Few places in London capture the imagination as much as the colourful neighbourhoods of East London. Brimming with art, restaurants, pop ups, coffee shops and youthful energy – they are vibrant and exciting areas in which locals and visitors alike can get indulge their senses like no where else in the city.
In recent years, the East End has been the fertile ground in which many of the nation’s most lauded musicians and artists have emerged from, creating a veritable creative boom around them. And as the artistic community thrives, so do the quirky and unique venues they inspire.
DDW take a closer look at this incredible area and recommends some of the best places to spend the weekend, get the creative juices flowing, grab a perfect meal and enjoy a drink along the way…
Irreverent cool meets European chic at the London outpost of the Mama Shelter Group. Nestled in between Cambridge Heath and Bethnal Green this quirky hotel hits all the right notes for the area; it’s local, cozy yet stylish, quirky and fun. Designed by mega-designer Philippe Starck and the Trigano family (pioneers of affordable luxury brand Club Med) it delivers a congenial atmosphere which makes for a perfect home-base to explore the surrounding area.
But before setting off to explore the colourful neighbourhood, guests can enjoy Mama London’s many distinctive features; starting with its arresting design, bric-a-brac furnished restaurant serving feel-good staples (and beats by a live band or DJ), mesmerising graphically decorated ceilings (by celebrated French graffiti artist Beniloys) and its lush garden cocktail bar (try the ‘Burning Mule’). Those who want to take the party up a notch can also uncover the late-night Japanese-style karaoke rooms, vintage video games and pinball machines hidden inside the building.
Guests that party late need not worry – Mama will look after them. Simply head over to the friendly reception tucked away between the arcade machine and the Mama Shelter boutique and check in for the night in one of its 198 stylish rooms. Room rates are shockingly reasonable (especially for such a hip hotel) with slick design, comfy heavy linen sheets, large flatscreens and can include breakfast in bed for a mere additional £15. All TV’s are pre loaded with a large selection of Hollywood blockbusters and some additionally raunchy adult content to round out guest’s East London adventures.
Mama Shelter wants to make sure you love your time exploring East and is determined to make sure you indulge all your senses whilst there. With this in mind, the hotel is now also offering a two night adult staycation package (£198) complete with some sexy treats, bar credit and in-room dinning.
Avid travellers can also find branches of the hotel in Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Belgrade, Toulouse, Lille, London, Paris West, Luxembourg, Bucharest, Bahrain, Dubai, São Paulo, Rome, Lisbon, and many more destinations.
If you can be enticed to leave the throws of passion at Mama London, head on out to discover the thriving communities of the local area. Among its best features are the many incredible restaurants in its vicinity, starting with the enthralling Mare St Market, moving on to the century old E Pellicci Italian café, and perhaps finishing at the award-winning and delectable Sager + Wilde Wine Bar.
Those that fancy a slightly longer walk or short cab journey can also experience the famous Columbia Flower Market or go kayaking down the Hackney Wick canals. Stop along for an over-backed sourdough pizza at the CRATE brewery or a memorable brunch at Bistroteque.
Part of East London’s distinctive charm is its many cultural institutions that are just a bit off the regularly beaten track. Particularly fascinating is the V&A Museum of Childhood – a compilation of culture and experiences of childhood throughout history. A sister venue to South Kensington’s famous Victoria and Albert Museum, this institution features four permanent galleries, which showcase everything from childish creativity to moving toys.
Further down the line is the Grant Museum of Zoology, a curious assortment of 70000 unique specimens featuring full skeletons, taxidermy and preserved samples. Founded in 1828 this museum aims to preserve record of endangered and extinct species such as the Tasmanian tiger, the quagga and the dodo.
Finally treat yourself to a visit to the Museum of Happiness – an institution dedicated to understanding science-based techniques, that one can implemented in everyday life to improve happiness and wellbeing. The perfect way to wrap up an invigorating stay in the creative nerve-centre of London.
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