and bars dominate the scene.
With its rich multicultural heritage and history, Brick Lane is one of east London’s must-sees. The fast pace of change and development here makes it a place worth returning to, even for those who have already explored on prior trips.
Many London walking tours hone in on Brick Lane, with food tours incorporating tastings of curries, bagels, fish-and-chips, and other local specialties. Brick Lane pub tours frequent the area’s historical Victorian watering holes as well as newer craft beer–focused bars. Other tours focus on the area’s thriving street-art scene and the more unsavory aspects of east London’s past, such as the Jack the Ripper murders. Some walking tours venture into the nearby neighborhoods of Spitalfields and Shoreditch.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Brick Lane is a must for street-art fans, foodies, vintage lovers, and urban-culture enthusiasts.
- Come hungry as Brick Lane has tons of restaurants, food stalls, and cafés you’re going to want to try.
- Brick Lane is wheelchair accessible, and some—though not all—restaurants and bars here offer step-free access.
How to Get There
Brick Lane is situated in Whitechapel in east London. To get there, take the Tube (District or Hammersmith & City line) to Aldgate East; the south end of Brick Lane is two minutes’ walk away. Alternatively, ride the Overground train to Shoreditch High Street station, which is a 5-minute walk from the north end of Brick Lane.
When to Get There
The best day to visit Brick Lane is on a Sunday, as many of the local markets are hosted on this day. Sundays are typically the busiest day, so if you don’t want to deal with crowds, go midweek instead.
The Markets of Brick Lane
Street vendors are an integral part of life on Brick Lane, and you can’t go far without stumbling across a stall. Browse clothing, crafts, and food at the Sunday Upmarket at the Old Truman Brewery. Petticoat Lane Market, one of London’s oldest markets, takes place every day except Saturday on Middlesex and Wentworth streets, which branch off from Brick Lane. The daily Old Spitalfields Market, housed in a restored Victorian market hall, and the open-air Columbia Road Flower Market (Sundays only) are within walking distance of Brick Lane.